Thursday, August 21, 2008

Cowboy scrimmage notebook

Richard Anderson photo
Wyoming sophomore Dax Crum looks to pass Wednesday in the Cowboys scrimmage at War Memorial Stadium.

By Richard Anderson

If you look purely at completion percentage, new starting quarterback Dax Crum had an outstanding scrimmage on Wednesday.

Crum was 7 of 9 through the air against the No. 2 defense. Yet, he threw for just 34 yards and no touchdowns. The result got him an “all right” from offensive coordinator Bob Cole and an “I have to look at the film” from head coach Joe Glenn.

What did Crum think of his and the offense’s night? How about “fine,” considering the circumstances of a scrimmage.

“It’s tough to get into rhythm in these scrimmages when you rotate all of the different teams,” Crum said. “I thought we did fine out there. We have a good defense. We did fine. We completed some balls and we had some good runs, scored some touchdowns. The offensive line did great. We did fine.”

Probably the only thing that Crum hasn’t done in the two scrimmages is have much success going deep. He almost got a big pass down the sidelines for Greg Bolling that was just knocked away, but drew a penalty flag. The Cowboys first unit later scored on a 2-yard run by Devin Moore.

It’s that type of play that the Cowboys are expecting in the season opener against Ohio next week.

“You can’t read into these scrimmages too much because they are all artificial,” Crum said. “When you get into the flow of the game, you are going to get some big plays and get other stuff going that you don’t get in a scrimmage. You don’t just sit the ball down and say go. When we play Ohio, we’re going to get plenty of big plays.”

Burkhalter’s big day

There were a couple of big plays in the scrimmage, though, when third string quarterback Ian Hetrick connected for 32 yards with tight end Orlando Arnold and fourth-string QB Chris Stutzriem found wide receiver Travis Burkhalter for an acrobatic 46-yard touchdown pass in heavy traffic.

For Burkhalter, it was a play he looks to make this season; one the Wyoming wide receiving corps needs to make to open up the running game.

“If we can spread the field, we can help D-Mo (Moore), Darius (Terry) and Wynel (Seldon) in the run game,” Burkhalter said. “The coaches have asked us receivers to do our job. They say we get paid to catch the ball and the quarterbacks get paid to throw the ball to us. We’re not perfect, but that is why we have scholarships, to make those plays. If we can do that, our run game will be great next week.”

Getting ready for Ohio

Glenn said after the scrimmage that the Cowboys were already preparing for Ohio.

“Guys are breaking down formations, situations and those types of things,“ he said. “We’re well along the way on that.”

Glenn was asked if his players would welcome the opportunity to finally play somebody else other than themselves.

“Forty-four practices against the same, ugly guy,” he said with a laugh. “The same guy wearing our colors, that’s not right. It’s time, especially against green. We’re starting to hate green already.”

Glenn was also asked about last year’s game at Ohio in which the Cowboys survived 34-33 despite turning the ball over seven times.

“That was the only time I went into a locker room and had nothing to say,” Glenn said. “You just have to play football; you can’t give them the ball.”

About Ohio

Glenn said the Bobcats have had two scrimmages as well, with the offense winning one and the defense the other. He said the Cowboys will have to be ready for quarterback Theo Scott, who he said is the fastest player on the team.

Glenn said to expect some option football out of Ohio head coach Frank Solich.

“Frank was an option guy at Nebraska,” he said. “Mike (Breske) and I have talked a lot about what kind of option we will see. Breske has to get ready for some option football. We didn’t shut these guys down last year: They were 15 for 30 passing; I think they passed for over 200 yards. Number 2, Garrett (Chris), ran a kickoff back for a touchdown. We weren’t very good in kickoff coverage last year, so I hope we’re better than that.

“Chris (Knutsen) put a note on the blackboard that said: ‘Somebody sign up for kickoff coverage’ and it was almost the whole first team defense. Those guys know how important that is. We really have to do a good job against number 2. We can’t let him get loose on kickoffs and I hope he gets about 10 tries.”

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