Aug. 13, 2003
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
After 10 practices and a couple of two-a-day sessions, the Wyoming Cowboys have their new head coach smiling.
Not like he isn't always smiling anyway, but Wyoming's new head coach is very happy with how well his first fall camp in the high country has progressed.
After a week of work, the new head man has seen enough to make a solid evaluation of his Cowboys. Not surprisingly, one of the most positive men in Wyoming is very pleased with what he has seen.
"We've now had some time to be with these guys, and we're getting to know what they are all about," Glenn said as his team finished up their second two-a-day session of camp Wednesday. "I can tell you this, these kids have a great attitude, they are hungry and want to win, and they take coaching very well.
"Our coaches have been putting the pedal to the metal, charging hard, and the kids have responded. I think we have made a lot of progress. Naturally there is still much to be done. We won't have the real measuring stick until Aug. 30 (season-opener with Montana State at War Memorial Stadium)."
Glenn inherited a team that had won five games in three seasons, and he had heard the usual horror stories.
"Sure, I had heard all kinds of stories about the program, and the kids," Glenn said. "But here's what I have encountered. For us, these kids have been nothing but winners. They have been successful during winter conditioning, during spring training, during their summer training, and now in fall camp. We have challenged them, and they have done everything we've asked.
"No, there's no scoreboard yet, there's no numbers up there. But all I've seen since I've been here is a bunch of kids trying to win. We're not ready yet, but we have a lot of practice time to get ready. With what they have shown, we have a lot of confidence in them. I can tell you we will compete, and I can tell you we have some talented kids. We might be a little bit of a surprise to this league."
Glenn and his staff had some very definite concerns going into the fall, especially the secondary and parts of the kicking game. Glenn has seen outstanding improvement in both areas.
"We worried about the secondary, especially after a couple of veterans (Armand Woodson, Nate Young) left the team. But we have had some veterans really come through to help us."
Glenn singled out cornerbacks Chris Dixon (senior, Jackson, Miss.), and Leonard Jones (senior, Denver) and safties Jay McNeal (junior, Tallahassee, Fla.), Jacque Finn (senior, Casper) and Tom Vincent (senior, Rivereton) for taking charge. "The secondary has been a lot stronger than we thought it would be. I know Mike (defensive coordinator and secondary coach Breske) feels good about the tempo.
"We've also had some newcomers come on very well for us. We really like what Terrance Butler (sophomore transfer, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Derrick Martin (freshman, Westminster, Colo.), and Terrell Vinson (freshman, Irvine, Calif.,) have brought to us. They are very athletic, and all three could see a good deal of playing time.
"Our first real test for these guys will be Saturday's scrimmage (10:30 a.m. in War Memorial Stadium). I believe we will see play from our secondary that will give us reason to believe."
There is an excellent battle in the place-kicking area, according to the head coach. That competition is between two sophomores Deric Yaussi ( Fort Collins, Colo.) and Scott Parker (Littleton, Colo.). Glenn said to this point in fall camp, Yaussi is the front-runner, but it's very close. "If we had to play tomorrow, Deric would be our guy. He has made 84 percent of his kicks, and Scott has converted on 75 percent of his. The kicking game has been solid. We just haven't done it for real yet."
Glenn said the kickoff chores would be handled by punter Luke Donovan (senior, Spearfish, S.D.). Donovan, by the way, is having an outstanding camp punting the ball. He should be as good as any in the league.
The situation has improved at tight end, another area of concern. Aaron Robbins (sophomore, Aurora, Colo.) is healthy, and playing well. Marshall Schaap (junior, Ocala, Fla.) also has returned to health, and has really helped. Chris Cox (junior, Tulsa, Okla.) has shown marked improvement, and newcomer Spencer Miller (freshman, Hampton, Ga.) is making strides.
"I think everybody knows I'm never not going to be optimistic," Glenn said. "But I'm pleased where we are. (Quarterback Casey) Bramlet is so ready. I have a great deal of confidence in him. Our receivers, like (Ryan) McGuffey and (Malcolm) Floyd have shown they are big time guys. We are working to get eight solid guys up front in that offensive line, and feel good about where they are. The two young tackles--Dan Fisher (sophomore, Gering, Neb.) and Chase Johnson (redshirt freshman, Loveland, Colo.)--are playing well.
"Our defensive line is healthy, and getting better, and we like our linebackers. (Randy) Tscharner (junior, Calistoga, Calif.,) must get back on the field for us at middle linebacker (stitches in his head), and that will really help.
"Our frustration, and this is just the way it is this time of year is that some of our front-line guys are on the sideline with various injuries. Nothing serious, just the kind of things that keep a guy out of practice. It's nobody's fault, it just happens."
Glenn said that Saturday's 10:30 a.m. scrimmage in the Stadium will be as close to game-like as possible. "We really haven't moved the chains thus far in practice. We want to do that on Saturday, and in the next couple of weeks. We will have officials, and we will work on calling and signaling in plays. We probably will go about 75 plays.
"There are still jobs to be won, and that's what makes our scrimmages so important."
*Thursday's single practice has been moved from the morning to the afternoon. It will begin at 3:30. The reason? Head Coach Joe Glenn is attending the Front Range Kickoff Luncheon in Denver which features he, Air Force's Fisher DeBerry and Colorado State's Sonny Lubick.
*The head coach said that the Cowboys will vote for their captains when fall camp is completed.
*Most of the injuries that have sidelined players for various periods of time thus far are muscle pulls, according to Athletic Trainer Robb Williams.