Cowboys Preparing for Saturday Scrimmage at Casper

April 9, 2002

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

With one major scrimmage under their collective belts, the Wyoming Cowboys are preparing for their second of spring training Saturday at Casper Natrona's Dick Cheney Alumni Field.

The Cowboys will practice from 11:30 a.m., until 1:30 p.m., in Casper. According to Head Coach Vic Koenning the practice will pit the offense against the defense. "We probably will put a scoring system together to allow the defense the ability to score points," Koenning said. "As with last week's practice, we will put the ball in a variety of situations from red zone to middle of the field, to coming off the goal line.

"We're certainly looking forward to coming to Casper," he continued. "Hopefully it will give more fans from that part of the state a chance to watch the Cowboys practice."

While all spring-training scrimmages are important, these are vital because there are still many jobs to be won, according to the head coach. Positions such as safety, rover, tight end, running back, defensive end, offensive guard and center are very much up for grabs, Koenning said. "Those positions right now are wide open," Koenning said.

After looking at Saturday's tape, Koenning confirmed what he had thought following the scrimmage.

"We looked a little bit like we were fighting through some tired legs," the head coach said. "But I was really pleased with the emotion. We are showing signs of become a more physcial team, which makes us very happy. We have made strides, but we need to continue to make more.

"The fact that we moved the ball over the field was an adjustment for some of our younger players. For instance I thought the defense would perform well for seven or eight plays, then fatigue would set in, and they would revert to some old habits. We must get through that. But during those first seven or eight plays, we are quicker with better pursuit."

Koenning said he was pleased with the manner in which the offense maintained it's composure. "I thought everyone battled back offensively even though at first we were not sharp. The o-line showed much more cohesion than it did last season. In fact, we are much more comfortable in both the offensive line, and the defensive front."

He said the secondary is definitely improved over the last few campaigns. The Cowboys are missing a couple of keys in the defensive backfield including newcomer Chris Dixon (ankle sprain) and redshirt freshman Stephon King (sprained knee). "Those two could be keys for us. But even though they are out, we have shown great improvement fundamentally. I also believe we are better athletically in the secondary.

Koenning said he was pleased with the manner in which the offense maintained its composure."There was no question the offense was not sharp early in the scrimmage, but got it going midway, and finished strong. That's a very good sign."

There are a couple of Cowboys newly placed on the injury list. "H-back"-turned-linebacker, Shane Powell, may be out for the rest of the spring because of a severely-pulled hamstring. Defensive tackle Derrick Glasper also is sidelined with a shoulder injury, and his return is doubtful.

Koenning also announced that Wyoming's spring finale on Saturday, April 20, has been set for 2 p.m. in War Memorial Stadium.