April 20, 2001
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Wyoming went through a light,technique-honing workout in anticipation of Saturday's major scrimmage thatcould be the last one of this year's spring training.
Head Coach Vic Koenning put his team through an hour-long indoorpractice Friday in War Memorial Fieldhouse, then sent team members throughthe community to raise money for the March of Dimes.
Weather-permitting the Cowboys will go through their biggestscrimmage of the spring on Saturday in War Memorial Stadium. If the weatheris bad--the forecast is not promising--the Cowboys will workout on the southpractice field, and scrimmage next Wednesday. Spring training will endWednesday regardless of whether the Cowboys practice or scrimmage on thatday, according to the head coach.
"Our goal tomorrow is for each unit to run between 50 and 60 plays,"Koenning said. "We expect this one to be an intense, enthusiastic andtaxing scrimmage." The Cowboys have had two major scrimmages this spring,but neither one exceeded 60 plays. Saturday's will be the biggest.
With three practices days remaining in his second spring, Koenningsaid he has been happy with the results of the training period. "Theirapproach to this spring has been the way it should be," he said. "It hasbeen intense, there has been a purpose and a mission, and it has been fun.That's the way it ought to be. They shouldn't need to have the coach pushingthem all the time. We had just one practice where they started outsluggish, and we didn't do anything. I was very pleased that they pulledout of it, and ended up having a good practice without me getting afterthem. I think that is a sign of maturity and leadership.
"We did not have as many tackling days as we are allowed," hecontinued. "We had four, we are allowed eight. We wanted them to learn howto practice, and learn fundamentals without being out of control. Thatdoesn't mean we didn't spend a lot of time on tackling, but we didn'temphasize the physical part as much, and we have--knock on wood--beenrelatively free of injuries because of it."
The Cowboys have had just one serious injury todate, and that todefensive end Garry Gotfredson. The redshirt sophomore from Worland,damaged his right knee in practice this week, and will undergo surgery torepair torn ligiments next Wednesday.
Will the coaching staff utilize Saturday's scrimmage to making somedecision on starters?. That will probably not be the case, according to thehead coach. "There is no question that it is an important scrimmage,"Koenning said. "While we won't determine our final two-deep until the weekbefore our first game, some individuals could really help themselves with agood performance tomorrow. In fact, several individuals really need to havea good scrimmage. It's a very important day to areas like tight end,running back, receiver, defensive tackle and the defensive secondary."
As the session winds down, Koenning gives this training period muchhigher marks than his first one a year ago. "It's like night and day," hesaid. "We have more experience, we have more depth, and therefore bettercompetition. I like the attitude of this group. While depth is always aconcern, we are much better off this season, and should be in good shapewhen everyone returns in the fall.
"Additions like Leonard Jones (sophomore wide receiver) have made usbetteroffensively, in addition to the increased experience factor. Jones hasestablished himself as a threat, a big weapon. Defensively we have steppedit up in every area. Everything they are doing, from the way they carrythemselves onto the field until they leave the field is better. Thesecondary is a lot more fundamentally sound. We are doing things correctlya great majority of the time."
Koenning said he is pleased with the progress of the offensiveline--which is missing four members due to injury this spring. Guys like(senior, Bill) Bullert, (redshirt freshman, David) Gough, (redshirtfreshman, Tim) Riley, (sophomore, Rano) Sasa and (junior, Anthony) Stannardhave all improved this spring." Veteran Rob Kellerman, and redshirtfreshmen ER Wolf, Trenton Franz and Kyle Huseby have missed the trainingsession because of injury, but will return in the fall. That will be a hugeadvantage to have them all with us in the fall.
"We are getting closer with our offensive line, but I want to see isthis group become more determined, and just go out and dominate, be a littlebit hostile, play with an attitude," Koenning said. "They need to developmore toughness, get themselves into an attack mode. They are starting to,there are signs. But I really want to see that come along. They need tocompletely take charge.
"I've been really pleased overall with our spring training," hesaid. "The way we have approached it in all areas has been very positive,right down to our new coaches. "I've been really pleased with our three newguys. They have been everything I thought they would be, and more. Theyhave been great additions."
There are some questions in the special teams areas since they havenot been areas of concentration during spring training. "We installed ourpunt teams during the first couple of weeks, and we have worked on extrapoints and field goals," Koenning said. "But we will not be set there untiltwo-a-days. It will be a major area of concentration in the fall."