Wyoming Cowboys Open Fall Camp on Thursday

Aug. 2, 2011

Laramie, Wyo. -

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Preparation for the 2011 college football season will kick into high gear for the Wyoming Cowboys on Thursday, Aug. 4 when Wyoming will hold its first fall practice at 3:05 p.m. Thursday's practice will be the first of 27 scheduled fall practices leading up to Wyoming's season opener on Saturday, Sept. 3 versus Weber State.

The first practice will be in helmets only, with no pads, to conform with NCAA rules requiring an acclimation period prior to teams progressing into full-padded practices. The first full-padded practice is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 8.

Practices will be open for the first 30 minutes to media and then closed after that period. All fall scrimmages will be open to the media and the general public.

"Our team has had an excellent and productive offseason," said Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen. "The team improved in all of our measurables in the weight room and in summer conditioning. We have improved depth across our roster, and have definitely improved our talent pool. The improved talent on our team should result in increased competition at all positions."

The Cowboys are scheduled to report back to campus on Wednesday, Aug. 3. Among the items on their schedule the first day are player physicals, meetings on NCAA rules, a meeting for first-year players and a team dinner.

The first week of 2011 fall drills will feature one practice per day. Friday's and Saturday's practices will be at 8:45 a.m.

One thing that will change this fall from a year ago is moving scrimmages earlier in fall camp and adding a fourth fall scrimmage.

"We will have four scrimmages this year rather than three, and our first scrimmage is earlier (Tuesday, Aug. 9)," said Christensen. "I felt like we didn't get enough live tackling in fall camp last year, so we wanted to increase the number of live scrimmage reps by 40-50 plays per player this fall.

"Also, because we have two young quarterbacks, we want to put them in live situations earlier in camp so that we have more time to evaluate them and we want to give them more total scrimmage reps to be able to better evaluate their performances. We will give the quarterbacks an equal number of reps early in fall camp to give them an equal opportunity to show us what they can do."

A total of 36 lettermen, including 16 starters return from last year. There are 33 other squadmen returning and 25 new recruits expected to begin practice on Thursday. Wyoming's four scheduled scrimmages of the fall will be in War Memorial Stadium. The planned dates for those scrimmages are: Tuesday, Aug. 9 at 8:45 a.m.; Friday, Aug. 12 at 8:45 a.m.; Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 8:45 a.m.; and Saturday, Aug. 20 at 10 a.m.

In addition to quarterback, Christensen said that competition at offensive line and wide receiver would be two other areas that would involve some key competition throughout fall camp.

The Cowboys will begin practice this week with only a few injured players. Junior running back Ghaali Muhammad and sophomore tight end T.J. Smith are expected to be limited in the first week of fall drills, but are hoped to be able to go at full speed after that. Redshirt freshman offensive tackle Daniel Fleischman will likely be limited throughout fall camp with the hope that he may be back at full speed in September. Sophomore defensive tackle Patrick Mertens is expected to miss all of the 2011 season due to an illness that he has been dealing with all summer.

Media Day will be held on Saturday, Aug. 6, beginning at noon with lunch for media members in the Wildcatter Stadium Club & Suites. Lunch will be followed by media interviews with players and coaches on Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium, beginning at 1 p.m.

Ticket information for the 2011 Wyoming Football season can be found at: www.WyomingAthletics.com. or by calling the UW Athletics Ticket Office toll free at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or 307-766-4850. For the complete fall practice schedule, click on the link above.