March 18, 1999
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Wyoming Head Coach Dana Dimel has been very pleased with his Cowboys as they ready for their seventh practice of spring training on Friday.
After a light practice on Friday, the Cowboys will conduct their second major scrimmage of the training period on Saturday.
If there has been a downside to the proceedings thus far it has been that not all of the Cowboys have been able to stay on the practice field because of injuries.
"We were missing 12 players for Mondays practice," Dimel said during Thursdays off day. "We were down to one running back, and we didnt have several of our receivers out there. That certainly is difficult on training and continuity."
While most of the injuries are pulled muscles or the usual bumps and bruises, there was one major injury of note. Darth Tesinsky, a 220-pound sophomore fullback damaged a knee during practice and has undergone reconstructive surgery. He should be ready for pre-season drills in the Fall.
Other Cowboys who have missed practice because of one ailment or another include running backs Arlen Smith, and Tim Beasley, receiver Kofi Shuck, and cornerbacks Alan Jones and Adrian Boston. In addition to those individuals, cornerback T.W. Steele, defensive end Jerel Haynes and offensive guard Jason Wilhelm will miss the entire spring as they recover from surgeries.
"With that many guys missing, it hinders some of our work," Dimel said, "but all-in-all I have been very happy with how hard our guys are working, and how they have bought in to our systems and schemes.
"I feel that the harder we work the more it will pay off for us down the stretch next season. The injury thing is the only factor that holds us up. For example, we cant possibly get enough done when we are missing two running backs which has been the case over the last couple of days."
On the positive side, the weather has been outstanding, and has helped the team get more done. Of their first six practices, the Cowboys have practice indoors just one time. "We have been able to accomplish a great deal because of the weather," Dimel said. "They are saying its supposed to be nice through the weekend, too, so it looks like we can have a good scrimmage on Saturday."
Speaking of the next big scrimmage, Dimel said that Saturdays will probably include 110 plays. It will involve much of the same material the first scrimmage did last Saturday. . .third and short; third and long; and then some over-the-field work.
Will jobs be won or lost during this one? "The starters are pretty much set right now," Dimel said. "But Saturdays scrimmage should help the coaching staff solidify the depth chart. We have outstanding competition going on for some back-up spots."
The scrimmage is set for noon on Saturday, and will be the Cowboys' first practice of the spring in War Memorial Stadium.
While Dimel said his offense has been hindered somewhat by the injuries, he has been pleased with its progress. He has been especially happy with the way in which his team is throwing and catching the football. "We have some veteran players in those two areas, and they are performing very well," Dimel said. "We need to have a few more jump in there and start contributing."
While it is not an area of grave concern, Dimel is focused on improvement in the offensive line. "Our guys in the offensive line are young, but they are coming along," he said. "Young redshirts like Mike Irvin (Wichita, Kans.), Adam Goldberg (Edina, Minn.) and Rob Kellerman (Garnett, Kans.) are making a push. I think our veterans have done well, too, especially Chris Cichosz, Dan Delcorio and Nate Selk. I think we have a good mix there, we just need to get better."
The defensive goal is to produce a more physical outfit, and Dimel believes that goal is being accomplished. "I really like the way our defense is coming together," he said. "We are becoming more physical, and I think we are creating more depth. This is a group that already has good speed. So if we can continue to progress in the physical area, I think we will be fine."
The good weather has certainly been a contributing factor to the success of spring training thus far. The Cowboys have conducted just one practice inside, and that was the opening day of drills. "While we can deal with having to go inside," Dimel said, "we can get more done by going outside. Weve really gotten a break on the weather."
The Cowboys will close out spring training with the annual Spring Game on April 3, at noon in War Memorial Stadium.