March 31, 2004
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowboy football team held its third practice of the spring on Wednesday, and its first practice this spring in full pads. The Pokes practiced for a little over two hours at the North Forty practice fields on the UW campus, and head coach Joe Glenn likes the attitude of his team early in spring drills.
"I feel like something special is going on here," said Glenn. "We're carrying ourselves differently this spring. I like the enthusiasm, and I can feel a sense of excitement from our players. We're not only getting better on the field, but I like the team culture we're building."
The Cowboy coaching staff emphasized tackling fundamentals in the first padded practice, but the players were instructed to "thud up" -- tackling without taking players to the ground.
"I've never been one to make spring ball a meat grinder for the players," said Wyoming head coach Joe Glenn. "We don't need to beat up Wyoming. But with that said, you always have linemen in the trenches that may go down. As a general rule though, we try to stay up in everything we do."
Installation of offense and defense will continue to be the focus of spring drills Glenn said.
"Even though we've been here a year, we are really following the same practice plan as last year," commented Glenn. "We have gone back and installed everything from day one again, just like it was the first time our players have seen our offensive and defensive systems. You teach, and you teach and you teach -- that is what spring is about. You try to make each young man better fundamentally as a football player, and if you can do that, then collectively you become better as a team. We have been able to work at a little faster pace this spring, due to our players being familiar with our offense and defense. But the process is pretty much the same as a year ago."
Another important part of spring drills is evaluation of each individual player.
"We film just about everything we do in practice," said Glenn. "We come back and look at the film as coaches and make coaching points off of that. Each position coach will then go through the practice tape with their kids. The kids probably get as much out of watching themselves on tape as any feedback they receive. You try to carry those things you see on film into the next practice and try to evaluate each young man on his progress in improving his technique, as well as his progress in eliminating mental mistakes.
"The way a young man moves up the depth chart is by being sterling in individual sessions during practices, sterling in group periods, effective in team sessions and not making mental mistakes in practices. The final evaluation will be during the two scrimmages the last two Saturdays of spring ball."
Developing depth is a focus for the Cowboy coaches this spring, and Glenn feels the best way to do that is to coach each player with the same enthusiasm and detail no matter where they sit on the current depth chart.
"While the number ones get more repetitions than some of the younger players, I feel that it is important for the development of our team that we coach each player with the same level of attention to detail," commented Glenn. "I think we coach just as hard with the fourth guy at each position as we do with the first guy on the depth chart."
One development early in spring drills that Glenn has been very pleased with is the improved size and speed of his defensive unit.
"What we are real, real happy about defensively is that we appear to be much more athletic and much faster," said Glenn. "Derrick Martin ran a 4.39 (40-yard dash). John Wendling ran a 4.4. Guy Tuell has excellent speed. And so many guys on the team have gotten bigger. Zach Morris is over 280. Jacob Bonde is 299, and now you throw Dusty Hoffschneider in there who bench presses 465 pounds. We are maturing on defense, and picking it up talent-wise.
"I think we are starting to develop the size and speed you need to be successful in Division IA football."
Glenn is also pleased with the returning offensive line. A year ago, the offensive line unit entered the season with a great deal of inexperience. But a number of veterans return in 2004.
"We now have an offensive line that has played together for a season," added Glenn. "We began last year with two freshmen offensive tackles, and a couple of other guys who hadn't played that much. Now with seniors Trenton Franz back at center and Isaac Morales at left guard and sophomores Chase Johnson and Jason Karcher at left tackle and right guard, we have a pretty veteran group of starters. If Drew Severn can come back healthy in the fall after off-season shoulder surgery, that will add to our experience. We still have to develop depth at this position, but we are totally different up front than we were a year ago."
One position change that is being experimented with is the move of newcomer Alex Renshaw from running back to defensive back.
"Alex (Renshaw) is a good athlete, and because of the number of quality running backs we have right now we thought we would give him a try in the secondary," said Glenn. "We are a little bit thin at cornerback with Derrick Martin being limited due to a slight separation in the sternum and clavicle area of his upper body. Derrick is able to practice, he just can't have any contact right now. Alex will probably get a try at both corner and safety."
In terms of 11 on 11 scrimmages this spring, Glenn has scheduled scrimmages for the last two Saturdays of spring drills on Saturday, April 17 and Saturday, April 24. Both scrimmages are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. The April 17 scrimmage and the April 24 Spring Game will be played at the UW Soccer Stadium, due to construction in progress on War Memorial Stadium.
2004 University of Wyoming Spring Practice Schedule
Saturday, March 27 1:00 p.m.Monday, March 29 3:15 p.m.Wednesday, March 31 3:15 p.m.Friday, April 2 3:15 p.m.Saturday, April 3 1:00 p.m.Monday, April 5 3:15 p.m.Wednesday, April 7 3:15 p.m.Monday, April 12 3:15 p.m.Wednesday, April 14 3:15 p.m.Friday, April 16 3:15 p.m.Saturday, April 17 1:00 p.m. (Scrimmage scheduled at the UW Soccer Stadium)Monday, April 19 3:15 p.m.Wednesday, April 21 3:15 p.m.Friday, April 23 3:15 p.m.Saturday, April 24 1:00 p.m. (Spring game in Laramie at the UW Soccer Stadium)