By Staff 8-18,2015
A return to two-a-day practices kicked off day eight of fall camp for the Wyoming Cowboys on Monday. The second week of fall practice will be the heaviest week in terms of number of two-a-day practices and number of total practices. The Pokes conducted practices at 9 a.m. and 3:50 p.m. on Monday. They will also hold two practices on Wednesday and Friday of this week. With single practices on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, the Cowboys will practice 10 times this week, culminating with a closed scrimmage on Saturday.
The Cowboys completed much of the installation of their offensive and defensive systems in week one, and now are focused on executing their offensive and defensive schemes in 11-on-11 situations. Head coach Craig Bohl spoke to media following Monday’s morning practice.
“We’re into our second week of practice, and it is what you would expect at this point — you have to keep grinding through,” said Bohl. “Some of the guys who I noticed making plays today included James Price, who is a freshman receiver. He has been doing some good things, and it hasn’t just been for a day or so it has been for several days. As I’ve mentioned before Josh Harshman (freshman tight end) has shown some good things.
“Defensively, we’re really pleased with the defensive front. (Chase) Appleby, even though he is a little undersized as a nose tackle, has really shown well in fall camp. Uso (Olive) has done some good things. He’s batted down some balls. Eddie (Yarbrough) continues to play well along with Siaosi (Hala’api’api), so without a doubt I think the defensive line is going to be the strong suit of our defense.”
Bohl was asked to explain in more detail what he has seen in the performance of freshman receiver Price, and if he thinks he is the leader in performance among a talented group of freshman receivers.
“I would say right now he is,” said Bohl. “It comes down to a combination of physical ability, and we have a pretty thick playbook to learn, so for a freshman sometimes their athleticism is held back because they are not completely confident in their routes and the reads they need to make. But I think James (Price) is well ahead of the curve mentally, and he has good ability to go with that.
“While it is disappointing that we don’t have Tanner (Gentry) or Jake (Maulhardt) out there right now, the silver lining is it is allowing some of our younger players to get more repetitions.”
Junior wide receiver Gentry is currently out due to monitoring of a head injury, while fellow junior receiver Maulhardt suffered a hamstring pull last week.
The head coach was asked if that same scenario was playing out at the linebacker position where Wyoming’s most experienced linebacker Lucas Wacha has been out since the first day of fall camp with a hamstring pull.
“That is one of the reasons why we double rep is because you’re going to have injuries,” said Bohl. “While it is frustrating as coaches right now, all those repetitions Will Tutein is getting is, in the long run, going to be helpful. We are hoping to have Lucas (Wacha) back in fall camp. It was a pretty deep pull, but he is making progress.”
The head coach was also asked to update the competition among some true freshmen at the cornerback position.
“We have quite a bit of camp to go, but we’re in the process of evaluating the freshmen cornerbacks,” said Bohl. “Between Davion Freeman and Antonio Hull we’ll probably need to play one of them, maybe both of them. But we’ll make that decision later in camp.”
Players who were held out of Monday morning’s practice included sophomore center Charlie Renfree, who Bohl said was held out as a precaution due to suffering from heat-related issues. Bohl said he expected him back within the next couple of days. A key Cowboy who missed practice again on Monday was senior running back Shaun Wick.
“Hopefully, we’ll get Shaun Wick back one of these days,” said Bohl. “He’s got some head issues, and we’re in the process of going through proper protocol with that. There are pretty stringent protocols that our sports medicine department employs. I think it may be several more days before he could be cleared. We think we’ll have him back. We don’t think it is an issue of ‘if’ (we’ll get him back) it is just a matter of time.”
Asked about what Monday afternoon’s practice would entail, Bohl said, “It will include a little bit more mental work as opposed to being another strenuous, physical practice like this morning. We do plan to close out this afternoon’s practice with a two-minute drill. I think it is important that we work on that, and this is about the time when we integrate that into camp.”