(UW Athletics release)
LARAMIE, Wyo. – The Wyoming Cowboy Football team is currently in the middle of winter conditioning activities, but in less than a month they will begin Spring Practice in preparation for the 2018 season. Spring Drills are scheduled to kick off with the first of 15 spring practices on Tuesday, March 20. Wyoming fans will have the opportunity to see the 2018 Cowboys on Saturday, April 21 when the Annual Brown and Gold Spring Game will be held in War Memorial Stadium. The Spring Game will kick off at 2 p.m.
Head coach Craig Bohl and his staff have built the Cowboys into one of the top teams in the Mountain West Conference. Wyoming has posted consecutive eight-win seasons, played in back-to-back bowl games, won the 2017 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in convincing fashion (37-14 over Central Michigan) and finished first and second in the Mountain West Conference Mountain Division the past two seasons.
Wyoming will return one of the top defensive units in the country in 2018 led by 2017 First Team All-Mountain West performers Andrew Wingard at strong safety, Carl Granderson at defensive end and Youhanna Ghaifan at defensive tackle. Middle linebacker Logan Wilson returns after leading the Cowboys in tackles (119) and earning Second Team All-MW honors. Free safety Marcus Epps will enter his senior season having started each of the previous three-years and having been elected a team captain by his teammates each of the past two seasons. Wingard and Granderson are already being mentioned as potential All-America candidates in 2018.
The Cowboys will return eight defensive starters from a group that was: No. 1 in the nation in takeaways (38 turnovers forced), No. 1 in the NCAA in forcing fumbles (18), No. 2 in the country in interceptions (20), No. 8 in the nation in defensive touchdowns scored (4), No. 9 in the NCAA in scoring defense (allowing opponents only 17.5 points per game), No. 13 in the nation in pass defense (allowing only 174.9 passing yards per game) and No. 23 in the country in total defense (allowing only 335.2 yards per game).
On offense, nine starters return. The offensive line returns four starters led by seniors Kaden Jackson at right guard and Zach Wallace at left tackle. A trio of experienced receivers in senior James Price and juniors Austin Conway and C.Johnson will also be back. At tight end, three seniors will form a very experienced group, with Austin Fort, Josh Harshman and Tyree Mayfield all back.
Special teams also returns a talented array of players. Junior cornerback/kickoff returner Tyler Hall earned Honorable Mention All-Conference honors as a return specialist and led the Cowboys to the No. 1 ranking in the nation in kickoff returns. UW averaged 28.3 yards per return to take the top spot, and Hall ranked No. 5 in the NCAA in kickoffs returned for TDs, with two. Junior place-kicker Cooper Rothe led the Mountain West and ranked No. 21 in the country in field-goal percentage, converting 83.3 percent of his attempts (15 of 18). Conway ranked No. 2 in the MW and No. 18 in the nation in punt returns (10.4 yards per return).
The Pokes will conduct their 15 spring practices on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for five consecutive weeks.
The first 30 minutes of practices will be open to media. The Spring Game on Saturday,
April 21 will be open to both media and the general public.