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Q&A with Wyoming's Craig Bohl: Season opens 1 week from Saturday

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Posted at 8:20 AM, Oct 16, 2020

(Editor's note: UW Athletics release)

LARAMIE, Wyo. - Eight days from their football season opener the Wyoming Cowboys are in final prep stages. The Cowboys open at conference foe Nevada in Reno on Saturday, Oct. 24, at 5 p.m. in a game to be televised by CBS Sports Network.

Nevada, like the Cowboys, is coming off a bowl appearance. The Wolf Pack are led by head coach Jay Norvell, who Bohl pointed out is someone he’s known for years.

“I’m known Coach (Jay) Norvell a long time and actually coached his brother many years ago,” said Bohl. “We have a lot of common people we know. Their defensive coordinator (Brian Ward) and I worked together, and their corners coach (Freddie Banks) is a guy who I coached so it will be a fun game from that perspective. Outside of that, our players -- I can tell -- are starting to understand that game time is coming. We had a spirited practice today, and we’re getting ourselves ready to go. We’ll continue to work hard, but we’ll back off some of our contact as we get closer.”

Here's the rest of Bohl's Zoom Q&A with reporters, starting with his decision between Sean Chambers and redshirt freshman Levi Williams on a starting quarterback.

“I think we’ll make a decision after this Saturday,” said Bohl. “I think we’re going to stay with our overall statement that both guys will play. Right now Sean (Chambers) has a little bit of an edge off of his body of work, but we’re well pleased with Levi. I want to make real clear that Coach (Brent) Vigen and myself feel very comfortable playing either one of them and both of them will be playing in the games. We’ll announce our starter after this weekend.”

Are you planning to scrimmage again this coming Saturday?

“We’ll do some team work, but we’re not going to do a lot of full tackling,” said Bohl. “We’re going to go thru a mock-up game,going through all different kinds of situations. We’ll have some full contact work this next week, but we’re about done with that.”

Where do you feel your defense is in terms of tackling as you near the start of the season?

“Going into our scrimmage, I was concerned about that but by and large I thought we tackled well,” said Bohl. “Now that’s no guarantee we’re going to go into this first game tackling well, but there were not a number of missed tackles (in our scrimmage). As I watch all these games around the country, I’m seeing more missed tackles than I normally see.”

How do you think some of your coverage units on special teams may be affected by not having the freshmen in practice the last several days due to them being quarantined?

“That is a great question, because it certainly is a different look,” said Bohl. “We were well pleased with the recruiting of this freshman class, and we were well pleased with the work they had done this summer. Unfortunately, the number of freshmen who will be playing in this first game I think will be very, very minimal, so we’re not going to be counting on those guys right away.”

The outside linebacker and defensive end positions are two positions where new players will be stepping in this season. Bohl was asked if there were any players at those spots who were starting to separate themselves in the competition?

“I think we’re getting pretty far along in determining who our linebackers will be,” said Bohl. “I’m going to hold on announcing anything on that, the same with the defensive ends. We’ll release that come this Monday.”

You have several Thursday and Friday games this season with the announcement of the new TV schedule. Do you wish you had more full weeks to prepare for games or do you like having those Thursday and Friday games to get more national exposure for the conference?

“If I had my druthers, every game would be Saturday afternoon at one o’clock,” said Bohl. “But I do think it is important that we have two great national partners with CBS Sports Network and FOX. I also know that it is important this year, with the compressed schedule and certain contractual obligations that we have, that the Mountain West do a really good job fulfilling those obligations and they’ve done that. That means we’re playing a lot of Thursday and Friday games. We’ll play when we’re called to play.”

Quotes from Junior Tight End Nate Weinman

How excited are you to get on the field this season?

“I just want to get my first pass reception, get my nerves out and catch a bunch more for the Pokes,” said Weinman.

Which of you tight ends are taking more reps with the number one unit?

“Right now it is pretty even between me, Jackson (Marcotte) and Treyton (Welch),” said Weinman. “Sometimes I’ll take the the reps with the ones, sometimes Jackson will take the one reps and sometimes Treyton and then we just rotate.”

Was the fact that Coach Bohl’s offense utilizes the tight end position heavily a big factor for you in deciding to come to Wyoming to play football?

“I knew this was a heavy tight end used offense when I decided to sign with Wyoming,” said Weinman. “I was a wide receiver in high school, but when I came here and saw that there were two tight ends on the field in a lot of situations I knew this was a good option for me.”

How much pride do you take in blocking?

“Blocking is a huge part of our offense, and if that is what the team needs me to do I’ll do that, But I’d also like to catch some passes too,” laughed Weinman.

From what you’ve seen from the quarterbacks this fall do you see the passing game being more effective this season?

“I definitely think both QBs are doing a great job and we’re more balanced now,” said Weinman. “I think you’ll see a lot more of the passing game this year. We’re running a lot more pass plays in practice and adding in more plays for the tight ends and the receivers. We’re also doing a lot more individual things with the quarterbacks, tight ends and receivers.”