Aug. 4, 2008
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowboys practiced for an hour and 20 minutes on Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium on Monday in their first practice of 2008 fall drills. A total of 103 players reported to fall camp on Sunday evening, Aug. 3 and went through the first practice starting at 4 p.m. on Monday under a beautiful, sunny sky in Laramie.
"This is really the transition between two different phases in preparation for our season," said Joe Glenn, University of Wyoming head football coach. "It's the completion of the summer conditioning program for our players and strength and conditioning coaches, who have put their hearts into running, lifting and conditioning throughout the summer. Physically, we're where we need to be heading into fall camp. I take my hat off to the strength coaches and the players. I believe we're stronger and more physical than we've ever been.
"Now we go on to the next phase of why we work so hard and why we recruit so hard -- it is the phase of starting to reap the benefits of what we've sewed in the weight room and on the recruiting trail. It's a high time for players and coaches.
"Of course I'm buoyed by the fact that this is one of the most experienced teams we've had here at Wyoming with 40 juniors and seniors returning. I think we have the athletes and the experience to have a successful season. We've got 26 days and a wakeup until we tee it up against the Ohio Bobcats."
The first week of 2008 fall drills will feature one afternoon practice per day. Media Day will be held on Friday, Aug. 8 from 10 a.m. to noon. Wyoming's first practice in full pads will also be on Friday, Aug. 8 at 3:15 p.m.
"The first few days are a learning period," said Glenn. "We can only wear helmets for the first couple of days due to NCAA rules. For the new players, it's getting used to practice, used to our drills and how we run practice. We start installing offense, defense and special teams right away, but teaching the young guys the basics -- where they line up, where they go for their position meetings, all those things play into the first couple of days.
"In regard to the new players, it's an exciting time for us as coaches to see what the new kids have `under the hood' so to speak. You get to see the fruits of your labor, and you never know their might be a couple of the newcomers who challenge for some playing time this season."
Position battles at quarterback, place-kicker and punter will be among the most closely-watched competitions early in fall drills.
Two scrimmages are planned during fall practice -- the first on Wednesday, Aug. 13 at 5 p.m. in War Memorial Stadium and the second on Wednesday, Aug. 20 also at 5 p.m. in War Memorial.
"We are of course pointing toward the two spring scrimmages," said Glenn. "We want to try and name a quarterback after that first scrimmage so we can start getting that individual the `lion's share' of the reps throughout the last two weeks leading up to our home opener.
"The quarterbacks are working hard and they're very, very competitive. But until we get a game-type scrimmage under their belts with bullets flying and all the factors that make it feel like a game we won't make an evaluation on who our starting quarterback will be heading into the season. Coming out of spring and entering the fall they were running neck and neck."
Entering Monday's practice virtually everyone on the roster was healthy. The few individuals who were limited included: sophomore punter Cody Bousema, a junior-college transfer from Ellsworth Community College in Iowa, who was out due to a lower left leg laceration; true freshman offensive lineman Jim Downs from Glenrock, Wyo., who was limited with a left shoulder injury; and true freshman linebacker Ben Durbin from Gilbert, Iowa, who suffered a left shoulder injury in the Iowa High School All-Star game this summer.
One veteran who was not available to practice on Monday was senior defensive tackle Anthony Wilson who is awaiting an academic eligibility ruling from the NCAA. It is hoped that ruling will come later this week.
The 2008 Wyoming roster has good balance with the seven returning defensive starters and nine returning offensive starters. There are also 21 returning lettermen on offense and 21 on defense, as well as two returning lettermen on special teams.
Leading the way are three individuals who earned preseason First Team All-MWC honors from Mountain West Conference media this summer. Senior inside linebacker Ward Dobbs, junior defensive tackle John Fletcher and senior Devin Moore were all named to the preseason All-Conference team. Moore was selected to the All-MWC team as a return specialist. He is Wyoming's returning starter at running back where he rushed for 965 yards in 2007. Dobbs enters his senior season with 242 career tackles, and needs only 17 more tackles to enter the Wyoming Career Top 10. Fletcher, who earned Second Team All-MWC honors as a sophomore in `07, has been named to the Outland Trophy Watch List this season.
Two corrections to the fall practice schedule that was originally released on Monday, July 28 include a 9:15 a.m practice on Tuesday, Aug. 19. That practice was originally scheduled for 10 a.m. On Friday, Aug. 22 their will be only one practice at 3:15 p.m., rather than two practices at 9:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. as originally released.
All fall practices for the Cowboys are scheduled for War Memorial Stadium and are open to the public.