April 8, 2005
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Every practice during spring training is important, but there are some that are more important than others.
Saturday is one of those very important days for Wyoming's Cowboys as Head Coach Joe Glenn scrimmages his team for the first time this spring. The first of two controlled scrums will begin at approximately 1:30 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium.
"This is very important for each and every player," Glenn said prior to Friday's practice. "We have a good idea of how our starters from last year will play. We are interested to see how our new starters will perform. But for so many, it's an opportunity to get themselves in the mix. . .gain the confidence of their coaches.
"You can't go out there and lay an egg, whether it be with your assignments or with your fundamentals. Will jobs be won or lost with this scrimmage? Probably not. But it is a chance to help yourself win a job."
Glenn has some definite goals in mind for the opening scrimmage. "We want to run our offense and execute our defense efficiently. We want to run our special teams on and off the field. And we all want to walk off the field on our own after it's over. That's the biggest goal."
It's no secret that Glenn is not interested in an overabundance of live hitting during spring ball. As he always says, he is not looking to beat up the Cowboys. "But there are times when you just have to line up and go full speed during spring training. That's what we will do tomorrow."
The scrimmage will pit the first units offensively and defensively against the second units, Glenn said. The situational day will include scrimmaging from the 30 over the field, from the 50, and from the 20 (red zone) to the end zone. There will be special teams included in the drives, both punts and field goals, but not at full speed in terms of coverage and tackling. The 25-second clock will be in operation, and there will be game officials.
The Cowboys are right on schedule, according to their head coach. The primary offenses and defenses have been installed, which is where the coaching staff wanted to be when the first scrimmage day rolled around. "We still have some special stuff we will put in," Glenn said, "but our primary stuff is in which is what we wanted by this time."
Glenn said that Corey Bramlet (6-4, 219, Sr.) would receive the lion's share of snaps at the quarterback position, and that Jacob Doss (6-2, 210, So.) and Stinson Dean (6-2, 215, RFr.) would split the remaining snaps as they continue to battle for that back-up spot.
"There are a number of opportunities out there," Glenn said. "It will be a chance for some running back to step forward, to say to the coaches, `you can count on me'. While we are pretty set on our starters in the secondary, there are lots of chances for guys to get in the mix. There's lots of competition there.
"We have a good idea of who's in the mix in the offensive line, but we will be interested to see how some guys perform in the game-type situation. You know Drew Severn (6-3, 301, Sr.) will be excited for tomorrow as he gets a chance to start at center. There are going to be a couple of linebackers who are taking the field for the first time as THE guy. They'll be excited."
At this stage of the training period, Glenn said he was most pleased with how the starters have performed. "Our starters across the board have practiced very well, and I've really been happy with that. Now that's been in a controlled environment. Tomorrow may be a different deal. But I have been very pleased with the way our starters have gone about their business.
"We've also been pleased with our linebacking corps as a group. We ask them to "thud-up" during practice rather than tackle, and they don't like that, but they are coming along very well. I know they are anxious to get out there tomorrow and get busy."
Glenn also singled out Wade Betschart (6-3, 242, So.), and Scott Koch (6-4, 214, RFr.) at tight end and three offensive linemen, Brandon Avery (6-4, 296, Sr., at tackle), Kyle Howard (6-5, 301, RFr., center and tackle) and Mark Schwarz (6-4, 298, Jr., guard) for their springtime efforts. "Wade is blocking very well, and catching the ball very well. He is a tough football player. Scott must develop, but he is going to be a player one of these days. I'm happy for Avery that he is coming along, and Howard and Schwarz have practiced very well all spring. All three have really improved."
Cowboys, whom Glenn is watching with keen interest, are the long snappers. Wyoming has an interesting situation in that it has a snapper for punts and a snapper for placements. Schwarz handles the PAT's and field goals while defensive tackle Jake Mayes (6-3, 285, Jr.) does the punt snapping. "Having two is a little unusual," Glenn said, "but it certainly has its advantages. We can now have both areas working at the same time. . .punters over here, placekickers over there. One used to have to wait for the other. Jake can do both, but it's nice to be in our situation."
Spring training will continue next week with practices on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The Saturday workout will be the final practice of the session, and the second controlled scrimmage.
Cowboy Spring Training Notes:
Wyoming's coaching staff is hosting a coaching clinic in conjunction with this weekend's practices. Some 75 high school football coaches from throughout Wyoming are involved. According to clinic coordinator and Cowboy special teams coach Chris Knutsen, the coaches are invited to all position meetings and practice where they can move around freely.
"This clinic is drill-specific for each position," Knutsen said. "Each coach will watch each position go through its drills. It's something new that I have not seen before. Each position will be in the spotlight specifically to see how things are taught at that position. There's no philosophy, no scheming, just teaching. . .meat and potatoes."
The Intercollegiate Athletics Department's marketing and promotion staff is planning a spring event in War Memorial Stadium following next Saturday's (April 16) final scrimmage. Immediately following the scrum, fans are invited onto the field for autographs and to take pictures with their favorite players and coaches. The Cowgirl soccer team, which will play Metro State that afternoon, also will join the football team on the turf of War Memorial.
There will be music, food and drink available for purchase. Inflatables will be set up for the children. UW Dining Service Senior Associate Director Dave Wallace and his staff will be providing the food at the west side of the War Memorial Stadium Veteran's Plaza during, and following the game. Both Joe Glenn and Soccer Coach Anne Moore will speak to the group.
In addition, the United States Postal Service will unveil a new Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl commemorative envelope at the event, which will be on sale. An envelope presentation will be made to Glenn.