Wednesday’s Practice Focuses On Unusual Game Situations, Cowboy Offensive Line Returns Group of Experienced Starters in 2017

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Laramie, Wyo. (Aug. 16, 2017) –  Wednesday marked the 15th practice of fall camp for the Wyoming Football team, which is about the midway point as the Cowboys prepare for their 2017 season opener at Iowa on Sept. 2.

            The Pokes practiced in their lighter “spider” pads on Wednesday and focused on covering a number of unusual game situations that arise during the season.

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Wednesday’s Practice Notes

            �Much of Wednesday’s practice in War Memorial Stadium was focused on the mental execution of special plays that the Cowboys may face during the coming season.

            �Various special teams’ situations were covered for the Cowboy return teams and kickoff and punt coverage teams.

            �The situations covered also included a variety of odd plays that might occur on end-of-the-game situations.

            �While watching all the unusual plays, it was hard not to think back to all the unusual situations that the Cowboys faced and handled extremely well during the 2016 season from: winning a game on a safety, to winning a game by breaking up a game-ending two-point conversion attempt, to facing two triple overtime games, to a game that ended at 2:30 in the morning.

            �The Cowboys will return to full pads for Thursday’s morning practice.

 

Quoting the Coach (Quotes from Head Coach Craig Bohl)

            “We’re kind of in the middle of camp and we spent a lot of time today working on unusual situations,” said Bohl.  “Those various special situations sometimes do come up during the course of a season and sometimes they don’t, but if a situation comes up during the season you want to know that you’ve covered it with your team and are prepared for it.

            “At this point of fall camp, we always look to see what things we can cover in practice that will most benefit our players and keep them engaged.  There are times we’re going to bang and there are times when we’re going to focus on some mental aspects, which is what we did today.

            “We’ll bounce back and have a pretty hard practice tomorrow.

            “There is no status change on any of our injured players.  We’re going day-by-day with Austin Fort (junior tight end).  I still think it will be a couple weeks away for him.”  

 John Bunning Transfer

How important is it to change things up for players the further you get into fall camp to keep them focused?

            “There is no doubt that anytime there is no ‘new learning’, there is no learning going on,” said Bohl.  “We’re constantly going through different situations with our players.  Sometimes they are physical situations when we’re all padded up and other times it is more a day when we want to focus on learning concepts, like today when we were just in spiders (lighter pads).

            “The attitude of the team has really been excellent.  They’ve taken advantage of the time we’ve had either through practice times, meetings, lifting or walk-throughs.

            “We’re certainly taking a little longer approach than what we’ve normally done.  I think every coach around the country is obviously looking at how to best handle the new practice structure (without two-a-day practices but with more practice days).  I believe we’re making good use of our time.

            “What I have found through the years when we plan out our practices is this is about the time during fall camp when guys have been practicing hard for several days that you have to focus on keeping them engaged and doing something meaningful.  Sometimes you can get to the point of diminishing returns.  We’ve tried to stagger our practices to keep our players fresh mentally and physically.”

 

With tight end Austin Fort out for awhile with his injury are you comfortable with Josh Harshman and Tyree Mayfield and where the tight end position is heading into the season opener?

            “We certainly are,’ said Bohl.  “Those guys (Josh Harshman and Tyree Mayfield) have played a lot.  We’re excited about them and tight ends are an important part of our offense.”

When you look at the defensive line position group is that one of the groups that has evolved as much as any during your time at Wyoming?

            “There is no question about that, but I will also say we’ve had some good players up front through our time here,” said Bohl.  “It’s dangerous to say your have favorites, but Eddie Yarbrough is always going to be a favorite player of mine.

            “We certainly have more depth, more speed, more explosion and those things are really building blocks to building a better defensive line.

            “We need to play better defense and I think we will this year.

            “No one can have a bigger impact on a game than a defensive lineman, because they’re going to have an impact on the running game and they’re going to have an impact on the passing game.  The great defenses that I’ve had the pleasure of being around have always had great defensive fronts.

            “It will be fun to see these guys progress.  They’re looking really good now, but we haven’t played a game yet.  Iowa is right around the corner.  Their offensive line is noted as one of the top offensive lines in the country, and our guys are really looking forward to that challenge.”

Cowboys Position-by-Position

Offensive Line

      Offensive line is one of the most experienced positions for the Cowboys entering the 2017 season.  Wyoming returns starters at four of the five offensive line positions, including two returning starters at right tackle in senior Ryan Cummings and junior Brinkley Jolly, who each started seven games last season.  Cummings started the first seven games before suffering a season-ending injury.  Jolly took over following Cummings’ injury and started the final seven games of the season.

      Also returning is junior left tackle Zach Wallace and junior right guard Kaden Jackson.  Sophomore Gavin Rush started all 14 games at left guard last season as a true freshman.  He moved to center during 2017 spring practice to take over for Chase Roullier, who earned Second Team All-America honors his senior season.  The fifth projected starter coming out of spring practice was redshirt freshman Jace Webb at left guard.  In fall camp, true freshman Logan Harris has also been taking significant reps at center with the No. 1 offense.  In those situations, Rush is often seen back at his familiar left guard spot.

      “When you look at the offensive line, we’ll have four positions with returning starters, so we feel pretty good about that,” said Bohl.  “I’ll start with Ryan Cummings and Zach Wallace at the tackle spots.  They’re both guys who have been multi-year starters, and they’re no longer skinny guys.  They are both over 300 pounds with good height and good length.  Pahl Schwab also competed well at offensive tackle in the spring.

      “Gavin Rush moved to center this past spring.  We’ll continue to see how that progresses.  Gavin started at left guard for us as a true freshman last season.  He’s moving over to center where Chase Roullier had an outstanding season.

      “At right guard, we thought Kaden Jackson had a great spring.  The other guard spot is where we may have a new face this season.  Jace Webb has done some good things in there.  We’ll continue to take a look at that spot and the center spot throughout fall camp.”