March 20, 1999
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
With 14 members of the two deep missing, Head Coach Dana Dimel got a chance to look at some younger guys during Wyoming's second major scrimmage of spring training Saturday in War Memorial Stadium.
The Cowboys practiced for the first time this spring in the Stadium and ran 103 plays in perfect 70-degree weather.
"The fact that we had 14 guys missing today really gave us a chance to work on some depth," Dimel said. "We wanted to use today's scrimmage for that purpose, and I think our depth is getting better. Our two inside spots on the defensive line (two guys missing), one corner (three guys missing), running back (two players sidelined) and receiver (two guys missing) gave us an opportunity to look at some other people, and I was pleased with what I saw."
Dimel said he also was pleased with his team's conditioning. "I thought we were in much better shape today than we were last week for that first scrimmage," he said. "That made todays scrimmage much sharper."
The head man also was very happy with what he saw defensively. "That was as good a tackling job as we have done since I've been here," he said. "I thought we were very crisp. Weve worked on it, but some of that comes from shear athleticism. We are getting more and more athletic on defense.
"Our three starting linebackers are playing very well. With (Cortney) Barnes, (Herman) White and (Adrian) Hill, I feel like we are very solid. We really like our linebacking situation, especially our depth.
"I thought a couple of the younger guys played well in the secondary. Even though he is playing corner right now because of injuries, Allen Bridgeman is doing very well. He will be a safety for us because he is an excellent tackler. I thought Chris Cole played well at corner as well. Both of those guys are redshirt freshmen."
Hill finished the day with seven unassisted tackles. Bridgeman produced six tackles, an interception and a pass-break-up. Safety Al Rich had four tackles and an interceptions which he returned 28 yards. Safety Matt Lehning had four tackles, and a fumble recovery which he returned 17 yards. Safety Trent Gamble had four tackles and a pass-break-up. Sack leaders for the afternoon were Jeff Boyle and Jason Dreessen who each had two on the afternoon. Brandon Jones had three tackles, a sack and an interception.
Offensively, Dimel said he thought quarterback Jay Stoner had an excellent day as well as running back Jon Jennings. He also singled out redshirt freshmen Brock Ralph and Cliff Brye at receivers as well as interior offensive linemen Mike Irvin at center and Rob Kellerman at right guard. "With each year, with each practice Jay just keeps getting better. He becomes more and more polished. He moves around better, feels pressure better and has better touch on the ball."
"In spots we sputtered a little bit offensively," Dimel said. "But there were a couple of things I really liked. Number one we didn't turn the ball over near as much this week. I think the first team offense turned it over just once. Secondly we were able to make some big plays, especially with our younger guys. We expect Jay (Stoner) and Wendell (receiver Montgomery) to make big plays which they did today. But it was good to see guys like Ralph and Brye make some big plays. I think we have a lot of weapons on offense. We need to continue to work on consistency."
Ralph finished the day with six carries for 75 yards including a 31-yarder. He also caught a pass for 19 yards. Jennings rushed eight times for 65 yards and a touchdown, and caught three passes for 37 yards. Montgomery caught three for 75 yards including a 55-yarder from Stoner.
Stoner was 12 of 22 for 202 yards and a touchdown. Matt Swanson was one of three for 22 yards as and Brandon Neill was 2 of 11 for 22 yards. Each quarterback threw one interception.
There was some good, some not so good regarding Wyoming's kicking game. Place kicker Aaron Elling had a big day hitting on a 42-yarder and a 62-yarder. But the punting was not as good. Tom Waring did produce a 59-yarder, but for the most part punting was inconsistent.
"We have four immediate goals in mind," Dimel said. "First we want to get some of our injured back on the field; second we want to become more consistent on offense, and with that control the football more effectively, and finally we must get our punting game going. Those punters have been doing well in practice, but not during the scrimmages."
The Cowboys will continue spring drills on Monday with a fundamental-oriented session. There is some scrimmage work planned for Wednesday. Right now next Saturday is scheduled as an off-day.