University of Wyoming football fans will get the opportunity to see their Cowboys play for the final time during 2009 spring drills when the Brown and Gold game kicks off Saturday at 2 p.m.
For the first time in many years, the Cowboys will conclude spring practice with an actual game rather than a scrimmage. The game is free and open to the public.
The No. 1 offense and No. 2 defense will team up on the Brown team to face the Gold team that will combine the No. 1 defense and No. 2 offense. Saturday’s game will feature four, 12-minute quarters. The clock will run continually except for the final two minutes of each half, in which normal NCAA timing rules will be utilized. The only part of the game that will not be live and full-contact will be the kicking portion of the game. During a 10-minute halftime, the Cowboy coaching staff will announce and recognize seven players as the “Most Improved” at their positions during spring ball.
The Brown offense will be led by senior quarterback Karsten Sween, junior running back Darius Terry, senior tight end Jesson Salyards and the No. 1 Cowboy offensive line. The Gold defense will feature senior defensive end Mitch Unrein, senior linebacker Weston Johnson and three returning starters in the Cowboy secondary -- junior free safety Chris Prosinski and brothers Marcell and Tashaun Gipson at cornerback.
On Thursday, the four team captains for the upcoming 2009 season were announced. The four individuals were selected as team captains in voting by their teammates. The 2009 captains are senior defensive tackle John Fletcher, senior outside linebacker Weston Johnson, senior offensive center Russ Arnold and junior running back Darius Terry.
Saturday’s game will also be the 15th and final practice of spring drills. Head coach Dave Christensen is looking forward to seeing his Cowboys play one last time this spring and get one more chance to evaluate his players.
“I feel good about what we’ve been able to get done this spring,” said Christensen. “We have about 75 to 80 percent of our offensive and defensive systems installed, so I feel very good about the progress we’ve made in that regard.
“The only factors that limited us from getting everything accomplished that I would have liked were injuries and the weather we had this spring. There were a number of players who I wanted to see what they were capable of doing who were injured this spring, so we weren’t able to fully evaluate and get a feel for where all of our players are at. Our kicking game was limited somewhat by not practicing outside much, particularly the punting game. But overall, I think it was a very productive spring for us. We were able to evaluate a lot of players, and determine some strengths and weaknesses.”
Christensen said that the team's experience is its strength at this point and its weakness is its depth.
“We have experience back in the secondary, on the defensive line and at linebacker," he said. "Those kids have played a lot of games at this level and they have played well. We have to continue to try and develop more depth at several positions, and we also have to improve our physical strength. Offensively, we’re still evaluating players to get the right combination of the players on the field.”
Two Cowboys -- junior quarterback Dax Crum and sophomore center Travis Hillen -- will be suspended for Saturday’s spring game due to violations of team rules.
A number of former Cowboys are returning Saturday for a pregame function and some are going to put the pads on one more time to participate in Saturday’s spring game. The Cowboy coaching staff invited all former Cowboys, who they had contact information for, to return for a pregame function in the Paul and Marge Roach Memorial Lobby at noon Saturday.
A group of eight former Poke defensive players are expected to suit up for the Brown team Saturday. Those eight include linebackers Sean Claffey (a letterman from 2004-07), Ward Dobbs (2005-08), Jake Edmunds (2005-08), John Prater (2004-07) and Guy Tuell (2001-04); as well as defensive linemen Adam Diehl (2003-06), Mike Groover (2003-06) and Jake Mayes (2003-06).
Due to construction beginning on the Wildcatter Stadium Club and Suites on the east side of the stadium, seating for the game will be available only on the west side of War Memorial Stadium. There will be a concession area open for Saturday’s Spring Game. That concession area will be the Cowboy Cabin on the southwest corner of the stadium.
If the scrimmage is forced indoors, fans at Saturday’s game will be allowed to watch the game from the west endzone of the Indoor Practice facility. For safety reasons, fans will not be allowed on the sidelines. Only media members with press credentials who are covering the scrimmage will be allowed on the sidelines of the Indoor Practice Facility.