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Wyoming Cowboys turn to full-pad workouts

Posted at 2:52 PM, Aug 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-02 13:16:11-04
(UW Athletics photo)

(UW Athletics release)

LARAMIE, Wyo.–  The Wyoming Cowboys conducted their fourth practice of fall camp on Tuesday with a two and a half hour morning practice, then went full pads for the first time this fall on Wednesday.

The Cowboys are 24 days away from the season opener at New Mexico State on Aug. 25.

Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl praised the defense for their play in Tuesday’s practice.  The defense had a couple interceptions on Tuesday — one by sophomore free safety Braden Smith and another by true freshman cornerback Jalani Ellison.  Bohl also was impressed with the play of the Cowboy defensive line.

“Today was our last day in half pads.  We’ll go into full pads tomorrow,” said Bohl.  “The practices are starting to wear down some of the guys, but overall we’re in really good health.

“Some of the things I would like to note today is Jalani Ellison did some really good things at the cornerback position.  There are some things he’s got to learn, but he certainly showed some athleticism.  I think Braden Smith continues to come along at the safety position.

“The defensive front continues to play outstanding.  (Carl) Granderson and Youhanna Ghaifan have looked really strong.

“We’re working on some elements of the kicking game.  On kickoffs today, Cooper (Rothe) was placing the ball well, and we’re finding some guys who can play on the kickoff team.

“Day Four is in the books, and I think we’ve made some good progress.”

At the cornerback position, redshirt junior Antonio Hull is back after being award a medical redshirt last season.  He and redshirt freshman C.J. Coldon came out of spring as the projected starters, following the loss of 2017 senior cornerbacks Rico Gafford and Robert Priester.  Bohl said they are now looking to develop depth at the position.

“Without question, we are looking for depth,” said Bohl.  “The other player who is figuring in the mix there is Keyon Blankenbaker.  We’re looking for a fourth guy there, and I think Jalani (Ellison) is doing some good things to possibly put himself in the mix at that spot.  In our league with all the different types of offenses that we face, it is important to have a stable of good skill guys back there on defense.  We’ve got some depth, but we’re always looking for more.”

On offense, Bohl was asked about the offensive line and whether he was continuing to see the kind of progress he saw during last spring’s practice.

“Their play needs to be at a high level,” said Bohl.  “We’ll look at the tape of today’s practice, but we made have taken a step back today actually.  You’re going to have that during fall camp.

“Our offensive line showed significant progress during the spring, and we’ll need to maintain that trajectory.  We started off fall camp where we left off in the spring, so that was encouraging, but I don’t know if we made great strides today.  We’re trying to find the best five players there, and we’ll continue to work with all of those guys.  It is going to be imperative that that group really assert itself.”

At running back, the head coach mentioned the play of true freshman Jevon Bigelow in Tuesday’s practice.

“Jevon Bigelow did some good things at the running back position today, and I wouldn’t say it is premature to say we are taking a hard look at him,” said Bohl.  “But we’re going to take a look at all those freshman running backs.  Jevon’s weight is about 215 pounds.  He’s shown good movement and good change of direction.

“There are a lot of guys in the mix there right now, because Trey (Woods) and Kellen (Overstreet) are not cleared for full contact, so we’re not getting a great evaluation on those veterans right now.  Once we get through a scrimmage, I think we’ll have a better understanding of those younger players.”

Two Cowboys who were held out of Tuesday’s practice were senior strong-side linebacker/nickel back Chavez Pownell Jr., who has strep throat, and sophomore wide receiver Jared Scott, who is going through concussion protocol.