LARAMIE, Wyo. - Early in the week, Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said he was hoping to get his Cowboy squad out of its Indoor Practice Facility and back outside in War Memorial Stadium. On Saturday, a beautiful, sunny day made that possible when the Cowboys took the field shortly after Noon.
“It was great to be back outside today,” said Bohl. “We were able to work on our punting and punt returns, and that was encouraging.
“I thought we threw the ball well today. I saw Josh (Allen) make a couple of throws that raised my eyebrows.
“We are continuing to add things. Today we added a pretty intense blitz pickup period. The defense won some of those reps and the offense won some, so that was good to see.”
When Bohl and his staff came to Wyoming in 2014 they emphasized that one of the key positions on offense that had to be developed was the tight-end position. That development has gone well over the past two seasons, led by senior Jacob Hollister. Hollister has started 19 games the last two seasons and concluded last year posting the best game of his career in a season-ending victory over UNLV. Hollister caught a career high five passes for a career best 119 yards against the Rebels, including a 64-yard, game-winning touchdown reception. Bohl was asked Saturday about Hollister’s development.
“There are certain aspects of Jacob’s (Hollister) game that he does really well,” said Bohl. “He runs very well. He needs to learn to be a little bit more efficient at his route running, and I believe he will improve on that. And then in our system, he has to be a good blocker at the point of attack. Each year, he has gotten stronger, and it will be important for him to continue to take steps forward. We’re certainly excited about him as a senior.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Bohl was asked to comment about the growth his two sophomore defensive ends Carl Granderson and Kevin Prosser have made after both played as true freshmen last season.
“They are making plays when it is a finesse play,” said Bohl. “They both have really good speed and explosion. They need to continue to improve on their fundamentals in defending the run. It is a long time until our first game, but it’s going to be an important part of their game to improve upon.”
Another set of freshmen who started for the Cowboys in 2015 were Andrew Wingard and Marcus Epps at the two safety positions. The head coach was asked after Saturday’s practice about what he has seen from them during the first two weeks of spring practice.
“Marcus (Epps) has really worked hard,” said Bohl. “I think he has improved his speed. He breaks well on the football, and has improved his tackling.
“I will tell you that Andrew Wingard has really improved. Those safeties are going to be important components of our defense.”
Another area of the defense that returns several talented players is cornerback. Bohl told media that there has been excellent competition among the four individuals at corner this spring.
“We’re in a competitive position between Antonio (Hull) and C.J. (Jennings). Davion Freeman has done well. Robert Priester has played well. We have a battle with those guys. There isn’t a job locked up in that grouping yet. Cornerback is definitely an area of our football team where we have good depth.”
Bohl was eager to get in some better work on punting and punt returns on Saturday, and he was pleased with the performance of punter Ethan Wood, who has started the last 36 games for UW entering his senior season.
“Ethan (Wood) is working on his precision punting and his directional punting,” said Bohl. “We’re working on his drop and his tempo. He just needs to continue to improve his consistency. Ethan is his own biggest critic, but when he hits a good punt he needs to build on that. Overall, Ethan is doing a good job.”
Bohl did announce that offensive tackle Ryan Cummings was determined to have sustained a concussion after being examined following Thursday’s practice. Cummings did not participate in practice on Saturday.
The Cowboys will return to the practice field next Tuesday afternoon.
2016 University of Wyoming Football Spring Practice Schedule
Tuesday, March 22 - 4 or 4:30 p.m. (Practice #1)
Thursday, March 24 - 4 or 4:30 p.m. (Practice #2)
Saturday, March 26 - TBA (Practice #3)
Tuesday, March 29 - 4 or 4:30 p.m. (Practice #4)
Thursday, March 31 - 4 or 4:30 p.m. (Practice #5)
Saturday, April 2 - TBA (Practice #6)
Tuesday, April 5 - 4 or 4:30 p.m. (Practice #7)
Thursday, April 7 - 4 or 4:30 p.m. (Practice #8)
Saturday, April 9 - TBA (Practice #9)
Tuesday, April 12 - 4 or 4:30 p.m. (Practice #10)
Thursday, April 14 - 4 or 4:30 p.m. (Practice #11)
Saturday, April 16 - TBA (Practice #12)
Tuesday, April 19 - 4 or 4:30 p.m. (Practice #13)
Thursday, April 21 - 4 or 4:30 p.m. (Practice #14)
Saturday, April 23 - 2 p.m. (Spring Game, Practice #15)