July 30, 2014
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowboy Football team will begin preparations for the 2014 football season on Monday, Aug. 4 with a morning practice beginning at 9:30 a.m., followed by Media Day in the afternoon. Media will be hosted at a luncheon in Wildcatter Stadium Club & Suites beginning at 1 p.m., with interviews of Cowboy players and coaches taking place on Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium from 2-3 p.m.
Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl, who took over the Wyoming Football program last December, has a large senior class of 25 Cowboys to help him transition the Pokes into the type of football team he wants to build.
"We've got to be a much more hard-nosed, physical football team," said Bohl. "We've got to be able to control both sides of the line of scrimmage to really put our stamp on what type of team we want to be, and that's what we call `Cowboy Tough.'
"It's all a process in becoming a `Cowboy Tough' football team. It's not an easy process. We were pleased with our progress (in spring), but we're not content with where we're at.
"What do they say, `Offense sells tickets and defense wins championships,' there's a lot to be said for that. Our style of football has always been such that we're going to leverage our defense.
"This football team really wants to be good, and it's our job as coaches to show them how to be good and change the culture."
The first 30 minutes of practices will be open to media and the general public. Student-athletes and coaches will be available for interviews with the media after fall practices. The Cowboys will utilize War Memorial Stadium and the Indoor Practice Facility for fall drills.
The Cowboys will hold one fall scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 16. That will be a closed scrimmage.
A total of 17 starters return from last season -- six on offense, nine on defense and the starting place-kicker and punter. Among the top returnees are three Cowboys who have been named to preseason watch lists at their respective positions. Junior defensive end Eddie Yarbrough has been named to the Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List. Senior wide receiver Dominic Rufran was selected to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List for the second consecutive season, and senior defensive end/outside linebacker Sonny Puletasi has been named to the Butkus Award Watch List. Yarbrough also returns after earning First Team All-Mountain West Conference honors as a sophomore in 2013.
Of the nine returning starters on defense, six are seniors. Those six senior starters include two individuals, cornerback Blair Burns and defensive tackle Patrick Mertens, who have both started 30 or more games during their Wyoming careers. Burns leads all current Cowboys with 32 career starts, while Mertens ranks second among current Cowboys, having started 30 career games. Puletasi joins Mertens as the other returning senior starter on the defensive line. Puletasi has 21 career starts to his credit. The linebacking corps returns senior starters in middle linebacker Jordan Stanton (11 career starts) and outside linebacker Mark Nzeocha (19 starts). The sixth senior starter returning is free safety Darrenn White (14 starts). Stanton earned Honorable Mention All-Mountain West honors as a junior and ranked No. 3 in the nation in tackles in 2013, averaging 11.2 tackles per game. Two other senior linebackers return in Devyn Harris (18 career starts) and Alex Borgs. Borgs battled Stanton for the starting middle linebacker spot all throughout Spring Practice. Add to that group senior cornerback DeAndre Jones (6 starts) and you have an experienced senior class to lead the Cowboy defense.
Including honors candidate Rufran, who had 75 receptions for 960 receiving yards last season, Wyoming returns six starters on offense. Leading rusher and junior Shaun Wick (979 rushing yards) returns as does senior wideout Jalen Claiborne (33 catches for 452 yards), sophomore wide receiver Tanner Gentry (39 receptions for 376 yards), junior offensive guard Jake Jones (who has started every game of his career -- 24 straight) and senior offensive tackle Connor Rains (12 career starts). Those six are among 21 returning letterwinners on offense.
The Cowboys return another experienced group on special teams. Special teams returners include: starting place-kicker, senior Stuart Williams; starting punter, sophomore Ethan Wood; starting long snapper, sophomore Brendan Turelli; and starting holder, senior Sam Stratton.
Fans interested in purchasing tickets to 2014 Wyoming Cowboy Football games may go online the link above, may call the UW Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or 307-766-4850 or may stop by the ticket office on the east side of UW's Arena-Auditorium.
2014 University of Wyoming Football Fall Practice Schedule
Monday, Aug. 4 - 9:30 a.m. (Non-contact, Helmets, Practice #1) | 1-2 p.m. (Media Day Luncheon in Wildcatter Stadium Club & Suites) | 2-3 p.m. (Media Day Interviews on Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium)
Tuesday, Aug. 5 - 8:30 a.m. (Non-contact, Helmets Practice #2)
Wednesday, Aug. 6 - 8:30 a.m. (Shoulder Pads, Practice #3)
Thursday, Aug. 7 - 8:30 a.m. (Shoulder Pads, Practice #4)
Friday, Aug. 8 - 8:30 a.m. (Full Pads, Practice #5)
Saturday, Aug. 9 - 8:30 a.m. (Practice #6) | 3:30 p.m. (Practice #7)
Sunday, Aug. 10 - 2:45 p.m. (Practice #8)
Monday, Aug. 11 - 9 a.m. (Practice #9) | 3:50 p.m. (Practice #10)
Tuesday, Aug. 12 - 9:20 a.m. (Practice #11)
Wednesday, Aug. 13 - 9 a.m. (Practice #12) | 4 p.m. (Practice #13)
Thursday, Aug. 14 - 9:50 a.m. (Practice #14)
Friday, Aug. 15 - 9 a.m. (Practice #15) | 4:20 p.m. (Practice #16)
Saturday, Aug. 16 - 11 a.m. (Closed Scrimmage, Practice #17)
Sunday, Aug. 17 - No Practice
Monday, Aug. 18 - 8:20 a.m. (Practice #18) | 2:50 p.m. (Practice #19)
Tuesday, Aug. 19 - 9:20 a.m. (Practice #20)
Wednesday, Aug. 20 - 9:50 a.m. (Practice #21)
Thursday, Aug. 21 - 9:20 a.m. (Practice #22)
Friday, Aug. 22 - 9:20 a.m. (Practice #23)
Saturday, Aug. 23 - 11 a.m. (Practice #24)
Monday, Aug. 25 - First Weekly Press Conference at Noon