March 25, 2008
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowboy Football team will open 2008 spring drills on Wednesday, March 26 at 3:15 p.m. with a practice in the University of Wyoming's $11 million Indoor Practice Facility that opened in the fall of 2007.
Head coach Joe Glenn will welcome back 44 lettermen and 15 starters from last year's team. Leading the way is a group of 17 seniors. Among the 44 returning letterwinners are 15 starters. Only 14 lettermen were lost to graduation -- five on offense, eight on defense and starting place-kicker/punter Billy Vinnedge. In terms of the returners, it is a very balanced group. A total of 22 letterwinners return on offense and 21 on defense and one on special teams. The Cowboy offense will return eight starters, while the defense returns seven.
Glenn looks to his sixth spring at Wyoming with a number of goals in mind.
"Number one, you focus on installation of your offense, defense and special teams," said Glenn. "Next you want to not only begin to determine your starters, but determine the players who I've always referred to as `who's in the mix' -- the players you can trust to put in the game and compete at a Division I level and help you win.
"Spring is also a time where we, as coaches, really get an opportunity to teach the fundamentals. We're not getting ready for an opponent in the spring. We're not scheming a game plan to beat someone else. Spring is a time when we're just trying to get our players to get better individually, better as a group at their individual positions and better as a team."
In addition to the installation of offensive, defensive and special teams systems, Glenn also sees the spring as an important time to develop leadership and team chemistry.
"This time of year gives a team an opportunity to build some `esprit de corps' -- to bond as a team," said Glenn. Spring football is a time to enjoy time with your teammates, and begin to build a winning attitude together. It is a chance for the coaching staff to see who the leaders are on a team -- who are the guys who are going to lead this football team to victory."
To build on that development of team chemistry, Glenn said that his coaching staff has implemented a few new team-oriented drills into their practices this spring.
"We're going to stretch as a team to start practice, which we haven't done since I can't remember when," commented Glenn. "We want to emphasize team this spring. Our coordinators are also planning on meeting more as groups -- the entire offense and entire defense together as units rather than just by position, which is a little bit different than the past. The offensive and defensive units are also going to grade practice film more as a unit, rather than just by positions. All of these things we want to implement to pull the team together during spring."
Of course one of the biggest changes for the Wyoming Cowboys entering this season will be new offensive coordinator Bob Cole. Glenn is excited about the offensive players finally getting an opportunity to begin the transition under Cole.
"What I'm excited most about is for our players and offensive staff to feel Bob's (Cole) presence and understand his philosophy," said Glenn. "I think they've been able to get to know him a little bit since he's been here, but starting Wednesday is the first time we can actually start coaching our players this year per NCAA rules. I don't think our players have any idea yet how good Bob is as a coach.
"Some things about our offense will be similar, but we are adding some new wrinkles," said Glenn. "We are adding a `fly sweep series' where we have our receivers in motion more and our receivers involved in the running game a little bit more. Our passing game will incorporate a quicker passing game, with more higher percentage passes and fewer passes further down the field that take longer to develop. That in turn should help our pass protection. Our tight ends will also be more involved in the passing game."
On the defensive side of the ball, several key performers return in 2008 from a defense that ranked No. 22 in the nation in total defense a year ago. Senior linebacker Ward Dobbs, the Cowboys' leading tackler last year with 98 total tackles, returns as does junior defensive lineman John Fletcher, who earned Second Team All-Mountain West Conference honors as a sophomore in 2007.
NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams (formerly NCAA Division I-A) are allowed 15 practices in the spring. Wyoming will practice on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. All practices are open to the public and will either be conducted in the Indoor Practice Facility or War Memorial Stadium. The two spring scrimmages are planned for Saturday, April 12 and Saturday, April 19.
Below is Wyoming's 2008 spring practice schedule.
2008 University of Wyoming Football Spring Practice Schedule
Wednesday, March 26 3:15 p.m.
Friday, March 28 3:15 p.m.
Saturday, March 29 1:00 p.m.
Monday, March 31 3:15 p.m.
Wednesday, April 2 3:15 p.m.
Friday, April 4 3:15 p.m.
Saturday, April 5 1:00 p.m.
Monday, April 7 3:15 p.m.
Wednesday, April 9 3:15 p.m.
Friday, April 11 3:15 p.m.
Saturday, April 12 1:00 p.m. (First Spring Scrimmage)
Monday, April 14 3:15 p.m.
Wednesday, April 16 3:15 p.m.
Friday, April 18 3:15 p.m.
Saturday, April 19 1:00 p.m. (Spring Game)