Monday, July 28, 2008

Cowboys to open on Monday

Richard Anderson photos
The Wyoming Cowboys will begin fall drills Monday at 4 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium. At bottom, new offensive coordinator Bob Cole encourages senior running back Wynel Seldon last spring.

By Wyoming

Anticipation will turn to reality as the 2008 college football season kicks off for the Wyoming Cowboys with their first practice on Aug. 4 at 4 p.m. in War Memorial Stadium.

Head Coach Joe Glenn, entering his sixth season at the helm, welcomes back 16 starters and 43 lettermen for the 2008 season. Of those 16 starters, seven are on defense and nine on offense.

The first week of fall drills will feature one afternoon practice per day. Media Day will be Aug. 8 from 10 a.m. to noon. Wyoming’s first practice in full pads will also be Aug. 8 at 3:15 p.m. Two Wednesday scrimmages are planned during fall practice -- the first on Aug. 13 at 5 p.m. in War Memorial Stadium and the second Aug. 20, also at 5 p.m. in War Memorial.

“This is one of the most exciting times of the year for me,” Glenn in a release. “It’s the culmination of a lot of hard work by so many people. Much of what our players and coaches do preparing for the next season is behind the scenes -- recruiting for the coaches, winter and summer conditioning for the players and strength staff -- but now you get to start to see the fruits of your labors. You get to see what your veterans have done in the off-season to improve themselves physically, and you get to see your new recruits in your school colors for the first time.”

Glenn said that this is also a time of the year when your team gets back together as a unit and starts building toward the season opener.

“For us, August 30th against Ohio is the red letter day that we’re pointing toward with all of our preparations,” he said.

Not only does the Wyoming roster have good balance with the seven returning defensive starters and nine returning offensive starters, but there are 21 returning lettermen on offense and 21 on defense, as well as two returning lettermen on special teams.

The Cowboys will be one of the most veteran groups in Glenn’s six years in Laramie. A combined total of 40 juniors and seniors return in ‘08 -- 24 juniors and 16 seniors. Leading the way are three individuals who earned preseason First Team All-MWC honors from Mountain West Conference media earlier this month. Senior inside linebacker Ward Dobbs, junior defensive tackle John Fletcher and senior Devin Moore were all named to the preseason All-Conference team. Moore was selected to the All-MWC team as a return specialist. He is Wyoming’s returning starter at running back where he rushed for 965 yards in 2007. Dobbs enters his senior season with 242 career tackles, and needs only 17 more tackles to enter the Wyoming Career Top 10. Fletcher, who earned Second Team All-MWC honors as a sophomore in ‘07, has been named to the Outland Trophy Watch List this season.

“One of the really encouraging things for all of us is we have a veteran team returning,” said Glenn. “Any good team usually has your upperclassmen making the bulk of the plays for you, and it looks to me this year that we will be very junior and senior laden, which I think has got to help us in the long run. Experience means so much in the game of football.”
Glenn took the experience facto a step further, especially on the line.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a team in all my years of coaching where every starter on the offensive line returns and every starter on the defensive line returns and that is what we have on this team,” he said. “On offense, not only do we have all of our starters back up front, but we have tight end/fullback types in spades, who are good football players, that I think will enable us to rumble a little bit in the ground game. With all of those pieces to go with our two senior running backs (Moore and Wynel Seldon), I believe we will be able to get downhill in the running game. You will also see Wynel not only at running back but at wide receiver some. He has great hands, and we want to get both he and Devin on the field.”

Even with that experience returning, there are a couple of hotly-contested position battles expected to pick up again this fall at quarterback and in the kicking game. Glenn said last week at the annual MWC Media Days in Las Vegas that returner Karsten Sween, newcomer Dax Crum and senior Ian Hetrick are still in a battle for the starting position.

“I don’t think there is any doubt that competition makes you better,” said Glenn. “It tightens your focus. It heightens your effort. We have that kind of competition at the quarterback spot. We hopefully will have someone separate by the first fall scrimmage and start taking the lion’s share of the reps.”

That will also be the case for the place-kicking and punting positions as Billy Vinnedge, now in the San Diego Chargers camp, handled both sports.

“We’ve got a couple of battles there,” Glenn said. “We have four or five guys who will be competing. Jake Scott has some starting experience as a place-kicker from a couple of years ago. Nick Landess is in his third year in our program at punter. We’ve brought in a guy who can do both in Austin McCoy (a true freshman from Florida), and we have a walk-on in Cody Bousema, who has junior-college experience primarily as a punter and kick-off guy. We have some talent at those two spots, we just have to let those individuals fight it out and see who gets the start on August 30th.”
Fall Practice Schedule
Monday, Aug. 4 -- 4 p.m. Helmets, no pads
Tuesday, Aug. 5 -- 3:15 p.m. Helmets, no pads
Wednesday, Aug. 6 -- 3:15 p.m. Helmets and shoulder pads only
Thursday, Aug. 7 -- 3:15 p.m. Helmets and shoulder pads only
Friday, Aug. 8 -- 10 a.m.-Noon Media Day Interviews; 3:15 p.m. First Day of Full Pads
Saturday, Aug. 9 -- 3:15 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 10 -- 3:15 p.m.
Monday, Aug. 11 -- 9:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. (Two-a-Day Practices Begin)
Tuesday, Aug. 12 -- 3:15 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 13 -- 10 a.m. Special Teams Practice; 5 p.m. First Fall Scrimmage
Thursday, Aug. 14 -- 3:15 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 15 -- 3:15 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 16 -- 9:15 a.m.
Monday, Aug. 18 -- 9:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 19 -- 10 a.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 20 -- 10 a.m. Special Teams Practice; 5 p.m. Second and Final Fall Scrimmage
Thursday, Aug. 21 -- 3:15 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 22 -- 9:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 23 -- 9:15 a.m.
Sunday, Aug. 24 -- Regular Weekly Walk Through to Begin Game Week
Monday, Aug. 25 -- First Day of Classes
(No Practice, begin regular weekly practice schedule with no practices on
Mondays and regular practices at 3:15 p.m. the rest of the week.)

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