(Editor’s note: UW Athletics release)
LARAMIE, Wyo. – Quarterbacks, safeties, defensive line and linebackers are four position groups that Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said he has seen make positive strides this spring. Bohl made his comments after the Cowboys completed their fifth of 15 spring practices on Thursday.
“We had a pretty spirited practice. We ended up in a third-down-and-long session. It was the first day we put ourselves in passing situations,” said Bohl. “I think Sean (Chambers) is coming along pretty well at quarterback. I’m really pleased with some of the young safeties. I think Rome Weber has got some promise as a young player, and we’re continuing to show some progress with the defensive line — Ravontae Holt, Victor (Jones) did some nice things today and so did Javaree (Jackson).”
Quarterbacks Enjoy Strong Practice
Regarding the third-down passing situations that the Cowboys incorporated into Thursday’s practice, Bohl was asked what he saw that pleased him about the play of quarterbacks Chambers and Tyler Vander Waal during that portion of practice.
“I thought they handled the changing of the protections, which we do a lot,” said Bohl. “There was a lot thrown at them today. I thought they (the quarterbacks) took care of the ball well. We need to protect better though. We would have had a lot of sacks today.”
Linebacker Position Returns Two Outstanding Seniors, Developing Depth
“I think we’re really ahead of the curve at the linebacker position,” said Bohl. “Logan Wilson is not only a talented football player but he is exactly what you want in a leader. He’s doing a great job from that perspective. I also believe we’re developing some depth at that spot.”
Asked if there were any young linebackers who had taken a step forward this spring to help bolster the position led by seniors Wilson and Cassh Maluia, Bohl said, “The guy who has really been impressive is Chad Muma (sophomore). He’s really come along, really well. He’s got great range. He’s really smart, and he’s explosive. He’s turned out to be more athletic than what I thought he would be, and he’s got a family history of people who have played here. I think he’s got a really bright future. He’s going to play a lot for us. Right now he’s playing both middle and WILL (weak-side) linebacker. Cassh (Maluia) is recovering from the Tommy John surgery (elbow surgery), so we’re having Chad (Muma) take some WILL reps.”
Defensive Tackles and Nose Tackles Impress
In addition to the linebacker position, Bohl singled out the defensive tackle and nose tackle group on Thursday as making positive strides thus far in spring drills. The top returners there are juniors Ravontae Holt, Javaree Jackson and Victor Jones.
“The interior defensive line is another area that I’m pleased with what I’m seeing,” said Bohl. “I was concerned about that spot, but I think we’ve got a couple young, emerging players. Javaree Jackson and Ravontae Holt are really showing some excellent play-making ability. We’re certainly pleased there.”
Wyoming lost a lot of senior leadership when last season ended, but a new group of seniors have stepped forward to take the reins.
“As far as leadership within our football team, that is always an X factor,” said Bohl. “What we’re seeing during the course of spring is some of the older guys, who have played here a lot, helping the younger guys. Those things are going to be really important as we move through spring. Veterans like Logan Wilson, who is a returning captain, and Josh Harshman (senior tight end), who is another guy who has played a lot of football for us, is providing great leadership along with Austin Conway (senior wide receiver).”
Injuries on the Offensive Line
Junior Logan Harris was the latest offensive lineman to miss practice this spring. He is being evaluated for a back injury that he suffered in Tuesday’s session. Harris was held out of Thursday’s practice. Despite missing Harris, a couple of 2018 starters are also missing spring drills in junior offensive tackle Alonzo Velasquez and sophomore center Keegan Cryder. Bohl was asked about the injuries and whether they have limited the offensive line this spring.
“We really didn’t do anything different (with the offensive line) today,” said Bohl. “We were able to operate somewhat normally. We’ll have to take a look at where we’re at after Saturday’s practice.”
The head coach was also asked if the team would scrimmage this Saturday, to which he responded that there would be a couple live periods where the Cowboys will tackle full speed, but it will not be one of the full scrimmage days for the Pokes.
Finally, Bohl was asked to access where he feels his team is a third of the way through 2019 Spring Practice.
“I think we’re maybe a little bit behind where I thought we would be after today,” said Bohl. “I thought we would be a little bit further along, particularly up front. I don’t know if that is a positive for our defensive line or if our offensive line has to protect better and block better. There were too many plays with penetration today, and there would have been way too many negative plays (for the offense). We’ve got to get those things straightened around.”
April 13 Scrimmage in Casper
Wyoming Football’s first spring scrimmage will be held in Casper, Wyo., on Saturday, April 13. The April 13 scrimmage will be free and open to the public. It will kick off at 1 p.m. from Dick Cheney Alumni Field at Natrona County High School in Casper. Cowboy Football and Pepsi are encouraging fans to bring a non-perishable food item to the game. Every fan who brings a non-perishable food item will receive a coupon to get a free Pepsi product at the scrimmage. The donated food will be given to Wyoming Food for Thought Project in Casper. Wyoming Food for Thought Project is an independently run, local non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded on the idea that a local solution to hunger is possible.
Cowboy players will be available on the field after the scrimmage to take photos with fans and to sign autographs.
Spring Practice Schedule
Wyoming Football will hold two open practices during the spring. In addition to the scrimmage at Dick Cheney Alumni Field in Casper on Saturday, April 13, the Spring Game on Saturday, April 27 will be played in War Memorial Stadium on the UW campus in Laramie and will of course be open to the public, with a 2 p.m. kickoff. All other spring practices are closed to the general public.