Aug. 4, 2011
The Wyoming Cowboys took the field for the first time this fall, practicing for two hours on Thursday in Wyoming's Indoor Practice Facility. Thursday's practice was originally scheduled for War Memorial Stadium, but mid-afternoon showers and a threat of lightning forced the Cowboys inside.
Following practice head coach Dave Christensen met with the media to evaluate what he saw on his team's first day.
"I think our athleticism really showed up today," said Christensen. "We obviously have a long way to go, but I was pleased with the tempo we practiced at today. I got a chance to see a lot of the young guys for the first time, and there is a lot of promise there.
"Our veterans have had a tremendous offseason, and I think their leadership showed in their practice habits today. We are a relative young team, I think we have 60 or so kids who are sophomores or younger, so we have a number of young players -- not just freshmen -- who we need to have good camps.
"My first impressions for the first day, were positive, but it's certainly easier to see where players are at when you start putting on pads. We will be able to tell a lot more after Monday."
When asked what his goals were for the first few days of fall camp, Christensen said, "We first have to teach the young players how we want to practice. We have a certain way we practice, with speed and intensity from the first time we cross the line coming on the field to the time we leave."
Christensen was also asked to share his impressions of the young quarterbacks on day one of fall camp.
"They all did good and bad things," said Christensen. "It's too early to make a judgment on them now. They all had some nice completions, and they had some incompletions. We'll have to watch the video from practice to get a better evaluation."
Entering his third year as head coach at Wyoming, Christensen has mentioned on more than one occasion the fact that he likes the depth on his 2011 squad.
"I think we have enough players in the program now that we will have competition at virtually every position on the team, which is great because we haven't had that luxury since I've been here" said Christensen. "The more depth you have, with quality players, the more it forces guys to perform at their best every practice."
One of the biggest additions Christensen made in the offseason was to bring in veteran offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon, who was one of the original architects of the spread offense.
"Obviously having his (Gregg's) experience and knowledge of this offense is huge," Christensen said. "He's one of the creators of this offense, and his knowledge will no doubt benefit our kids. But no matter how much Gregg knows or I know about the offense, what matters is how much our players can learn and how much we can teach them that will make the difference on Sept. 3 when we open the season."
Another position that will be watched closely in fall camp is at receiver.
"There are a lot of players with experience in our receiving corps," said the third-year head coach. "There are a number of experienced guys, who played well today. We have some younger guys who performed well today, and we have some new guys that showed some flashes. I'm excited about the receiving group. We have more players there than I've had in my three short years here. We probably have 10 guys who will be fighting for eight spots in the rotation."
Another topic that Christensen has been pleased with throughout spring practice and summer conditioning is the leadership among this year's upperclassmen.
"We've got as good a leadership this year as we've ever had," added Christensen. "They've done a tremendous job. They're chomping at the bit to do everything they can to be the best team they can be and to have a great season."
On Friday, the Pokes will conduct their second practice beginning at 8:45 a.m. and concluding at about 10:45 a.m. They will once again practice 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 are open for the first 30 minutes to media and then closed after that period.
The Cowboys will conduct four fall scrimmages. All of the scrimmages will be open to the media and the general public. The first scrimmage will be Tuesday, Aug. 9 at 8:45 a.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.