Wyoming Defense Impresses in Tuesday's Practice

April 5, 2016


As the Wyoming Cowboys neared the mid-point of spring practices on Tuesday, they used the final three periods of their afternoon practice for some live scrimmaging. The defense enjoyed the better of those final three scrimmage periods, and head coach Craig Bohl offered his evaluation to media at the conclusion of Tuesday's practice.

"We scrimmaged at the end of practice today," said Bohl. "As a head coach, I take a measured outlook at that, but I thought the defense really dominated during those scrimmage periods. It was a situational scrimmage. We got some pretty good pressure on the quarterback. I thought our guys tackled well, so I was encouraged by that.

"But I probably would have liked to have seen a little more balance -- a few more wins by the offense. I will say that most times in the first scrimmage you are going to have more of a dominance by the defense, and that certainly came about today."

The Cowboys will conduct a much more extensive scrimmage this coming Saturday at Cheyenne Central High School in Cheyenne, Wyo. The scrimmage is set for Noon, and is open to the public. Bohl said he and his staff have decided that Saturday's scrimmage will be between 70 to 100 plays.

"That is a little bit more than we've normally done for a spring scrimmage, so it is going to give us a good evaluation of our players," said Bohl. "Obviously the media and the public are welcome during the entire scrimmage, so you guys (the media) can give me your critique and give me your depth chart after the scrimmage."

Linebacker was one position group that Bohl was very positive about following Tuesday's practice, and he also was excited about the competition at cornerback.

"We're really pleased with the progress of Lucas Wacha with another year playing the MIKE (middle) linebacker position," commented Bohl. "Also, Logan Wilson is starting to establish himself as a really good WILL (weakside) linebacker, so we're really encouraged about his progress.

"C.J. Jennings is starting to emerge at cornerback. We tried to throw the ball vertical on our corners some today, and C.J. answered the bell every time. Every day there is good competition at the corner spots, and competition brings out the best in a man. Last year, C.J.played against Nevada, and he played in the UNLV game and played pretty well. Robert (Priester) has played a lot of football here, as has Antonio Hull, and we are pleased with Davion Freeman, so we've got four guys there. Typically we play with more than two corners. Davion may have the best change of direction and acceleration of anyone on our football team. I was talking with Russell Dennison, our strength coach, and he also sees that in Davion.

"I wouldn't say we are solidified at the safety position with Marcus (Epps) and Andrew (Wingard) but there is a little bit more separation at the safety position than there is at corner."

On the offensive side of the ball, the third-year Cowboy head coach was asked about the competition at quarterback between sophomores Josh Allen and Nick Smith and if either QB had separated himself from the other.

"I think Josh (Allen) is ahead, but the advantage of having just two quarterbacks in spring practice is we'll have enough repetitions that both guys will get a good look," said Bohl. "Josh is starting to show some of things that we saw when he came in as the starter against Eastern Michigan. He's certainly not exactly where we want him to be, but he's taking positive steps. And we appreciate Nick's (Smith) efforts. We're grading every play, every practice, but right now I would say Josh is doing a little bit better. Saturday, the scrimmage over in Cheyenne will be a pretty big day."

Bohl was also asked if he hoped to see more of a balance next season in the receiving corps.

"We certainly do. We have a lot of those guys back," said Bohl. "When you have two receivers like Jake (Maulhardt) and Tanner (Gentry) you have two talented, experienced players. Tanner was really emerging as one of the top receivers in the league last season, so it will be great to have his and Jake's presence out there. And I think we've gotten some good response from our younger players. Justice Murphy is continuing to pick up things. C.J. Johnson is doing some good things out there, as is Joe Parker and James Price. And we're going to continue to look at Austin Conway."

Finally, the head coach provided an injury update on his team through its first seven of 15 spring practices.

"As far as injuries today, Shaun Wick (running back) did not complete practice," said Bohl. "I believe he has some cartilage in his ribs that the trainers are a little concerned about, so they held him out of the back half of practice.

"It would be great to get Ryan (Cummings, offensive tackle) back out there, but the best guess is we might have him back next Tuesday. He needs to be symptom free for several days before the doctors will clear him."

Cummings was diagnosed with a concussion last week.

The Cowboys will return to the field Thursday afternoon before holding their open scrimmage on Saturday, April 9 at Central High School in Cheyenne.

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)