Head Coach Craig Bohl Says UW's Second Scrimmage Will be Key Evaluation for Cowboys

April 7, 2014

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

On Monday morning, the Wyoming Cowboy Football team returned to practice as they began the second half of spring drills. Head coach Craig Bohl said following Monday's practice that the Pokes' upcoming scrimmage on Saturday, April 12 would be a key evaluation for the players on this year's Cowboy squad.

"I think following next Saturday's scrimmage (April 12), we'll have a depth chart to release after we've had a chance to watch the tape," said Bohl. "We'll have a depth chart that will still be fairly fluid.

"We'll take a look at guys in the Spring Game (April 19), but typically a Spring Game is more along the lines of giving the guys a feel of what a game is like, as opposed to a really hard evaluation. So after next Saturday's scrimmage, we'll have a better idea of what we have going into fall camp."

Bohl also reviewed with media after Monday's practice various areas of his football team that he and his staff had a chance to evaluate after watching tape of last Saturday's scrimmage.

"As I said last Saturday, we had a good scrimmage and were encouraged by what we saw," said Wyoming's first-year head coach. "Some things are starting to sort out. What's beginning to come into play is some good competition at several spots, which is going to lend itself to developing depth."

The first area Bohl spoke about in regard to positions with good competition was running back. Bohl said,"Having D.J. (May) and Shaun (Wick) at that spot in a tailback-oriented offense really helps. Both those guys did fairly well (on Saturday). There are some differences. D.J. has got maybe a little bit more breakaway ability. He had a big run early in Saturday's scrimmage. Shaun is a guy who is really paying attention to detail, getting all his reads right and all his assignments down."

Bohl's assessment of the quarterback position after reviewing Saturday's tape has two senior quarterbacks, Colby Kirkegaard and Sam Stratton, leading the competition. Two sophomores, Aaron Young and Tom Thornton, are the other two Cowboys competing for the starting QB spot.

"I think at the quarterback spot the top two guys are going to be Colby (Kirkegaard) and Sam (Stratton) as we go through spring," said Bohl. "Aaron (Young) is picking up things. Tommy (Thornton) is a little back of them. We'll make progress there as we continue to evaluate during spring, but we're no where near where we need to be at the quarterback spot."

Bohl continued to speak positively about his starting front four on defense, but he admits developing depth at defensive line will be critical between now and the start of the 2014 season.

"As I've talked earlier, we're really pleased with our defensive front," commented Bohl. "Sonny (Puletasi) and Eddie (Yarbrough) are going to give us good depth at the ends. Inside, between Uso (Olive) and Patrick (Mertens), we're in pretty solid shape there. But I named off only four guys, and to have an effective defensive line in the Mountain West we are going to need to develop that. Whether we can have some incoming freshmen help us out there or develop some guys within our football team is going to be important."

The first-year head coach of the Cowboys also continued his praise of the receiving corps' performance in Saturday's scrimmage, as well as the place-kicking of senior Stu Williams.

"I thought our receiving corps played well (on Saturday)," said Bohl. "We're encouraged about that.

"We did some good things in the kicking game. We've been working with Stu (Williams) as far as his field goals and extra points.

"So that is kind of where we're at after the scrimmage."

Bohl announced to media on Monday that redshirt freshman offensive tackle Connor Riese of Schofield, Wis., has decided to leave the Cowboy Football program for personal reasons. Riese redshirted his first season at UW in 2013 and so never played in a game for the Cowboys.

Asked about where he felt the development of the offensive line stood entering this third of four weeks of spring practice, Bohl stated,"We're a little bit ahead of where we thought, but we may not have as much depth as what we would like.

"I think at the center position -- we may have picked up a couple guys there to give us some depth. We're thin at the tackle spot. That is going to be a critical position not only when we talk about the running game but our pass protection, as well.

"But we have what we have, and the thing that our guys have is a `want to' to play well and to get better. As long as they're taking coaching and getting better then we're going to improve.

"The double reps are the best way we know to develop depth. That system works, it's just that we've got to bring the guys along -- probably not as fast as what our coaches or myself would like. But we just need to continue to make progress every day in practice."

Bohl has a number of coaches on his staff who came with him from North Dakota State to form a new coaching staff at Wyoming. One of those assistant coaches -- who also played for Bohl at NDSU -- is cornerbacks' coach John Richardson. Bohl was asked to share what it has been like to see one of his former players develop into a full-time coach with his Wyoming staff.

"It's been great to see John (develop as a coach)," said Bohl. "John came to us as a junior-college player. He really understands the finer points of playing corner because he didn't have blazing speed, but he played very well and he utilized his technique well.

"John is able to relate well with people. I think he'll have a profound impact in recruiting, getting our corners to play at a high level and getting them to play with a great deal of confidence."

The Pokes completed their eighth of 15 practices on Monday morning. A complete schedule of spring practice follows.

The Spring Game on Saturday, April 19 at 2 p.m. will be open to the media and the general public.

2014 University of Wyoming Football Spring Practice Schedule
Wednesday, March 26 - 8:15 a.m. (No Pads, Practice #1)
Friday, March 28 - 8:15 a.m. (No Pads, Practice #2)
Saturday, March 29 - 10 a.m. (First Padded Practice/Non-Tackle, Practice #3)
Monday, March 31 - 8:15 a.m. (Pads, Practice #4)
Wednesday, April 2 - 8:15 a.m. (Pads, Practice #5)
Friday, April 4 - 8:15 a.m. (Pads, Practice #6)
Saturday, April 5 - 11 a.m. (Scrimmage #1, Practice #7)
Monday, April 7 - 8:15 a.m. (Pads, Practice #8)
Wednesday, April 9 - 8:15 a.m. (Pads, Practice #9)
Friday, April 11 - 8:15 a.m. (Pads, Practice #10)
Saturday, April 12 - Time is TBA (Scrimmage #2, Practice #11)
Monday, April 14 - 8:15 a.m. (Pads, Practice #12)
Wednesday, April 16 - 8:15 a.m. (Pads, Practice #13)
Friday, March 18 - 8:15 a.m. (No Pads, Practice #14)
Saturday, April 19 - 2 p.m. (Spring Game, Practice #15) Open to the Public