April 12, 2006
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
An historic scrimmage, spiced with a scoring system, will close out Wyoming's 2006 spring training schedule Thursday evening at War Memorial Stadium.
For the first time in Cowboy football history, the spring finale will be conducted at night, under the lights of Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium. The scrimmage will begin at 6:30 p.m. There is no admission. The scrimmage, the second of Wyoming's spring training period, will be the 15th practice and final practice of the session. It will feature between 80 and 90 plays, including all phases of the kicking game.
The Cowboys' final regular practice of spring training on Wednesday was a light one. The Pokes worked out for an hour and ten minutes without pads. The workout began with special teams drills. The defense focused on seven-on-seven drills, and the offense worked on polishing plays.
A scoring system has been devised for the scrimmage that will allow the defense to score points as well as the offense. The defensive scoring system will be as follows: one point for forcing the offense to three downs and a punt; one point for a sack; two points for a fourth-down stop; three points for an interception or fumble recovery. The defense will score in the conventional way for a safety (two) or a touchdown (six). If it scores a touchdown by way of an interception, however, it will receive a total of nine points, six for the TD and three for the pick.
The offense may score in the usual ways--touchdown, field goal, and point-after. But it also will be awarded points for a first down (one), and any play from scrimmage over 25 yards (two points).
"This is just a way of adding a little more competitiveness to the game, and letting the kids have some fun," Glenn said Wednesday. "We want to give everyone a chance to put points on the board."
The scrimmage will be comprised of four quarters. The first quarter will feature the offense starting at its own 30. The first defense will face the second offense for nine plays, then the second defense will take on the first offense for nine, and the third-team offense and defense will square off for six plays. The ball will be placed on the 50 for the second quarter with the one's vs. two's for six plays, and the two's vs. one's for six plays. The third quarter will start at the 30 again, and the fourth at the 50 with a similar sequence of plays.
"We have had a heck of a spring," Glenn says. "Everything has gone as planned. We've installed everything in all three areas (offense, defense and special teams), and we've gotten the opportunity to polish what we've installed. Certainly there are areas that need a lot more reps. Some plays are diamonds, some are stones. No doubt we need more practice, and as I told the coaching staff, in some areas, we need some more birthdays.
"We have added some wrinkles on defense to get more athletes on the field. The addition of the `three-four' does that for us. It is a better fit for our personnel. Due to those changes, the defense has had a great spring. The kids have really bought into it. The change was a great move on Mike's (defensive coordinator Breske) part. We now have more good athletes on the field.
"We also added some subtle wrinkles offensively. We have liked what we saw with the running game. We are going to be able to run the ball much more effectively because of the veteran offensive line, and the talent we have at running back.
"We've also been fortunate with injuries this spring. . . knock on wood. A lot of guys have received a lot of reps. Simply put, we have been encouraged by what we have seen."
There are a number of Cowboys who are being held out of Thursday night's practice. including center Ben Smith (finger); offensive tackle Jeff Zimmerman (knee); receiver Tyler Holden (foot); defensive end Aaron Robbins (knee); runningback Monty Brunk (hamstring); linebacker John Prater (back); and linebacker Marcial Rosales (back). In addition, running backs Ivan Harrison and Joseph Harris will sit out the spring finale as part of their suspension for a violation of team rules. Both will miss Wyoming's first three regular-season games as well.
There are several positions which will be receiving the coaching staff's watchful eye during the scrimmage, and quarterback will be number one on the list.
"The quarterback situation is an ongoing process," Glenn says. "Through 14 practices it is really close. We are going to let it shake out. We may not be able to name a number-one guy this spring unless there is a clear-cut winner during the scrimmage. Right now, it's too close to call."
Glenn pointed to the receiving corps as another area of focus. It has to reach a more consistent level. "We're on a little bit of a roller coaster ride there because we don't have as much experience. We have a number of new faces among our receivers, and we'll just have to see who ends up where. Guys like Evan Weatherspoon (6-1, 183, RFr.), Ryan Gallimore (6-1, 183, RFr.), Derrick Levy (6-0, 178, Fr.), and Marcus Franklin (6-0, 163, RFr.) will have opportunity to compete for a starting job with our veterans."
Glenn has been pleased with the running back situation. Not only is it great to have Harris and Harrison back in the mix, but Wynel Seldon (6-0, 205 So.) is coming off of a solid year. "Seldon has really been a standout all spring long," Glenn said.
"The kicking game is a big-time question mark," he continued. "It will be very competitive in the fall. It's going to have to come together at that time. It's not there yet by any means."
The transition made by the defense has been nearly seamless, according to the head coach. "Our veteran guys have really done a great job of bringing everyone along. John Wendling (6-1, 222, Sr.) has been such a great leader for us. We are young in the secondary, and he has really been a coach on the field.
"We are feeling good about how our corners have come along," Glenn continued. "Julius (Stinson, 5-10, 177, Jr.), Mike (Medina, 6-0, 181, Jr.) and T.J. (Atwater, 5-9, 181, RFr.) have all shown marked improvement.
"Same holds true for our linebackers. Weston Johnson (6-3, 221, RFr.) has really helped himself this spring."
Team leadership has been impressive, according to the coach, and he is pleased with that aspect of the team. Along with Wendling on the defensive side, Jake (Doss,6-2, 210, Jr.) and Karsten (Sween, 6-2, 204, RFr.) have done a good job from the quarterback position as have Chase (Johnson, 6-8, 325, Sr.) and Jason Karcher (6-3, 291, Sr.) in the offensive line. "I'm pleased with the way the leadership is coming along," he said. "Our team will vote on captains at the end of fall drills, and they will have some outstanding people from which to choose."