Aug. 22, 2007
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowboy defense led the way in UW's second and final scrimmage of fall camp on Wednesday night in War Memorial Stadium. Senior inside linebacker John Prater was credited with seven tackles, including two tackles for losses; intercepted a pass and returned it 36 yards; and broke up another pass to pace a Poke defense that registered seven sacks, 13 tackles for losses, six pass breakups and one interception.
"I thought the defense probably had the upper hand tonight, and really looked like they're humming," said Wyoming head coach Joe Glenn. "The defense is doing a good job of making plays, rallying to the ball and making sure tackles. We had several batted balls from the defense tonight. I think Mike Neuhaus (redshirt sophomore defensive end) has knocked down 11 balls during fall camp and he had one tonight, so he's been one of our best pass defenders at the line of scrimmage.
"I feel good about our defensive line. They're young, but they all played a lot for us last year, and we've got John Fletcher (sophomore defensive tackle) back from a finger injury that caused him to miss a lot of last season. John is a force up there -- we can't block him. Freddy (Givens, sophomore noseguard) is tough inside, and Mitch Unrein (sophomore defensive end) is having a good camp, so I feel we're really, really solid on defense."
Unrein led UW in sacks on the night with two for a minus 13 yards. The other leading tackler for the Cowboy defense was senior inside linebacker Luke Chase, who recorded six total tackles, including one tackle for a loss.
The offense also had some standout plays in the 72-play scrimmage that lasted for approximately one hour and 40 minutes. Sophomore wide receiver Greg Bolling caught two touchdown passes from Karsten Sween (sophomore quarterback) -- one of 24 yards and one from 13 yards out. Bolling led all receivers on the night with four catches for 70 yards and two touchdowns. Sween completed 12 of 18 passes (66.7 percent) for 163 yards, two TDs and one interception that was picked off by Prater. Senior wideout Michael Ford also had a productive night receiving, with three receptions for 47 yards.
"We did some good things offensively," said Glenn. "But I had hoped our No. 1 offense would have ran the ball a little bit better. Greg Bolling (sophomore wide receiver) certainly was sensational on a couple of catches he had."
Wyoming's offense ran the ball 36 times for 71 net yards, and totalled 299 yards of total offense. The Pokes two top running backs, juniors Devin Moore and Wynel Seldon, carried the ball only five times between the two of them going against the No. 2 defense. A couple of young backs got the majority of the carries, with redshirt freshman Darius Terry rushing five times for 28 yards. True freshman Chris Sherwood, a walk-on from Laramie, Wyo., led all rushers with 46 yards on eight carries in series pitting the No. 3 offense versus the No. 3 defense.
Senior punter Billy Vinnedge boomed the ball throughout the scrimmage, averaging 44.6 yards per punt on five punts, with a long of 54 yards. Vinnedge also kicked two kickoffs into the endzone from the 30-yard line. But the field-goal competition between Vinnedge and sophomore Jake Scott is still not where Glenn wants it. Both were perfect in PATs -- Scott was three for three and Vinnedge was two for two. But Scott converted only two of his three field-goal attempts, successfully hitting from 29 and 21 yards while missing a 36-yard attempt. Vinnedge was only one of two in field goals, making one from 36 yards but missing from 47.
"Our punting game is strong," said Glenn. "Billy punted well. After one short punt, he bombed the rest of them and four of them were well over four seconds in hang time. Every thing in our punting game is looking good -- our ball-handling, our snapping -- we're getting the ball off in under 2.2 seconds which is where you need to be.
"Place-kicking, Billy and Jake Scott were okay. Each of them left one field goal out there. They did both make all of their extra points, but we've got to be better in converting field-goal attempts. They both continue to work hard at it, but they've got to start nailing the ball between the goalposts."
When asked if he was pleased with where the Cowboys were at this point in fall camp, Glenn answered with his normal candor.
"No I'm not -- we need some work," said Glenn. "Whether it be blocking on the perimeter in our pass protection, or running the ball better -- we're not there yet. I told the kids after the scrimmage, the hay is not in the barn. We've got some work to do, and we can get better between now and 10 days and a wake from now when we play Virginia.
"We've got to keep working and improving and maybe play with a little more gusto. Our No. 1 offense needs to come out and get going a little bit quicker. It took us a couple of series to get going against our No. 2 defense, and the offense needs to be more effective than that."
On the injury front, the Cowboys came out of the second scrimmage in great shape with no new injuries to report. Glenn commented that a couple of projected starters may be back at practice later this week after suffering injuries earlier in fall camp. Senior cornerback Michael Medina, bruised left foot, and junior outside linebacker Mike Juergens, sprained left foot, may both be back practicing by the weekend.
"I just spoke to Mike Medina, and he hopes he might be able to start practicing again Saturday," said Glenn. "Mike Juergens' situation is similar, I think he's about ready to get going again."
The practice schedule for the remainder of this week includes one scheduled practice in the afternoon on Thursday, followed by morning and afternoon practices on Friday. The Cowboys plan a single practice on Saturday, before beginning their regular-season practice schedule next week. Wyoming's regular practice schedule during the season will include a light practice on Sundays, Mondays will be a day off for the team, followed by regular practices on Tuesday, Wednesdays and Thursdays.