Cowboy’s Conduct Physical Practice Tuesday, All American Andrew Wingard To Lead Defense

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Andrew Wingard

Laramie, Wyo. (Aug. 22, 2017) –  It was a physical practice as the Wyoming Cowboys completed their 20th practice of fall camp on Tuesday in War Memorial Stadium.  The Pokes were in full pads Tuesday morning, and they worked a lot on the inside running game.  Head coach Craig Bohl commented to media after practice that the team would continue to incorporate physical practices as they prepare for their season opener on Sept. 2 against a physical Big Ten opponent in the Iowa Hawkeyes in a game to be played in Iowa City.

            One of the Cowboy veterans who will help lead Wyoming again in 2017 will be junior strong safety Andrew Wingard.  Wingard was one of the 16 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award as a sophomore in 2016.  The Thorpe Award honors the nation’s best defensive back each season.  He earned First Team All-Mountain West honors in 2016 in voting by conference head coaches and media.  Entering the 2017 season, MW media members voted him the 2017 Mountain West Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.  He is also on three national Preseason Watch Lists entering his junior year: the Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List and the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List.

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Tuesday’s Practice Notes

            �Bohl announced that junior wide receiver James Price would be out approximately six weeks after being diagnosed with a broken clavicle that he suffered in last Saturday’s scrimmage.  Junior tight end Austin Fort remains out with a PCL strain in a knee.

            �The Cowboys return two talented sophomore receivers in C.J. Johnson and Austin Conway, who both saw extensive game action a year ago.  Among the young receivers who will get increased opportunities during Price’s absence will be another sophomore, John Okwoli, who returns after playing some as a true freshman last season.  Two 2017 true freshmen, Jared Scott and Avante’ Cox, and redshirt freshman Dontae Crow also have been working with the No. 1 offense throughout fall camp.

            �At tight end, juniors Tyree Mayfield and Josh Harshman provide the Cowboy offense with two experienced tight end targets.

 

Quoting the Coach (Quotes from Head Coach Craig Bohl)

            “We had a full-padded practice today — a lot of hard work,” said Bohl.  “We worked on two-minute situations and worked on the inside run game.  Anytime you have a chance to get in some hard work against one another that’s good.

            “We know we’re going to be encountering a very physical, well-coached, excellent football program in the University of Iowa, so it’s important for us to keep our focus and try to replicate as many looks as we can get of what they (Iowa Hawkeyes) like to do.

            “We do have a couple injury updates.  James Price will be out for about six weeks.  He’s got a broken clavicle.  That’s disappointing, but we’ll have him back this season.  We also hope to have Austin Fort back at some point.  Shiloh Windsor (sophomore defensive end) is still coming back from concussion protocol.”

With James Price being out for six weeks do you expect it to be a group effort to fill in for him?

            “Some of it will depend on down and distance and the personnel grouping were in,” said Bohl.  “Certainly, James (Price) is a guy that we’ve counted on a lot.  John Okwoli is a young player who played some last year, and we feel good about him.  I think Jared Scott is another guy who has a big presence, as well.”

In the new depth chart that was released yesterday, Garrett Crall moved into the two-deep at defensive end.  What have you seen from him this fall?

            “He’s put on about 25 pounds, and he has good length.  He’s about 6’4” and is very aggressive,” said Bohl.  “Garrett (Crall) played well in the spring, and he has had a good fall camp, so he deserves an opportunity to get some more reps with the upper units.”

MHSC Sports Injury 

Were there any surprises to you regarding individuals who made big moves on the depth chart this fall?

            “Certainly Logan Harris (true freshman center) was a surprise — a pleasant surprise,” said Bohl.  “He’s been working with the upper group for quite some time now.  He was a good high school player, but I think he has developed a lot through his time here this summer and into the fall.  Alonzo Velazquez (true freshman offensive tackle) was a surprise, as well.  Neither of those guys were heavily recruited.  I believe we were the only FBS school to offer both those guys.

            “A lot of the other spots there weren’t really any surprises.  I think the biggest portion of the surprises were some of those young players.”

At running back will it be a different approach this season without Brian Hill or how do you see the approach with the combination of backs that you have (sophomore Milo Hall, junior Nico Evans and redshirt sophomore Kellen Overstreet)?

            “We’re certainly not going to change our whole structure in the running game.  There is a long pattern of history and success in what we do,” said Bohl.  “However, every time you have different players, you do different things with them to utilize their strengths.  What is probably going to be different is the number of carries each of those guys gets.  Last year, we fed the ball to Brian (Hill).  He was our primary running back, and that was well-deserved.  I think you’ll see all three of these guys play and they all do different things.”

You had a physical practice again today.  Will you do that one or two more times as camp winds down, or will you dial it back?  What is your plan for the rest of fall camp?

            “We’re going to go,” said Bohl.  “We’re going forward.  I’ll tell you that.”

Andrew Wingard

All-America Candidate

Strong Safety, 6-0, 210, Junior]

Arvada, Colo. (Ralston Valley)

UW This Season: Andrew Wingard has established himself as one of the nation’s elite defensive backs in his first two seasons at Wyoming.  Entering his junior season of 2017, he has been named to the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List and the Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List.  He was one of only 16 national semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award as a sophomore last season.  He will enter his junior season with 253 career tackles and has a streak of starting 25 consecutive games.  2016:  Wingard helped lead Wyoming to the 2016 Mountain Division title and a spot in the Mountain West Conference Championship Game.  Wyoming hosted that championship game as the highest ranked team in the conference.  The Cowboys went on to earn a berth in the 2016 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.  He was a key player in Wyoming’s win over two Top 25 ranked teams in 2016, as the Cowboys also earned votes in the national polls.  Wyoming’s defense led the Mountain West and ranked No. 3 nationally in defensive touchdowns, with five.  UW’s defense led the league and ranked 15th in the NCAA in fumbles recovered (12), was No. 2 in the MW and No. 22 in the nation in interceptions (15) and was No. 2 in the conference and No. 10 in the nation in turnovers gained (27).  He was a First Team All-Mountain West selection as a sophomore in 2016 in addition to being named a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award.  He ranked No. 5 in the MW and No. 22 in the NCAA in total tackles in 2016, averaging 9.4 per game, and ranked No. 4 in the league and No. 26 in the NCAA in solo tackles, averaging 5.4 per game.  Wingard ended his sophomore season ranked No. 1 among all current active NCAA FBS players in career solo tackles, averaging 6.08 per game, and he ranked No. 2 among all current active FBS players in career total tackles, averaging 9.73 per game.  His 131 total tackles in 2016 ranks as the 10th best single season in Wyoming history.  Wingard had two interceptions on the season, including one at Nebraska and one in the Poinsettia Bowl versus BYU.  He recorded seven double-figure tackle games in 2016, including: a career high 17 tackles at Colorado State, 13 at Nebraska, 12 vs. Northern Illinois and 11 in four other games.  2015:  His true freshman season, Wingard was named a First Team Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), and was one of only 29 freshmen in the nation selected to the team.  He also earned Second Team All-Mountain West Conference honors as a true freshman.  Wingard led the Cowboys in tackles, with 122, becoming the only freshman in school history to record 100 or more tackles in a single season.  Wingard played in all 12 games for the Cowboys with 11 starts. He ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 4 in the NCAA among all players at all positions in solo tackles in 2015 (6.9 solo tackles per game).  Wingard ranked No. 2 in the Mountain West and No. 12 in the nation among all players at all positions in total tackles in 2015 (10.2 tackles per game).  He also led all MW defensive backs in tackles.  His 122 total tackles in 2015 ranked as the 15th best single season in school history.  Wingard recorded seven double-figure tackle games as a freshman.  He had a single-season best 16 tackles at San Diego State, 15 tackles at Utah State, 12 against Washington State and Eastern Michigan, 11 against Boise State and Colorado State and 10 at Air Force.  High School:  Wingard was named to the 2014 All-Colorado Team as a running back by The Denver Post.  The All-Colorado team consisted of the Top 32 players in the state of Colorado in 2014 and included all classifications.  He was selected as the 2014 Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Colorado.  Wingard also earned First Team All-State Class 5A honors at running back from The Denver Post in 2014.  He was named First Team All-State Class 5A as a running back, defensive back and return specialist as presented by the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAANow.com).  The CHSAA team was selected by Colorado high school coaches.  Class 5A is the largest classification in the state of Colorado.  Wingard was ranked as the 15th best overall recruit in the state of Colorado by 247Sports.com.  His senior season, he recorded 96 tackles, including 52 solo tackles, intercepted three passes, recovered two fumbles and forced one fumble.  He rushed for 1,653 yards on 190 carries his senior season and averaged 127.2 yards per game and 8.7 yards per carry, while recording 10, 100-yard rushing games and scoring 28 rushing touchdowns.  Wingard also caught 37 passes for 393 yards and scored five receiving TDs.  He added 414 yards in kickoff returns and 235 yards in punt returns.  Wingard concluded his senior season with 2,702 all-purpose yards and averaged 207.8 all-purpose yards per game.  For his career, Wingard accumulated: 3,251 total rushing yards on 414 carries and 52 rushing TDs; 810 receiving yards on 81 receptions and 12 receiving TDs; 1,331 kickoff return yards; 323 punt return yards; and 5,722 all-purpose yards.  He helped lead Ralston Valley High to a 12-1 record and the Semifinals of the Class 5A State Playoffs.  He played for head coach Matt Loyd.  His father, Dan, was a three-year lettermen as a punter at the University of Nebraska from 1983-85.  Andrew Wingard was also recruited by Colorado and Washington.  Personal: He is the son of Missy and Dan Wingard, and is majoring in management.