Aug. 6, 2004
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The "Fun is Back" for the University of Wyoming Football program and it's fans, as the Cowboys begin practice for the upcoming 2004 season on Wednesday, Aug. 11. Wednesday's practice will begin at 3:00 p.m. at the North Forty Practice Fields on the UW campus.
Second-year Wyoming head football coach Joe Glenn will welcome back 38 letterwinners (16 on offense, 19 on defense and three special-team performers) and 13 starters (six on offense, six on defense and one special-teams member). The Cowboys are coming off an exciting 2003 season that restored the "fun" in Cowboy Football with big home wins over rivals Colorado State and Brigham Young.
Leading the way among the returnees are senior center Trenton Franz and senior defensive tackle Zach Morris. Both were among only 57 players nationally named to the Outland Trophy Preseason Watch List. The Outland Trophy honors the top interior lineman in the nation at the conclusion of each season. The award is voted on by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). Morris was also named to the Bronko Nagurski Award Preseason Watch List. He was one of only 60 players across the nation to be named to that prestigious list. The Nagurski Award honors the top defensive player in the nation each season regardless of position, and is also selected by the FWAA.
UW head football coach Joe Glenn reflected his usual enthusiasm when asked about the start of practice.
"I'm really excited about getting started," said Glenn. "I know our kids who stayed here this summer have paid the price and put in the effort to make themselves stronger and get in the best possible condition they can as we get ready for practice.
"All of our coaches are back, and we're eons ahead of where we were last year at this time. Our coaches and players know each other so much better heading into this season. The players know what to expect from the coaches and the coaches know our personnel so much better.
"I see a gleam in the eyes of those players who have stopped by the office this summer to talk about the upcoming season. That tells me they are as excited as I am to get this season going."
All players will report on Tuesday, Aug. 10 and spend that day undergoing physicals and attending administrative meetings. The first practice is scheduled for Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. at the North Forty. The first two practices on Wednesday and Thursday will be conducted in just helmets and shorts, with no contact. Friday's and Saturday's practices will add shoulder pads, and the first practice with full pads is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 15 at 9:30 a.m.
Two scrimmages are scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 21 and Thursday, Aug. 26. Both scrimmages are tentatively planned for War Memorial Stadium. The Aug. 21 scrimmage is scheduled to kick off at 10:00 a.m., with the scrimmage on Aug. 26 to begin at 9:00 a.m.
Only three players will be severely limited due to injuries when fall drills begin next week. Senior tight end Chris Cox tore a ligament in his left thumb on July 22 and had surgery to repair it on July 26. He will enter next week's practices with a cast on that thumb. Jay McNeal, last year's starting strong safety, is still recovering from off-season knee surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. McNeal tore the ACL in the final scrimmage of last spring (April 24). His rehabilitation is progressing nicely, but he is not expected to be ready by the start of the 2004 season. A third senior, defensive end Anthony Jones, continues to rehab from off-season surgery on a dislocated right ankle and fracture to that same ankle, which he suffered last December.
Prior to the beginning of practices next week, the Cowboy coaching staff will host over 40 high school seniors and their families from across the country for a "Senior Day" on Sunday, Aug. 8. The day involves unofficial recruiting visits by the potential Wyoming recruits. The players pay their own way to Laramie for unofficial visits that give the high school student-athletes an opportunity to meet the coaches, players and UW administrators, as well as take a tour of campus. The young men will also hear an on-campus presentation by UW President Philip L. Dubois during their visit.
All Wyoming Football practices are open to the public.