LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Friday saw the Wyoming Cowboy Football team practice in full pads for the first time in fall camp. The Pokes held a spirited two and one half hour practice on the grass practice field south of War Memorial Stadium. The practice saw the No. 1 and No. 2 units go against one another in 11-on-11 situations for much of the practice. Due to it being the first day in full pads, the contact was limited to ‘thudding up’, meaning players were hit but not taken to the ground.
Following Friday’s practice, head coach Craig Bohl made the following comments about the morning practice.
“Today’s first full-padded practice came at the end of a pretty robust first week of fall camp,” said Bohl. “I thought we had really good competition today.
“Unfortunately, we had several injuries during the course of today’s practice. None of them were season-ending type injuries, but we had Jake Maulhardt (junior wide receiver) and Nico Evans (redshirt freshman running back) pull hamstrings. We had another three or so guys who missed time due to the heat or due to light concussions – those guys will be evaluated later today.”
Among the other players who missed practice time on Friday were: redshirt freshmen tight end Tyree Mayfield, who missed part of practice with a pulled hamstring he suffered on Thursday. Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Sidney Malauulu attended Friday’s practice but didn’t participate as a precaution after suffering a hit to the head on Thursday.
One of the real bright spots on Friday came from junior wide receiver Tanner Gentry, who made several impressive catches. Gentry is Wyoming’s leading returning receiver, having caught 32 passes for 435 yards and two touchdowns as a sophomore in the 2014 season.
“Tanner (Gentry) has had a really good fall camp,” said Bohl. “He worked hard in the offseason to get bigger and stronger and faster. He’s running his routes with more confidence. I think our quarterbacks are also doing a good job of getting the ball to him. The routes that we have in our offense are precision routes, and Tanner has done a good job of working on those.”
When asked about other players who performed well on Friday Bohl said, “Brian Hill also stood out today. Brian has had a really good fall camp. He keeps on making a lot of big plays and continues to compete hard.”
As a true freshman in 2014, Hill came on late in the season to take over for an injured Shaun Wick. Hill led Wyoming with 796 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns. He was named the Walter Camp Football Foundation National Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in a 45-17 road win at Fresno State. In that game, Hill rushed for 281 yards and had 106 receiving yards for 387 all-purpose yards. He and Wick, who is a senior this year, will form a very potent rushing tandem in 2015.
Updated body weights for the Cowboys were also released on Friday. Some of the more impressive gains by players during summer conditioning workouts included: redshirt freshman defensive tackle Malauulu, going from 288 to 300 pounds; sophomore freshman defensive end Skylor Clinton (225 to 235); sophomore defensive end Seth Edeen (203 to 215); nose tackle Dalton Fields (259 to 274); freshman defensive end Carl Granderson (185 to 200); sophomore Tim Kamana, who is moving from safety to linebacker, went from 196 to 206 pounds; junior linebacker Devin McKenna (215 to 225); freshman safety Logan Wilson (185 to 206); freshman middle linebacker Jaylon Watson (215 to 237); freshman safety Andrew Wingard (175 to 194); sophomore offensive tackle Ryan Cummings (301 to 314); freshman offensive guard Kaden Jackson (265 to 277); redshirt freshman offensive tackle Brinkley Jolly (265 to 282); junior fullback Jordan Ellis (226 to 239); redshirt freshman quarterback Nick Smith (221 to 233); sophomore running back Joshua Tapscott (205 to 213); junior wide receiver Maulhardt (205 to 216); freshman wide receiver James Price (180 to 208); freshman tight end Josh Harshman (200 to 207); and junior tight end Jacob Hollister (224 to 230).
“We’ve had a broad-based improvement in terms of our players’ lean muscle mass,” said Bohl. “We believe that is going to have a significant impact on our productivity this coming season. Those pounds that were put on were by and large really, really good pounds, and those aren’t easy to put on. It takes a strong commitment from our players to do that, and it takes the skills of our strength and conditioning staff to put that weight on our players the right way.”
Another note from Friday’s practice was the arrival of the Cowboys’ returning starter at punter, junior Ethan Wood, who joined fall camp for the first time on Friday. Wood averaged 41.4 yards per punt a year ago as a sophomore. He has started 24 consecutive games at punter for UW the past two seasons. NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams are limited to 105 players on their practice roster prior to the start of school. Bohl and his staff prefer to bring in as many walk-ons as they can in the original 105-man group to see which of those individuals may be able to earn spots on the roster. To accomplish that, Wyoming’s specialists are brought into camp a few days after camp begins.
Bohl had this to say about Wood, “We of course expect Ethan (Wood) to handle our punting duties. I think he may also be called on to do our kickoffs. We’re still in the process of determining who will handle our field goals and extra points.”
Finally Bohl was asked about what he hoped to accomplish on Saturday in the first two-a-day practices of fall camp.
“We’re going to have some padded work in the morning, and then probably take the pads off in the afternoon and fine tune some of the adjustments and the schemes we’ve installed in the first six days,” said Bohl.
The Cowboys return to practice on Saturday for an 8:50 a.m. practice. The afternoon practice is scheduled for 3:50 p.m. The first 30 minutes of the morning practice will be open to media. The remainder of the morning practice and all of the afternoon practice will be closed.
Fans interested in purchasing tickets to 2015 Wyoming Cowboy Football games may go online at www.GoWyo.com/tickets, may call the UW Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or 307-766-4850 or may stop by the ticket office on the west side of UW’s Arena-Auditorium.
2015 University of Wyoming Football Fall Practice Schedule
Saturday, Aug. 15 8:50 a.m. (Practice #6) - 3:50 p.m. (Practice #7)
Sunday, Aug. 16 2:45 p.m. (Practice #8)
Monday, Aug. 17 9:00 a.m. (Practice #9) - 3:50 p.m. (Practice #10)
Tuesday, Aug. 18 9:00 a.m. (Practice #11)
Wednesday, Aug. 19 9:00 a.m. (Practice #12) - 3:50 p.m. (Practice #13)
Thursday, Aug. 20 9:00 a.m. (Practice #14)
Friday, Aug. 21 9:20 a.m. (Practice #15) - 3:50 p.m. (Practice #16)
Saturday, Aug. 22 11:00 a.m. (Closed Scrimmage, Practice #17)
Sunday, Aug. 23 3:30 p.m. (Practice #18)
Monday, Aug. 24 8:50 a.m. (Practice #19) - 3:50 p.m. (Practice #20)
Tuesday, Aug. 25 9:50 a.m. (Practice #21)
Wednesday, Aug. 26 9:50 a.m. (Practice #22)
Thursday, Aug. 27 9:00 a.m. (Practice #23)
Friday, Aug. 28 9:20 a.m. (Practice #24)
Saturday, Aug. 29 No practice
Monday, Aug. 31 First Weekly Press Conference at Noon