After practicing in helmets and no pads the first two days of fall camp, the Wyoming Cowboys added shoulder pads for Day Three of fall practice on Wednesday. Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl met with media after Wednesday’s morning session to answer questions about Day Three of fall camp.
“We worked in half pads for the first time today, and got in some good fundamental work,” said Bohl. “Brian Hill looked good in this morning’s practice. Austin Conway did some good things at receiver, so it will be exciting to see what he can add to the receiving corps. Carl Granderson is up to 240 pounds, and he is carrying that weight well, so we’re encouraged about that.
“No injuries today that I think were significant. This was our third day of practice, and I think we’re making some good progress.”
Granderson and his fellow sophomore Kevin Prosser both return at defensive end after playing significant time as true freshmen a year ago. Bohl was asked about their roles this year, as well as some of the other defensive ends who may contribute this season.
“There is a separation between the first group and the second group, however the second group of Nela (Lolohea) and Josiah (Hall) are doing some good things and they’re going to be able to play some meaningful reps,” said Bohl. “On the defensive line, it’s hard to play a ton of reps in a row during a game, so it’s important to develop depth in fall camp. We’re pleased to have some other guys, who we feel can play. Nela is 250 and carries his weight well, and brings a great deal of energy out there at practice.”
Lolohea is a junior who came to Wyoming this year from El Camino Community College in California. Hall is a redshirt freshman from Colorado Springs, Colo., who was moved from linebacker to defensive end during 2016 spring practice.
Bohl was also asked about how difficult it would be to replace last year’s standout defensive end Eddie Yarbrough, who is now with the Denver Broncos.
“That’s a challenge to replace not only his production but his character and his leadership,” said Bohl. “But I think Eddie instilled some values that our younger players picked up. It is funny to see some of the mannerisms that Carl (Granderson) has now. He’ll stand like Eddie used to stand. I think he picked up a couple sayings from Eddie, and he’s growling when he rushes the passer. But Eddie’s production certainly is going to be missed.”
The story of Conway switching from the Wyoming Basketball team to the Cowboy Football team was covered throughout spring football practice when he made the switch from point guard to wide receiver.
When questioned about other younger players who had stood out in the first three days of practice and might have a chance to contribute this season, Bohl responded, “There are a couple things that have caught my eye. I watch movements of players, and I think Rico Gafford is showing some encouraging things along with Braden Smith. They are a couple guys in the secondary, and Cassh Maluia at linebacker. As I said earlier, Austin Conway (wide receiver) showed some things today. Each day he’s becoming more familiar with playing the game of football again.”
Gafford is a junior-college transfer cornerback from Iowa Western Community College. Smith is a true freshman safety from Lakewood, Colo., and Maluia is a true freshman linebacker from Paramount, Calif. Conway was an outstanding football and basketball player at Overland High School in Aurora, Colo., where he was a high school teammate of Cowboy defensive end Prosser.
Bohl also gave an update to media on Wednesday regarding the Cowboy offensive line’s development. Wyoming returns three starters and a fourth experienced player, in sophomore guard Kaden Jackson, on the offensive line. The group is led by senior guard Chase Roullier, who earned Second Team All-Mountain West honors a year ago and has been named a Preseason First Team All-MW selection this year. Junior right tackle Ryan Cummings and sophomore left tackle Zach Wallace also return. The newest face in that starting group entering fall practice is senior Du’Ryan Ebbesen at center. Ebbesen earned the starting spot last spring.
“I certainly appreciate the way Du’Ryan is playing,” said Bohl. “I wouldn’t say he is dominant, but he’s holding his own. Chase Roullier will occasionally take some reps at center, but Du’Ryan is showing he is a guy that we’re going to be able to count on. That is a success story you like to see -- guys who spend years working their way up from the scout team, earn a scholarship and have a chance for some meaningful playing time.
“Ryan (Cummings) has improved, and Zach (Wallace) has improved, but we do need to develop a third guy at tackle.
“Yesterday and the day before we weren’t in any pads, so today was the first day they really had a chance to go against some power rush and some speed rush.
“Gavin Rush is a freshman offensive guard from Nebraska that is probably going to work some in the offensive line competition. We’ll also take a look at another freshman, Jace Webb (from Hollis, Okla). Between those two guys, we’ll probably roll one of those two guys out -- they likely won’t both redshirt.”
At the conclusion of his post-practice interview with media, Bohl gave a brief preview of Thursday’s practice.
“There will be a little more competitive periods tomorrow,” said Bohl. “We’re still installing our offensive, defensive and special teams systems. There will still not be any full contact tomorrow.”
Following Thursday’s practice in shoulder pads and helmets, the Cowboys will put on full pads for the first time this fall on Friday. The Cowboys will conclude their first week of fall camp on Saturday, with the first day of two-a-day practices.
Fans interested in purchasing tickets to 2016 Wyoming Cowboy Football games may: go online at www.GoWyo.com/tickets, email email@example.com, call the UW Athletics Ticket Office at (307) 766-7220; or stop by the ticket office on the west side of UW’s Arena-Auditorium.
The first 30 minutes of practices are open to media. Practices are closed to the general public. Student-athletes and coaches will be available for interviews with the media after fall practices. The Cowboys will utilize War Memorial Stadium, the Indoor Practice Facility and the North 40 Practice Fields for fall drills.
2016 University of Wyoming Football Fall Practice Schedule (Times of Practices are Tentative)
Thursday, Aug. 11 8:30 a.m. (Shoulder Pads, Practice #4)
Friday, Aug. 12 8:30 a.m. (First Practice in Full Pads, Practice #5)
Saturday, Aug. 13 9:10 a.m. (Practice #6)
3:50 p.m. (Practice #7)
Monday, Aug. 15 8:30 a.m. (Practice #8)
Tuesday, Aug. 16 8:30 a.m. (Practice #9)
3:00 p.m. (Practice #10)
Wednesday, Aug. 17 9:20 a.m. (Practice #11)
Thursday, Aug. 18 8:30 a.m. (Practice #12)
3:20 p.m. (Practice #13)
Friday, Aug. 19 9:20 a.m. (Practice #14)
Saturday, Aug. 20 10:30 a.m. (Closed Scrimmage, Practice #15)
4:45 p.m. (Practice #16)
Monday, Aug. 22 9:00 a.m. (Practice #17)
Tuesday, Aug. 23 9:30 a.m. (Practice #18)
3:50 p.m. (Practice #19)
Wednesday, Aug. 24 10:00 a.m. (Practice #20)
Thursday, Aug. 25 9:20 a.m. (Practice #21)
4:00 p.m. (Practice #22)
Friday, Aug. 26 9:30 a.m. (Practice #23)
Saturday, Aug. 27 10:30 a.m. (Closed Scrimmage, Practice #24)
Monday, Aug. 29 First Weekly Press Conference at Noon in Rochelle Athletics Center WAR Room