(UW Athletics release)
Laramie, Wyo. – Words of praise for the positive attitude of his team, highlighted Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl’s comments after practice on Tuesday night. Bohl also singled out the performance by the Cowboy offense in last Saturday’s scrimmage as a positive step forward as the Pokes entered the fourth of five weeks of spring drills on Tuesday.
How did he feel his team responded in Tuesday’s practice after scrimmaging last Saturday?
“I thought it was better than what we expected,” said Bohl. “But we’ve got to be measured in our assessment because we weren’t double repping today so the amount of fatigue and stress they were under was a little bit less than what we would normally like to put them under. We’ll ramp it up on Thursday again.
“This team’s got a good attitude. I’m really happy about their attention to detail, trying to get better and their drive to take another step forward this next year.”
In assessing the first major scrimmage of spring, Bohl was encouraged by the play of the Wyoming offense. He said in spite of missing several players due to injury, the Cowboys were able to get in 70 plays in Saturday’s scrimmage.
“I thought the play of our offensive line in the scrimmage was one of their best practices this spring,” said Bohl. “I thought we ran the ball better than what we had in a long time, so we were encouraged about that.
“We had some situations that came up in the scrimmage that were good. We were in the red zone a couple times, and I thought our defense responded well after getting hit in the mouth a couple times by our offense. Overall, it was our best offensive scrimmage in quite some time.
“I thought Nick (Smith, senior quarterback) played better. Tyler (Vander Waal, redshirt freshman quarterback) did a couple things that showed his athleticism.
“Our offensive line’s pad level was really good. Execution was good, and I thought our running backs ran the ball hard. That was the biggest takeaway, I left the scrimmage with. Whether it be the tight ends, fullbacks, tailbacks or offensive line — that was our best day.”
Bohl did single out some strong individual defensive performances from Saturday’s scrimmage.
“Over on defense, some of the things that I thought were particularly impressive — Alijah Halliburton continues to tackle very well coming out of the secondary at safety. C.J. Coldon has done some really good things at the corner position.
“We did not scrimmage Andrew Wingard. We didn’t scrimmage Logan Wilson or Youhanna (Ghaifan). That gave us the opportunity to look at some other guys.
“I thought Adam Pilapil probably had his best day at linebacker, which was positive.
“We did not work on any special teams as we were inside.”
While Wingard didn’t scrimmage and fellow senior safety Marcus Epps is out this spring due to injury, the head coach likes what he has seen from some of the other safeties.
“In addition to Alijah (Halliburton), Braden Smith is doing some nice things. (Esaias) Gandy is in there doing good things, and I think it’s been great to get those young guys more reps. They’ve been making progress. There are still some things mentally that they have to learn. Safety is a complex position, and there are some things they have to fine tune.”
Asked if there is one side of the ball, offense or defense, that he is more pleased with overall at this point of spring practice, Bohl said, “It’s always a dangerous question to answer because you want to be balanced, but I think our defense has probably had the upper hand overall, but last Saturday went the opposite way, with the offense having a good day.”
Among the running backs that performed well in the scrimmage were redshirt freshman Xazavian Valladay and sophomore Mike Greene II. Wyoming’s two top backs from last season, Trey Woods and Kellen Overstreet, both suffered injuries earlier this spring and are expected to miss the rest of spring drills.
“He (Valladay) had a good day,” said Bohl. “He may have broken his hand, however. The list (of injuries) goes on and on. Both he and Mike (Greene) ran the ball really well. They’re both showing some promise running the ball. They both need to continue to improve in pass protection.”
Despite the rash of injuries, Bohl said his team has still been able to get good work in and they even incorporated some non-contact drills into Tuesday’s practice to reengage some players unable to participate in contact drills.
“We had to pare some things back in practice today,” said Bohl. “But I think we got a lot of good work done. We’re getting to the tail end of spring, but I certainly appreciate the efforts by our players and our coaches to be resourceful. We went half pads today. We worked on some things within the kicking game and elements of the offense and defense. Our guys have been really engaged.
“We were able to get some work done that was non-contact with our guys who are injured — guys like Carl (Granderson) and K.P. (Kevin Prosser), so that was good, as well.
“We have so many who are going to contribute next year who have not been able to do much this spring because of injures, but we were able to stage some things during the non-contact portion of practice to keep those guys engaged. Even though they’re seasoned players, they’re still college players. They’re not professional players, and for them to be able to go out and do some of that work was really good.”
The Cowboys will conduct two more practices this week on Thursday, April 12 and Saturday, April 14. Practices are closed to the general public. Spring practice will conclude with the Brown and Gold Spring Game on Saturday, April 21. The Spring Game will be open to the public, with a 2 p.m. kickoff planned.