April 17, 2004
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Wyoming's first dress rehearsal of spring training belonged to the defense.
The Cowboys "got after it", according to their head coach, Joe Glenn, for the first time this spring. The one-hour-and-forty-five minute scrimmage was the 11th practice of the training period, and the first time they hit each other. The situational scrum included 75 plays from scrimmage, and 20 special teams plays. It featured the number one units against the number two units throughout the day.
"I thought the play was really spirited," Glenn said following the practice. "I guess it might be the Irish in me, but I think team culture is very important, and I think our team culture is good. They support one another, and I really like to see that."
Defense held the upper hand throughout the afternoon. That did not surprise the head man.
"This was our 11th practice, and it usually takes 15 to 20 practices to install everything. It doesn't take the defense as much time to install their stuff. We expect the offense to be a little bit behind. We had a freshman in there at center (Ben Penfold), and he was having trouble early in the scrimmage with high snaps. That doesn't help things, obviously, since a quarterback has to be looking down the field, and can't be worrying about the snap. Ben did improve as the day went on.
"I was very pleased with the defense, but I saw enough good things from the offense to be pleased."
Glenn was very happy with the kicking game. With a stiff wind at their back, the kickers and punters were outstanding. Junior placekicker Deric Yaussi hit three of four field goals. He made good from 24, 47 and 29 yards, and missed from 47 after a bad snap. His backup, Scott Parker, was three for three, 29, 47 and 24.
The punters were also impressive. Junior Adam Brooks punted seven times for an average of 59 yards per. His efforts included a 96 yarder. Parker punted three times for a 47.7 average with a long of 53.
"It appears our kicking game is going to be a weapon for us," Glenn says. Brooks has some leg and he was going under two (seconds) from snap to bang."
While the first team offense was sharp with Cory Bramlet at the helm, it struggled with the backup QB's. For the entire day, the offense gained 108 yards through the air, and 116 on the ground. It did not fumble the ball, but threw one interception, picked off by defensive end John Flora.
Bramlet was five for five through the air for 35 yards, and a seven yard touchdown hookup with Dustin Pleasant. It was the only TD pass of the day. Freshman Stinson Dean was three of six for 48 yards, while J.J. Raterink was three of six for 12 yards; Jacob Doss, two of six for nine yards and Zach Weidenaar, one for 12 for four yards.
"We wanted to get a good look at the backup guys," Glenn said of the quarterback situation, so Corey did not get a lot of snaps. He is coming along well. He's our man."
The top receiver was running back Ivan Harrison with three for 20 yards. Tight end Wade Betschart caught two balls for 46 yards. Josh Barge and Jovon Bouknight also caught two apiece, but for 10 and 16 yards respectively.
Harrison was the best on the ground for the Pokes with 39 yards on five carries. C.R. Davis rushed for 34 yards on nine carries. Junior college transfer Joseph Harris carried four times for 16 yards, and the lone touchdown on the ground (two yards).
"We have gotten quicker at running back," Glenn says. "Ivan is coming on, and Harris gives us bang in the middle. Both have outstanding speed, and have the ability to hit the hole in a hurry."
Glenn also is pleased with the speed on defense. He says the team speed is better on that side of the ball than it was a season ago. "I think we have better speed on defense.
The top playmaker for the Cowboys defensively was junior defensive end John Flora. He had three unassisted tackles, six assists for a total of nine stops. He also had two sacks and five tackles for losses for 27 yards in losses, and the interception he returned for nine yards.
Defensive tackle Zach Morris and noseguard Dusty Hoffschneider each had seven total tackles. Morris posted two sacks and three tackles for losses, Hoffschneider produced half a sack and two tackles for losses.
"The defense played well," Glenn said. "We rallied real well, and locked up well."
The Cowboys have four more practices scheduled before closing out their training camp. They will practice Monday, Wednesday and Friday with the spring finale coming up on Saturday, at 1 p.m., probably at the same location as Saturday's scrimmage, at the practice complex.
"The spring game will be another opportunity to make plays in the spotlight of the spring game. We'll have a spring game, then turn the equipment into Mad Dog (equipment manager), and hit that weight room."
The Cowboy staff hosted a coaching clinic on Friday and Saturday. Sixty coaches from around the region attended, according to Don Julian, director of football operations. The coaches attended practice on Friday, then heard four high school coaches speak, then had break-out sessions with each UW coach. Glenn spoke to the group Saturday morning.