Aug. 20, 2010
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
With only 15 days until its 2010 season opener, the Wyoming Cowboys will hold their third of four fall scrimmages on Saturday with an eye toward simulating game conditions in a scrimmage that will begin at 10 a.m. in War Memorial Stadium.
The first quarter of Saturday's scrimmage will be played and scored like a regular game with the No. 1 offensive and defensive units facing the No. 2 units on both offense and defense.
"We will play the first period on Saturday just like a game," said head coach Dave Christensen. "We'll have all the No. 1s on one team and the No. 2s on the other team, and we'll play a quarter of football. The offense will start with the ball at their own 25-yard line. If a team is forced to punt, the other team will takeover wherever they fair catch the ball and we'll come the other way. The only thing we won't do live in that quarter is live kick returns or live kick coverage."
Following that live quarter of action, the Cowboys will work on special teams followed by the No. 3 and No. 4 units scrimmaging for approximately 12 plays each.
After another special teams period, the No. 1 and No. 2 units will return to the field for a final period featuring work on two-minute offense.
Developing depth at a number of positions was one of the goals Christensen had as he entered his second season at UW, and he believes his team has made progress toward achieving that goal.
"I think we have definitely improved our depth at receiver from a year ago," said Christensen. "I also believe we have more depth on the offensive line than we did last year. Across the board, I think we're stronger at all positions. Running back is the one position that we're still trying to iron out. On defense, we have some depth at defensive line. I know we have some good depth at linebacker, and we're starting to develop some depth in the secondary.
"We're just better up and down our roster. We are two deep at virtually every position, where a year ago we had some positions where we didn't have that luxury."
The running back position currently includes: last year's leading rusher, sophomore Alvester Alexander; freshman Nehemie Kankolongo; and junior James Davis. A fourth player, freshman wide receiver Robert Herron, also began taking some reps at running back this past week with Kankolongo out recovering from an injury. Christensen said that Kankolongo may be ready to participate in Wyoming's final fall scrimmage on Wednesday, Aug. 25.
Some of the positions that were a question mark, in terms of depth, entering the fall that Christensen has been pleased with are the offensive and defensive lines and linebackers.
"Our starting four on the D-line has really stepped up in fall camp," said Christensen. "With (Gabe) Knapton and (Josh) Biezuns at the end spots and (Mike) Purcell and (Patrick) Mertens at the tackle spots, I feel good about that group. We also have Mark Willis, who is doing a nice job.
"On the offensive line, we've moved some guys around. Hutch (John Hutchins) has had a good camp. He's moved to guard. I feel good about our ones, with (Clayton) Kirven, (Sam) Sterner, (Nick) Carlson, Hutchins and (Josh) Leonard. (Justin) DiRe is a true freshman who has come along. He is certainly a good prospect at tackle, as well.
"At linebacker, all of our backups have done a great job this fall. Oliver Schober, Devyn Harris and Alex Toney have all performed well in camp, and we of course feel good about the starters there with Brian Hendricks, Ghaali Muhammad and Keith Lewis. We have a pretty strong linebacking corps."
The UW Athletics Ticket Office will be selling tickets at Saturday's scrimmage. They will be located in a tent in the northwest corner of the stadium. A special season-ticket price of $170 per ticket will be offered on Saturday. That is a $12 discount off the regular $182 season-ticket price.
Fans attending Saturday's scrimmage will once again need to sit in the west stands of War Memorial Stadium. The east side of War Memorial is still a construction zone as the final stages of remodeling on the east stands and construction of the new Wildcatter Stadium Club & Suites are nearing completion.
The Pokes will have one final scrimmage on Wed., Aug. 25. That scrimmage will begin at 3:30 p.m.