July 31, 2007
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The 2007 College Football season is fast approaching, and practice for the Wyoming Cowboys kicks off this coming Monday, Aug. 6 with a 4:00 p.m. practice on Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium.
Head Coach Joe Glenn and his coaching staff are entering their fifth season at Wyoming. A year ago, the Cowboys finished in a tie for third place in the Mountain West Conference -- their highest finish since joining the MWC in 1999. Wyoming also finished the season strong, winning five of its last seven games to post a 6-6 overall record, 5-3 in conference play and earn bowl eligibility for the second time in the four seasons under Glenn.
The first week of 2007 fall drills will feature one afternoon practice per day. Media Day will be held on Friday, Aug. 10 from 10 a.m. to noon. Wyoming's first practice in full pads will be Saturday, Aug. 11 at 3:15 p.m. Two scrimmages are planned during fall practice -- the first on Wednesday, Aug. 15 at 5 p.m. in War Memorial Stadium and the second on Wednesday, Aug. 22 also at 5 p.m. in War Memorial.
Glenn enters fall practice thrilled with the effort his players put forth during summer conditioning and excited about their attitude entering the fall.
"This is the most excited I've seen our kids to start practice since I've been here," said Glenn. "We had about 90 percent of our kids stay here for summer conditioning. I'm pleased to report that our new strength coach, Brian Herzog, and his crew did a sensational job. To a man, our student-athletes told me that this summer was the hardest they had ever worked in conditioning and strength training. We hope that effort pays dividends."
A total of 13 starters and 43 of 63 lettermen return from last year's squad. Included in those individuals are three who earned preseason First Team All-MWC honors from Mountain West Conference media earlier this month. Senior tight end/h-back Wade Betschart, senior cornerback Julius Stinson and junior inside linebacker Ward Dobbs were all named to the preseason All-Conference team.
Among the other key returners are sophomore quarterback Karsten Sween, who earned Honorable Mention Freshman All-America honors from the Sporting News at the conclusion of the 2006 season. Sween won five of his seven starts last season, including wins: over New Mexico (14-10) on the road in his first collegiate start, at home against Utah (31-15) and at home over archrival Colorado State (24-0).
"Coming off of last year, we feel so good about the way Karsten (Sween) led us to five wins, and showed maturity beyond his years as only a redshirt freshman," said Glenn. "Karsten not only provided great leadership, but he showed a toughness and a competitiveness that you love to see in a quarterback.
"We have thunder and lightning in the backfield with Wynel Seldon and Devin Moore returning at running back. Devin was one of our leaders in summer conditioning. He benched 390 pounds and ran a sub-4.4 in the 40-yard dash. Wade Betschart was one of our seniors who really provided our team with outstanding leadership in the summer. He's a blue-collar guy, and is as tough a football player as there is."
Wyoming's defense returns five starters from a unit that ranked No. 9 in the nation in total defense and No. 8 in pass defense in 2006. Joining preseason All-Conference picks Dobbs and Stinson as returning starters are senior cornerback Michael Medina and senior linebackers Luke Chase and Sean Claffey.
"There is no question that our linebacker corps is as good as we've ever had as a coaching staff," said Glenn. "We have some standout individuals and some really good depth -- plus we signed as good a freshman class of linebackers as I can remember. It is without a doubt the strength of our defense. Another strength, to go with our linebackers, is our tandem at cornerback. Seniors Michael Medina and Julius Stinson are seasoned, veteran starters. They can do it all -- cover, provide run support, make big plays -- and I believe they are both primed for a banner year."
The two areas of the Cowboy depth chart that are less experienced entering the `07 campaign are the offensive and defensive lines. Junior starters Tim Bond (center) and Kyle Howard (right tackle) will lead a group of inexperienced but talented offensive linemen. The defensive front will start three sophomores who saw action last year in John Fletcher (defensive tackle), Fred Givens (noseguard) and Mitch Unrein (defensive end).
"Both the offensive line and defensive lines are critical in the game of football," said Glenn. "You can't do much without those big guys up front. Even though our three projected starters on the defensive line weren't starters last year, they all three saw lots of action the way we rotate defensive linemen. On the O-line, Bond and Howard are experienced starters. Sophomore Russ Arnold got some starts last season. Ryan Otterson, another sophomore, finished the season playing a lot in the UNLV game, but after that the rest of the group are redshirt freshmen, who are talented but need to get some game experience under their belts."
Wyoming returns one of the nation's best punters in senior Billy Vinnedge. Vinnedge ranked 21st in the country in punting a year ago. He and sophomore Jake Scott will compete for the place-kicking duties.