Koenning Pleased With Team's Progress

Aug. 14, 2000

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

Through nine practices ofWyoming's preseason camp Head Coach Vic Koenning has had to deal with a goodkind of a problem.

"We've had to get them to pace themselves," Koenning said followingMonday's fourth day of two-a-day sessions. "We have been moving too fast,we've been too physical. Because of the great effort we have received, thepace has been too fast. We've had to slow it down.

"That of course is a good problem, and a credit to our coachingstaff for pushing them, and to the players for pushing themselves. I have afeeling if we kept up that pace we might not get our horses to the race, sowe've had to shift gears a little."

Because of his team's outstanding effort Koenning decided to cancela planned "third-down" scrimmage Monday. He indicated that it was inresponse to that effort that he eliminated the scrum. "We decided to makeit a teaching afternoon, give them a little bit of a break, and maybe healsome bumps and bruises. By design we gave Jay (quarterback Stoner) themorning off. We want to keep him fresh, obviously, as well as give theother quarterbacks an opportunity to develop. Certainly one of the goals ofthis camp is to develop depth at every position, and I believe we are makingprogress in that regard.

"We have been giving our number ones fewer reps in our team andinside drills," Koenning continued. "That gives the two's and the three'smore work which helps them develop. It also gives our one's more of abreak. We must maintain their sharpness and intensity.

"Obviously I'm very pleased with the progress this group is making,"Koenning continued. "My biggest concern is that they pace themselvesproperly."

Far and away the biggest news of fall camp todate has been theshifting of senior safety Al Rich to running back. Rich, an all-leaguesafety in 1998, was an outstanding running back at Mitchell High School inColorado Springs, gaining over 2,000 yards as a prep ball carrier. The movehas made a big difference in the Cowboy offense, according to Koenning. "Hehas all of the skills of a top running back. He has great vision, he hitsthe hole in a hurry, and he explodes. Right now he is learning the nuancesof the offense. When he's on the field the offense just seems to pick upthe pace.

"It is a move we have been contemplating since April," Koenningcontinued. We decided we would take a look at him during the first coupleof days of camp, and if he was able to get into the flow, we would inserthim in our running back plans. He has impressed everyone with his atitude,and his skill. It turns out that it may be an excellent change for theCowboys. He has ignited the offense like a 55 gallon drum of gasoline. ..he has made all of the difference in the world."

The Cowboys are planning their first major scrimmage of fall campduring Thursday afternoon's practice. There will be a little bit ofeverything in the workout according to the head coach. There will besituations as well as over-the-field work. Koenning said while he will takea look at a few special team aspects, there will be less of that than duringour previous spring scrimmages.

While there has been an assortment of bumps and bruises after nineworkouts, there have been two injuries worth noting thus far. JohnLevingston Jr., a redshirt freshman safety from Dallas, injured a knee andwill undergo surgery some time later this week. He will be lost for theseason, according to Koenning. Senior defensive end Kendrick Rawls will beout indefinitely after undergoing a knee scope.