Cowboys Begin Padded Practices Wednesday

Aug. 13, 2002


Wyoming enters the padded phase of pre-season football practice on Wednesday ahead of schedule, according to Head Coach Vic Koenning.

Wednesday's two-a-day session will be the seventh and eighth practices of the pre-season as the Cowboys prepare for their season opener Aug. 31, against Tennessee at The Coliseum in Nashville.

"We've had an outstanding first three days," Koenning said between practices on Tuesday. "It's more fun out there primarily because of our numbers. We have more guys on the field with a lot of enthusiasm.

"We've been able to move pretty fast which is a credit to the players."
Head Coach Vic Koenning

Our numbers are a very positive thing by itself. There is a good, positive attitude, and we have a bunch of guys working to get things done. The attitude is not `having to do something, but getting to do something'. That positive situation is coming from the older players, the leadership of this team. It's a very healthy attitude, and it comes from maturity. Our practices run much more efficiently, because of that maturity.

Koenning indicated that about 25 percent of the offense and defense has been installed thus far. He said that by Saturday's first major scrimmage the team will know approximately 75 percent of the offense and defense.

"We've been able to move pretty fast which is a credit to the players," Koenning said. "The carry-over from spring training has been outstanding. That's another indication of the maturity of this team. A lot of these guys kept themselves mentally into football during the summer.

"It is difficult for the new players no question," Koenning continued. "It's a great challenge for them psychologically. That doesn't mean that there haven't been some standouts."

Koenning, who is entering his third season as head coach, said that a pair of young receivers, Josh Barge (Fr., Blue Springs, Mo.) and Jarreau Grant (Fr., Dallas, Tex.) have been standouts. "I think both of those young men have a great future. Both have been able to handle the mental strain, and make outstanding plays."

He also said that junior college running back Brandy Russell (Jr., Los Angeles, Calif.) appeared more comfortable during Tuesday's session.

The Cowboys are without the services of tight end Marshall Schaap (Jr., Ocala, Fla.) who entered fall practice as number one at his position. Schaap has not practiced due to tendonites in his right knee. He is sidelined for an indefinite amount of time. The remaining tight ends have stepped up, especially Chris Cox (So., Tulsa, Oka.), Scott Sorensen (Sr., Grand Junction, Colo.) and Aaron Robbins (Fr., Aurora, Colo.). "Cox worked very hard through spring ball, and hascarried that to fall practice," Koenning said. "But Sorensen and Robbins have been working their tails off as well."

There have been a couple of position changes thus far during fall practice. Drew Severn (RFr., Glendale, Ariz.) has moved from the defensive side of the ball to right guard, and Leonard Jones has been switched from receiver to running back, and David Gough (So., Rapid City, S.D.) has moved from offensive tackle to defensive tackle.

Wednesday's practice will be more difficult than the afternoon session, Koenning said, "We'll try to maintain that situation.

Fall practice is where things really get going. Yes, we have been enthusiastic and things have gone well. But we will find out more once they start lugging those pads around for a couple days.

Koenning indicated that his team would practice twice per day this week leading up to a major scrimmage on Saturday. "We have to get over a couple of nagging injuries (Scottie Vines,Sr., Alexander City, Ala., dislocated finger,Dan Fisher, RFr., offensive tackle, knee, and Marshall Schaap, knee), but knock-on-wood we are in good shape."