August 10, 1999
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Dana Dimel's third season at Wyoming officially begins Wednesday when Cowboy rookies report to pre-fall camp Wednesday evening.
A total of 31 new faces are expected, although three--linebacker Curtis Staley, receiver Dustin Ralph and running back Derek Armah--will not be in camp for the first day. Of that list 21 are scholarship players, the remainder are walk-ons. Included among the group will be five junior college players.
According to Dimel, the new group will practice twice on Thursday, and twice on Friday. The varsity reports for the evening meal on Saturday, and practice for the entire squad is scheduled for Sunday afternoon.
Dimel indicated there will be some main areas of emphasis for the newcomer sessions. "I'm not one to use these practices simply as orientation for freshmen," he said. "We know we have some main areas we're looking for help in, and we're hoping that some of these new players can help in those areas.
"We're looking at some guys for our secondary," Dimel continued. "We have two junior college corners--Jean Dugas and Lamar James--and two high school defensive backs--Jacque Finn and John Levingston, who could possibly help us. We'll also take a look at Nate Scott as a possible super back. We'll also look at a couple of defensive linemen who could be possibilities, Tam Pruitt and Justin Scott. We are certainly looking at, and evaluating everybody, but those areas are where are needs are. That's why preseason practices vary from year to year depending upon your needs."
According to Dimel, as a squad the Cowboys will enter fall practice a bigger and stronger outfit than last year. "We had 60 guys stay here through the summer, and I was very pleased how hard they got after it. I think we have more maturity on this team than maybe our previous teams. They have a good understanding of how they can get better, and what it's going to take to be successful. A lot of that comes from maturity"
While on the subject of maturity, Dimel announced the captains for the 1999 season. By vote of the team, the defensive captains are end Brian Van Emmerik, corner Robbie Duncan, and linebacker Jared Jarnagin. On offense the squad picked receiver Wendell Montgomery and offensive guard Dan Delcorio. Dimel said that he would name a special teams captain, for the year, prior to the Tennessee game.
"I think these are great selections," Dimel said of the '99 captains. "They're all special young men, and the team recognized that. These are good football players, good students, and good people. The team is in good hands with these individuals leading the way."
Due to the number of veterans on the 1999 Cowboys, Dimel said the early practices will be "advanced". In fact, he indicated that within the first week of fall camp, the team is scheduled to scrimmage twice. "When everyone reports, we will have three weeks before we tee it up at Tennessee," Dimel said. "Fortunately we have enough experience on this team that we can get things going right away. That experience allows us to have more intense practices earlier. By Aug. 25, we hope to have everything in on both sides of the ball.
"We also plan to hit less than we did our last two years. We really want to go into that first one fresh."
What is Dimel's biggest concern going into the fall? "Right now I would have to say punting is a concern" Dimel said. "I know our guys worked on it a lot during the summer, and we will place a lot of emphasis on it during the fall. We may even look at a newcomer or two at that spot." Heading into fall practice, the odds-on favorites to do the punting chores are Tom Waring and Matt Swanson.
The Cowboys will begin two-a-day practices on Monday (Aug. 16). Media Day is scheduled for Thursday (Aug. 19). The team will scrimmage that morning, take care of photos and media in the early afternoon, and practice that evening. Wyoming opens the season Sept. 4, at Tennessee.