Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dobbs enjoying return as defensive stopper

UW photo
Wyoming senior linebacker Mike Juergens sacks senior quarterback Ian Hetrick Wednesday the first fall scrimmage.

By Richard Anderson

Ward Dobbs was back in his element on Wednesday night: Scrimmaging, knocking heads, having a blast.

While most eyes were on the still apparently unsettled quarterback situation, Dobbs and his mates were once again doing their part, controlling the field.

After an uneventful spring in which he had to sit out drills rehabbing his shoulder, it’s been a good fall start for the Wyoming senior linebacker.

Wednesday night was another step in the right direction.

“It’s fun, it’s been a while,” Dobbs said with a smile. “It was a long, boring off-season, sitting around and watching spring ball and all that. It’s good to be back here. The biggest thing is that it is fun, fun being around the guys.”

Not only has Dobbs regained his health after off-season shoulder surgery, he said he is feeling better than ever. That could spell trouble for the rest of the Mountain West Conference.

“It’s by far the best that I have ever felt since I have been here,” Dobbs said. “I’m pretty excited about that.”

The Wyoming defense dominated the 122-play scrimmage, holding the offense to a combined 330 yards of total offense -- 134 passing yards and 196 rushing. Wyoming’s defense sacked Cowboy quarterbacks nine times for a minus 70 yards, and recorded 15 tackles for losses for a minus 101 yards. The UW defenders recovered three fumbles and intercepted one pass.

“I think we’re on the right path,” Dobbs said. “I think there are things we need to work on. We just have to make sure that everybody is on the same page and how you become successful on defense is everybody doing their job. When people get excited and try to do too much on defense, that’s when you leave those big comeback lanes and big plays happen. I think that if we can get everybody on the same page and just keep getting better, then we will be looking pretty good.”

Making a statement early

It didn’t take long for the Cowboy defense to get into the act, as sophomore cornerback Marcell Gipson intercepted an Ian Hetrick pass and returned it 37 yards.

“I read it the whole time,” Gipson said. “I just wished that I would have scored.”

Gipson is expected to get the starting nod at boundary cornerback, with younger brother Tashaun Gipson, TJ Atwater and Keith Lewis all in the mix for starting jobs.

“I leave it in the coaches’ hands. All I can do is come out here and practice as hard as I can,” Gipson said. “I’m rooting for my little brother, I can’t lie. I’m hoping he can pull it out by Aug. 30.”

Not a happy camper

Glenn was less than pleased with how his offense performance on the evening, especially his No. 1 offense against the No. 2 defense.

“I give the defense credit tonight,” Glenn said. “But I will say that we played a lot better offensively all week in practice than we did tonight. We showed no emotion on offense. We were flat. I can’t say that we played very well at any spot.

“We want to move the ball. We didn’t move the ball tonight as well as we have over this first couple of weeks of fall practice. I think once we establish that we can run the ball effectively, the passing game will fall in place with that, but tonight we didn’t run it like we have been.”

Glenn said the offensive coaches are especially disappointed that they didn’t get into the end zone.

“The offensive staff wanted to start every series from their own 25-yard line to see which quarterback could drive the ball down the field,” Glenn said. “In the next scrimmage, we will probably mix up the starting position for each drive and give the offense some field position to work with to start.”

Getting their kicks

Junior place-kicker Jake Scott was four of five in field goals, connecting on two 41-yard field goals, a 26-yard attempt and a 23-yard kick. His only miss came from 37 yards out. Freshman Kolten Jelden also made a 23-yard field goal.

Punting the football, sophomore Nick Landess averaged 45.0 yards on five punts, including a long of 61. Sophomore Cody Bousema averaged 48.8 yards on five punts, with a long of 55. Austin McCoy, a true freshman, also punted five times and averaged 39.2 yards, including a long of 50 and a 40-yard punt that was downed at the two-yard line.

Next week

The Cowboys will scrimmage again next Wednesday, beginning at 5 p.m.

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