Koenning Pleased with First Day in Pads

Aug. 14, 2002

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

Vic Koenning had a big smile on his face following Wyoming's first full-pad day of fall pre-season football camp.

The Cowboys had a spirited practice in the morning and a lighter afternoon session focusing on special teams.

"They did a good job today," Koenning said. "These guys are having a great time playing football right now and that's fun to see. I was very pleased with the effort, and the enthisiasm. We wanted to make sure that even though they had on all the gear that we maintained our tempo of the first two days. They did a good job of that. Players always seem to have a little bit different personality when they put on the pads, but they had their usual enthusiasm, and there didn't seem to be any drop in speed or intensity."

Wednesday morning's practice called for more team periods than the previous two days, according to Koenning. "We wanted to get some things on tape. We also got our first look at the goal-line package for tape."We also looked at some red zone--that's what the defense calls it--or scoring zone--that's what the offense calls it--to get some of that on film," he said.

Koenning said that each position is up for grabs at this point, but not much has changed since the spring two-deep. "Ryan Calahan (Sr., Morrill, Neb.) has stepped up and is challenging at boundary corner, and Tom Vincent (Jr., Riverton, Wyo.) has really had a great camp at strong safety," he said. "We've been really happy with Brandon Casavan (RJr., Grand Forks, N.D.) and Jacob Bonde (So., Greenwood Village, Colo.) along the defensive front. Both of those guys are having great camps. In fact, the defensive line as a whole did a much better job with the pass rush today."

A huge key to the Cowboy offense will be the running game, and Koenning said he saw some improvement there during the first day of full pads. "We ran the ball much better today," he said. "I thought the offensive line came out and improved today, especially that second outfit. All four running backs we have right now--Kit Bradshaw (So., Evergreen, Colo.), C.R. Davis (RFr., Phoenix, Ariz.), Brandy Russell (Jr., Los Angeles) and Leonard Jones (Jr., Denver)--ran better today. That is so important for us. Junior Derek Armah (Jr., Lawnside, N.J.) remains on suspension."

According to the head coach, the Cowboys will experience their first major scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday morning in War Memorial Stadium. "There are 17 days before the opener, so obviously Saturday's scrimmage will be critical. It may be the only major one we have. We need to use it to get some rust off, to get better at being more relaxed when we get into the stadium under some pressure. We are going to work on our depth during the scrimmage, and we are going to take a hard look at the special teams. But I want to see enthusiasm, and great emotion."

The Cowboys will continue their two-a-day schedule Thursday. "We want to get the heavy work in the morning and the lighter one in the afternoon to avoid weather issues," Koenning said. "We are right on schedule at this point, and very pleased with what we are seeing."

Cowboy Notes: Junior college linebacker Ryan Zodda (Scottsdale, Ariz.) has left the program for personal reasons, Vic Koenning announced Wednesday. Koenning said he was not sure of Zodda's future plan. A couple of Cowboys were injured during Wyoming's first day in pads. Cornerbacks Chad White (RFr., Grapevine, Tex.), and Chris Dixon (Jr., Jackson, Miss.) are both sidelined with hamstring strains. They are day-to-day.