April 13, 2000
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Wyoming's football team closes outits first spring training under the guidance of Vic Koenning Saturday withthe annual Spring Game. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. in War MemorialStadium, and admission is free.
The "game" will pit the first units on offense and defense againstthe remainder of the Cowboy squad. The first units will begin the gamebehind 14-0. It will be the first time this spring that the number oneunits have been matched against the number two's. That is by design,according to Koenning. "I prefer to go one's against one's during thespring," he said, "but for this final game we thought it would be fun to gothis way. It also will give some of the second unit guys a chance to showwhat they can do, and that they can help this program."
If Saturday dawns in bad weather the head coach said he would movethe game inside War Memorial Fieldhouse.
Koenning said his number one priority for the players during thefinale is for them to have a good time, to have fun. "We want this team tohave fun. They can have fun by making plays showing some toughness and beingsuccessful. It's no fun dropping passes, fumbling the ball or goingoffsides. We want them to have fun by playing well."
According to the head coach they did not have fun duringWednesday's practice which was a "50-50" day. Wyoming spent the first halfof the workout working on fundamentals and techniques. The Cowboysscrimmaged for the last half, and it was not what Koenning had in mind.
"I would say we revisited old attitudes and limitations during thatscrimmage," Koenning said. "I'll tell you what it reminded me of, itreminded me a little bit of that UNLV game last year here in Laramie. Noneof us want to remember that game. If we would have been practicing ratherthan scrimmaging, I would have called everyone up, and we would have startedall over again. I was afraid to do that with the scrimmage because I didn'twant to chance anyone being injured."
There were a couple of positives from the scrimmage, according toKoenning. "I think we needed to understand that we must have totalconcentration, total effort for us to be successful. Half effort, or lackof concentration aren't going to get it done. I also drove home to themafter practice that our conditioning must be at a peak.
"Our offense did not have a good day. We lacked concentratioin andtoughness and our execution suffered for it. We were fine at the start ofthe scrimmage, but as we began to make mistakes it affected the whole bunch.We had dropped balls and missed assignments. I was fairly pleased with thedefense. We made a lot of plays, but we still didn't fly around like I wantto see. The scrimmage gave us something to use as motivation, and as acoaching tool."
Koenning said he wasn't sure if many jobs would be won duringSaturday's game. He indicated that right now there are three jobs setdefensively and five offensively. Did he think there would be more jobssettled by this time? "I thought we might have a couple more offensively,"he said. "Things have to be settled at offensive guard and at receiver.Now the receivers have improved light years from day one. But they are notyet in the right galaxy," he said with a smile."
Where is he most pleased? "The secondary and outside linebackershave made the biggest strides this spring. I think the secondary has playedmuch better than I ever expected. Even though undermanned (Jeff Boyle andPat Hirsch are missing) I think the defensive line has been dominating thisspring."
Koenning said that an added feature of Saturday's game will come athalftime. Spring awards and the capitains for the 2000 season will beintroduced at that time. Awards will be given on each side of the footballfor "Cowboy Effort", "Most Improved", and "Most Valuable". The captainsare being voted upon by the entire squad, he said.
Spring Training Notes
Suspended: Head Coach Vic Koenning said that redshirt freshmenJacque Finn (Casper) and Ryan McGuffey (Riverton) have been suspended forthe final week of spring training for violating University policy. Bothwill miss the spring game. Finn is a strong safety and McGuffey a widereceiver.
Cloak and Dagger: At last Saturday's scrimmage an individual wasdiscovered in the stands of War Memorial Stadium writing in on a notepad.Upon investigation it was discovered that he was making notes on all ofWyoming's plays and formations. His handywork was confiscated, according toHead Coach Vic Koenning. "I doubt if it's the first time and it won't bethe last," he said. "That is the nature of big-time athletics. It is atell-tale sign, I suppose, that we opening our season with some big-timecollege football programs next fall. The individual was from Savannah, Ga.,and we suspected there might be some relationship between him and our firstopponent (Auburn).
"It goes on, and we get a kick out of it. It adds a little more funand intrigue to spring ball. But it's nothing to get upset about."