Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cowboys to scrimmage for first time

Richard Anderson photo
The Wyoming Cowboys will scrimmage for the first time on Friday, beginning at 9:30 a.m. at War Memorial Stadium.

by UW Media Relations

Friday will see the Wyoming Cowboys scrimmage for the first time this fall, with the initial scrimmage consisting of about 150 total plays. Friday morning’s practice will begin at 8:45 a.m. in War Memorial Stadium, with the scrimmage portion of the practice beginning at 9:30 a.m.

“We’ve had really good, intense practices leading up to the first scrimmage,” said Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen. “We have gotten a lot of good work done, and the attitude of the team has been very positive. Their enthusiasm level has been high throughout this first week, and I think they’re excited to scrimmage and play some live football.

“We have a ton of guys who we need to get evaluated. Friday we’ll get a chance to see them react under game-like conditions.”

The structure of the scrimmage will pit the No. 1 offense against the No. 2 defense, No. 2 offense versus the No. 1 defense, No. 3 units on both offense and defense against each other and the No. 4 offense and defense facing off. The No. 1 offense and No. 1 defense may face each other for a few reps in the fifth period of the scrimmage.

Friday’s scrimmage will begin with some special teams work on punts, point-after-touchdowns and field goals and kick coverage in the first period. The second period will see the offense begin on its own two-yard line for six plays -- three plays for the No. 1 offense and three plays for the No. 2 offense. Period three will have each offensive unit begin at its own 25-yard line. Each offensive unit will get 10 plays to try and drive the ball down the field. Period four will begin at the offense’s own 35-yard line. Again each unit will be given 10 plays to drive the ball. In period five, the offensive series will begin at the offense’s 40-yard line. Each offensive unit will again be given 10 plays. Finally in period six, the series will begin on the defense’s side of the field at the 40-yard line, with each offensive unit getting eight plays to move the ball.

Christensen and his staff decided to cancel Thursday afternoon’s practice leading up to Friday’s scrimmage, due to the strong effort they’ve seen from the Cowboys thus far in fall drills.

“We’ve had nine practices thus far, and have not had one bad practice yet,” said Christensen. “Now that’s not to say we’ve been perfect, we still have a lot of hard work ahead, but as a reward to the players we gave them Thursday afternoon off from practice. We’ll still have some meetings, but no afternoon practice.”

The only player who will definitely miss Friday’s scrimmage will be true freshman Spencer Bruce, who underwent offseason shoulder surgery from which he is still recovering.

A unique scoring system will again be utilized in this fall’s scrimmagtes that awards the offense and defense points based on certain plays. The offense will be awarded a normal six points for a touchdown, one point for a point-after-touchdown, two points for a two-point PAT and three points for a field goal. In addition, the offense will be awarded one point for each play of 20+ yards and one point for each first down.

The defense will earn five points each for an interception or a recovered fumble. If they return an interception or fumble recovery for a TD, the defense will receive 12 points. The defense will earn three points for a blocked field goal or by stopping the offense on a fourth-down play on the offense’s side of the 50. Two points will be awarded to the defense for a safety, a quarterback sack, stopping the offense on a fourth-down play on the defense’s side of the 50 or stopping a two-point conversion attempt. Finally one point will be earned by the defense for forcing a punt, forcing a missed field goal, tackling a ball carrier for a loss of yardage, blocking a point-after-touchdown attempt and when holding the offense to a field goal after the offense begins its series in the red-zone (inside the defense’s 20-yard line).

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