Cowboys Complete Third Scrimmage of the Spring

April 18, 2009


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The third scrimmage of 2009 spring football drills for the Wyoming Cowboys was played Saturday morning in Wyoming's Indoor Practice Facility, with the Cowboy offense winning by a 59-24 final score. Saturday was the final scrimmage tune-up before Wyoming's Spring Game scheduled for Saturday, April 25 in War Memorial Stadium at 2 p.m.

The Cowboy defense started the scrimmage strong, holding the No. 1 and No. 2 offenses scoreless through the first nine possessions of the scrimmage. Leading the way for the defense was junior free safety Chris Prosinski, who recorded a team high 11 tackles and broke up one pass. Senior linebacker Weston Johnson had nine tackles, including 1.5 tackles for losses and one pass breakup. Also being credited with nine tackles was junior linebacker Alex Toney. The biggest play of the day for the defense came from sophomore cornerback Tashaun Gipson, who intercepted a pass thrown in the end zone by junior QB Dax Crum to stop an offensive scoring threat.

"From an offensive standpoint, when you get in the redzone you have to come away with points," said head coach Dave Christensen. "But when your defense's backs are against the wall and they can come up and make a play like that it is tremendous. It was a great play on his part.

"I think the speed we have in our secondary is pretty good for our league, and I feel good about the guys we have back there."

After holding the offense scoreless on the first nine possessions, senior place-kicker Jake Scott broke the scoreless streak with a 25-yard field goal that capped a 37-yard drive by the No. 1 offense that was fueled by junior running back Darius Terry, who had first down runs of 10 yards and eight yards during the drive.

The No. 1 offensive unit was led on the day by senior quarterback Karsten Sween, who completed 73 percent of his passes (14 of 19) for 140 yards and one touchdown pass of 22 yards to sophomore wide receiver Brandon Stewart. Stewart led all Cowboy receivers with five receptions for 71 yards, one TD receiving and one rushing. Terry carried the ball 15 times for a team best 49 yards and two touchdowns of two yards each. Terry's first TD run concluded a 55-yard scoring drive by the No. 2 offense led by Crum. The longest scoring drive of the day was a 60-yard drive led by Sween that resulted in a 23-yard field goal.

"The offense came out a little bit slow today," said Christensen. "I was a little bit disappointed with their tempo, and we need to get that corrected. But I thought the defense came out and played extremely well early in the scrimmage and were very, very physical. There were some great hits out there today. I think the defense is picking it up from a physical aspect. They created some turnovers today, which was good to see from a defensive standpoint."

In addition to Gipson's interception the other turnover came on a fumble by quarterback Crum out of shotgun formation.

When asked about the play of senior quarterback Sween, Christensen had this to say.

"He (Karsten) is doing a nice job. Obviously, it is a lot for our quarterbacks to pick up as we install a new offense in a short amount of time. We put a lot on them, but he (Karsten) is managing the offense very well. We've told our quarterbacks, we don't need them to go out and win every game for us. We need them to go out and manage the game and not lose the game for us. Make good decisions throwing the football. Get the tempo of the game going at the pace we want. Protect the ball and don't turn the ball over. Don't get sacked or take negative plays. If our quarterbacks can do those things, then it's going to give us a chance in almost every game."

In the area of special teams, Scott and junior place-kicker Nick Landess alternated kicking throughout the scrimmage. Prior to the scrimmage beginning, the two each made five of six field-goal attempts during a special teams session. Scott made one field goal attempt from 30 yards, two from 40 yards and two from 45 yards out. His only miss in pregame was from 30 yards. Landess hit two from 30 yards, one from 40 and two from 45, missing only one of 40 yards. During the scrimmage, Scott was a perfect four of four in field-goal attempts, converting from 25 yards, 39 yards, 23 yards and 30 yards. Landess was two of four during the scrimmage, hitting from 23 and 30 yards out, but missing from 25 and 39.

"We put a lot of live kicks in today, and Jake (Scott) did a nice job," said Christensen. "(Nick) Landess is kicking well too, despite having a groin injury he's been dealing with. I feel like we've been making progress in the kicking game. Our protection has been pretty good, but we need to work on getting more pressure from a defensive standpoint on kicks."

Overall for the third scrimmage of the spring, Christensen stated he liked the competition level he saw on Saturday.

"I thought the kids did a good job of competing today," said Christensen. "The coaches coached hard today. We've talked in our staff meetings that we need to demand more from our players, and I think they are responding to that."

Other notes on Saturday's scrimmage include:

  • The Cowboys ran 104 plays on Saturday -- a few more than their planned 95.
  • Wyoming's 343 yards of passing offense was its highest passing total of the three scrimmages to date. The UW offense's previous high in a scrimmage this spring was 257.
  • Cowboy quarterbacks continue to complete a high percentage of their passes in Christensen's new no-huddle, spread offense. Sween (14 of 19 for 73.7 percent), Crum (18 of 26 for 69.2 percent) and redshirt freshman QB Adam Barry (a perfect 3 of 3) combined to complete 35 of 48 passes -- or 72.9 percent.
  • Tashaun Gipson's interception was the second by the Wyoming defense in three spring scrimmages. The other interception came in the Cowboys' first scrimmage and was made by sophomore linebacker Brian Hendricks against Barry. Sween has not thrown an interception in Wyoming's three spring scrimmages.
  • Senior noseguard Fred Givens participated in his first scrimmage of the spring after dealing with a sprained shoulder.
  • Only two penalties for 15 yards were called in Saturday's scrimmage -- both were on the offense.

    Christensen and his Cowboys are hoping to finish up the final week of spring drills outside in War Memorial Stadium with three practices remaining on: Tuesday, April 21; Thursday, April 23 and the Spring Game on Saturday, April 25 at 2 p.m.