Monday saw the Wyoming Cowboys hold a morning practice on the north practice fields, following their first off day from practice on Sunday. Head coach Craig Bohl began his post-practice meeting with media talking about the mental toughness that players must exhibit now that they are in the heart of fall camp.
“This is the second week of fall camp and it is an important time where the rubber meets the road,” said Bohl. “Guys are out there working hard. We worked on some things in the red zone today. Josh Allen continues to impress us.
“As coaches, we’re going to continue to install our systems, but now there is more focus on reinforcing what we’ve been teaching. More so for the players at this point of fall camp, they have to mentally find a way to push through. Your body tells you, you don’t want to go today and guys find a way to get off the field or they find a way to stay on the field.
“This is where you really start to grind as a football team. This is where we, as a younger team, still need to work through some of the times when you don’t feel like practicing.
“Jerry West once said, ‘You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days you feel good.’”
In addition to the continued strong play of sophomore quarterback Allen, Bohl was asked if there had been other young players who performed well in the first week of camp. The two younger players that Bohl mentioned were true freshman wide receiver John Okwoli and junior-college transfer cornerback Rico Gafford.
“John Okwoli has done some really good things,” said Bohl. “Of course the position (wide receiver) he is at highlights his skills, but John is a guy who has made some plays, so that’s been very encouraging. While he’s not a freshman, Rico Gafford has also done some good things as a first-year player.
“We’ll take a measured look at some of the other young players as we go.”
Several key veterans sat out practice again on Monday suffering from a variety of muscle pulls, but Bohl expressed that he hoped to start getting those individuals back in the near future. Among them were senior wide receiver Tanner Gentry, junior cornerback Robert Priester and sophomore free safety Andrew Wingard.
“It will be good to get some of our starters back out there,” said Bohl. “We’ve got some starters out with soft-tissue issues -- Tanner (Gentry), Robert (Priester) and Andrew (Wingard). I think they’re all close (to practicing), but they can only come back when they’re ready physically to come back. All indications are each of them is day to day. Nothing is a significant pull, but if they’re not at full speed it is counter productive to have them out there right now.”
Bohl challenged his team to find a way to maintain their work ethic now that the Cowboys are into two-a-day practices.
“I would have liked to have seen our team come out today with a little more bounce,” said Bohl. “I think it’s also an indication of having a little bit younger, more immature football team that when you have a day off (like the Cowboys had Sunday) it takes a little more effort to get them cranked back up. Veteran teams learn how to start it back up right away. I would like to come in here with better news and say we started out practice today sharply, but I don’t think that was necessarily the case.”
One of the key positions for the Cowboys entering the 2016 season is place-kicker. True freshman @coop from Longmont, Colo., was brought in on scholarship this offseason to fill that role. Rothe was also an outstanding defensive back in high school. Bohl was asked Monday if he has liked what he has seen thus far from Rothe.
“Yes, I do,” said Bohl. “It is a little bit different kicking on grass like we were today. But I’ve been working with him on the (artificial) turf. I think he’s got a strong leg. He certainly has good physical skills, like we thought when we recruited him. I also think he has a good demeanor. He’s a task master. We’ve watched a lot of videotape to make sure he’s continued to improve. Where he’s having a challenge is before (in high school) he played so many different positions and now he has one -- a very important position.”
The Pokes will return to the practice field for two practices on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesday will mark the second two-a-day practices of fall camp as the Cowboys conducted their first two-a-day practices last Saturday.
The first 30 minutes of morning 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 the morning 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.
2016 University of Wyoming Football Fall Practice Schedule
(Times of Practices are Tentative)
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