Aug. 11, 2005
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
It's not often than one has a "love-at-first-sight" experience.
Joe Glenn is an exception to that. In fact, he has been lucky enough to have two such experiences. His first came when he met Michele Chrestensen. She would later become his lovely wife. The second came on Wednesday when he practiced his Wyoming Cowboys on the new surface of Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium.
"There's no question, I love it," the head man said Thursday prior to his team's third practice of fall camp. "Magnificant, incredible, terrific, all of the above, that's how I feel about it. It is a flat miracle.
"We're talking about the most modern field in the world," he continued. "It's the finest that technology has to offer. We consider ourselves extremely lucky, and so appreciative of what has happened. To a man, our kids love it."
The new surface passed its first test on Wednesday with flying colors. There was rain through most of the Cowboys' practice. In fact, the rains fell for nearly two hours of the workout.
"Two hours of rain, and no slips, no mud and no torn up turf," Glenn said. "It passed its first test with an A-plus."
The surface itself is certainly not the only aspect of Jonah Field that Glenn loves. Not only does it provide a safer, better surface, but it offers optimum filming opportunities for practice, both end zone and sideline, while allowing the Cowboys to practice on their game field. "You can't minimize how important it is to people like the quarterbacks, receivers, kickers, and kick returners to work daily in the game-day environment. It gives them a great comfort level to practice on the game field."
"The footing is terrific," quarterback Corey Bramlet said before practice on Thursday. "I have noticed that the receivers are cutting and planting really well. The hashes and sidelines are extra sharp. It is a big deal to be able to practice on the game field every day. We couldn't be happier with it, and thank everyone who made it possible."
"It's great," said junior offensive tackle Chase Johnson, "and no more playing on a parking lot during the November games."
Officially known as the Desso Challenge Pro 60 Monofilament Synthetic Turf System, the new surface is equipped with artificial grass fibres specifically developed for football. The turf was developed by DESSO DLW Sports Systems of Dendermonde, Belgium. American Civil Constructors, Inc. (ACC) of Littleton, Colo., handled the installation. Cost of the entire project is $900,000.
The fibre replicates the shape and structure of natural grass so that it wears horizontally rather than vertically. Consequently it retains the same shape and structure throughout its life. Just like the structure of natural grass, the monofilament turf's ribbed structure ensures that the fibres return to their original shape and position after use.
In addition to its Belgium location, Desso has offices in Germany (Stuffgart), the Netherlands (Oss), Great Britain (London), Spain (Madrid), Italy (Milan) and France (Paris).
With just a couple of practices days to evaluate, Glenn has some very favorable early impressions of his team. "We're excited about our new freshmen and transfers," he said. "They seem to be everything we thought they would be when we recruited them, and more."
Besides the obvious names like Jovon Bouknight (senior receiver), Corey Bramlet (senior quarterback), John Wendling (junior safety), Derrick Martin (junior cornerback), or Deric Yaussi, (senior kicker), there have been a number of Cowboys who have already caught the coaches' collective eye, according to Glenn.
"It's early, we haven't had the pads on, and all that, but there are guys who are still catching our eye with the way they are going about their business," Glenn said. "Sean Claffey (sophomore linebacker) is out there doing everything right. Julius Stinson (sophomore cornerback) has been making plays."
"While it's still by committee, I like the attitude of our young running backs," he said. "Wynel (redshirt freshman Seldon), the Moores (redshirt freshman Devin and true freshman J.R.), Alex Renshaw (junior), Monty Brunk (junior) and Jimmy DeAndrea (freshman) are receiving a lot of evaluation. We are analyzing every step they take," Glenn said with a smile. "When we get going, there will be some very spirited competition at that position."
The Cowboys breathed a sigh of relief on Thursday when tests revealed that sophomore tight end Wade Betschart suffered a knee bruise during practice rather than cartilage damage as initially suspected. He should return to practice early next week, according to Glenn.
Wyoming will begin fully-padded practice on Saturday. The Pokes' first two-a-day session of fall camp will be Monday.