LARAMIE -- Zero.

That's the number of touchdowns Wyoming scored during Saturday's open scrimmage inside War Memorial Stadium. In fact, only a handful of snaps were even taken inside the red zone.

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"I didn't exactly put them in the best position to score," Jay Sawvel said with a smile after a practice that saw the Cowboys' first-and-second-team offense run nearly 50 plays. The rookie head coach added this is the most work that unit has done since he arrived in 2020.

That workload typically ranges from the mid-20's to low-30's, he added.

Two-and-four-minute scenarios -- against live tackling, with officials on the field -- were the focus in this workout, Sawvel said.

What was his biggest takeaway?

"It's a good thing we don't play a game tomorrow," he joked. "We've got a lot of work to do, but we've got a really good work ethic among our players right now.

"... I love the way that we are working."

Here are a few of my thoughts:

 

OFFENSIVE MAKEOVER

Players throughout the spring have been telling us this offense would look different.

It did.

There was some no-huddle, a variation of spread formations and even the back-up quarterbacks were signaling in plays from the sideline. Crazy, right? While no official stats were kept, the numerous down-field throws provided a glimpse of what's to come.

Yes, the trademark rushing attack was still a focus, but it's clear there has been an emphasis on the passing game.

Another aspect of this attack that was apparent, if Evan Svoboda has time in the pocket, he will be deadly. The 6-foot-5 signal caller, who should be the opening day starter at Arizona State, was calm and smooth, making all the throws against the No. 1 defense.

It wasn't perfect by any means.

Tyrecus Davis nearly picked him off twice on the same drive. A few balls whizzed behind the intended target. Defensive end Sabastian Harsh knocked down his first attempt of the afternoon.

Still, the arm talent is obvious. He went through his progressions. His footwork looked good.

Versatile.

That's the word that keeps coming from this unit, under first-year offensive coordinator Jay Johnson. While they didn't show off the entire playbook Saturday, there was nothing one-dimensional about this scheme.

"I think probably my favorite part is we can run anything out of about (any formation). There's really no limitations," said Caleb Driskill, who lined up at the tight end spot most of the afternoon after spending the three previous seasons at fullback. "We can catch a lot of defenses off guard. We're not going to huddle every play, as you guys saw today. We're not going to go no-huddle every play, you know, we're going to switch it up. I think that part's fun, because you get to see defenses scrambling around as we're running in place."

 

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ANOTHER BRICK -- OR TWO -- IN THE WALL

Right tackle Caden Barnett has missed the entire spring while he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery. Nofoafia Tulafono, the starting center, had the day off.

Those two, like last year, will play a major role in the success of this front five.

Sawvel and Co. are in search of a new left tackle to replace Frank Crum, who could hear his name called in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Jake Davies was that man today.

The 6-foot-7, 286-pound redshirt freshman spent the afternoon protecting Svoboda's blindside with the first team. It was a mixed bag. Same can be said for the other youngsters across the line.

If sack stats were kept, let's just say it wouldn't have been pretty for this group.

"That's a continued work in progress," Sawvel said. "It's a concern. Eventually, we'll have to look at what's the viability of everybody as opposed to whether we have to do something with Jack Walsh and move him out there, which is always something we can do."

That's not what they want to do, but it's a solid option.

There's plenty of work to be done up front. We likely won't know who sits atop the depth chart until the team heads to Tempe in late August.

 

THEY WEREN'T KIDDING ...

The defense is clearly ahead of the offense at this point.

That shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. The play calls haven't changed and Aaron Bohl has made a so-far seamless transition from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator.

It showed on Saturday.

While Davis was impressive on the back end and the edge rushers had a field day, it was the interior front that was arguably the most disruptive, starting with tackle Gavin Meyer.

The youngsters were plenty active, too.

Jayden Williams and Jaden Williams, both hovering around 286 pounds and standing 6-foot-4, made a living in the offensive backfield. Jayden Williams, a redshirt freshman from Bryan, Texas, even showed a mean streak, getting in a mini altercation with tackle Forrest Scheel on the final play of the day. That came after Williams got a little too rough with quarterback Gage Brook. Scheel took exception.

It was actually good to see.

Even redshirt freshman tackle Lucas Samsula laid out a ball carrier in the backfield.

"I think that is an obvious strength of our football team," Sawvel said, adding starting nose guard Jordan Bertagnole is not active right now as he heals from offseason surgery. "... I think Gavin Meyer, there's a case to be made he might have been our best defensive tackle last year. You take him, Ben Florentine is a year better. You know, both Jayden and Jaden Williams, you've got ability. Caleb Robinson has had his best offseason. He shows up more and more and more every day. So, there's a lot of positives in that group."

 

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CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH, KIND OF

Alex Conn, a 6-foot-5, 310-pound transfer out of Iowa Western CC via Nebraska, appeared to suffer a right knee injury Saturday.

That happened during pass protection. The junior stayed in the game for two more plays, but was clearly experiencing discomfort. He spent the majority of the scrimmage on the home bench.

Junior wide receiver Jaylen Sargent also came up limping after being twisted to the ground on a tackle in the flat. He did return to action.

Tight end Nick Miles, as well as running back Dawaiian McNeely, cornerback Keany Parks, Bertagnole and Barnett will all be out for the entirety of spring.

Sawvel said as far as the injury front goes -- so far, so good.

"You know, we've been blessed so far with it," he said. "We're banging a lot and we're going to continue to, so that's been good."

 

ODDS AND ENDS

Here's some randomness for you:

* Sargent made a beautiful catch after an out-and-up route. Quarterback Kaden Anderson dropped a perfect ball between the corner and safety. The junior wideout from Logan, Utah, high-pointed the ball roughly 20 yards down field and got one foot in before landing out of bounds.

* Running back DJ Jones isn't afraid of contact. The senior transfer from North Carolina could've just cruised out of bounds after snagging a ball out in the flat. It was already a double-figure gain. Instead, he planted his right foot and barreled into an oncoming safety.

* Koa McIntyre, a sophomore safety, got a hand on a punt early in the scrimmage. The ball wasn't batted down, but was clearly altered as it wobbled through the air, landing roughly 25 yards down field.

* Quarterback Jayden Clemons and wide receiver Caleb Cooley both served as holders for Wyoming placekickers. Clayton Stewart, the Cowboys' former punter, served in that role over the previous three seasons. Keep an eye on that.

* Davis was really good in this one. He said he's picked off "at least five passes" in practice this spring. That number should now be seven. The senior cornerback also broke up a pass early in the scrimmage. Coaches have raved about Davis all offseason. That's great. Who's the No. 2 corner? That's the real question.

* Malique Singleton also batted down a pair of passes Saturday afternoon. The sophomore nickelback appeared in two games as a true freshman in 2022, preserving his redshirt status. He played in just three games last fall, all on special teams, as Wrook Brown solidified himself as the starter.

* Quarterback Carson May showed Saturday he has plenty of arm strength. The former 4-star recruit, who spent his first collegiate season at Iowa, was on target throughout the day, running the Cowboys' fourth-team offense. He had a 20-plus yard strike to Garden City CC transfer Jaylan Bean. Anderson was under center with the third team and Clemons served as the No. 2 QB.

John Hoyland was perfect on the day. The senior placekicker drilled at least three attempts from 52 yards out. Erik Sandvik, a redshirt freshman, also boomed one from the same distance. The Steamboat Springs product also had an impressive punt. Sawvel said he doesn't yet know if the punter in 2024 is "on campus," referring to signing another player out of the transfer portal. Cheyenne's Keelan Anderson is also getting a shot this offseason.

* Remember who Wyoming's starting running back was last season against Texas Tech? Jamari Ferrell. He came on late in the '23 campaign and had a run of 30-plus Saturday, patiently allowing the line to get on the second level before bursting through a seam.

* There was a nice crowd in Laramie Saturday, taking part in the second open workout of the season. The lower level of the east stands was roughly half full on a 60-plus degree day on the high plains. Players signed autographs after the final whistle. Harsh even got a few -- on his back and chest. These guys are having fun.

* Former starting quarterback Andrew Peasley was in attendance Saturday, along with his wife and young son. Crum was also sitting in the front row behind the home sideline.

University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players

During the summer of 2021, 7220Sports.com counted down the Top 50 football players in University of Wyoming history, presented by Premier Bone & Joint Centers, Worthy of Wyoming.

The rules are simple: What was the player's impact while in Laramie? That means NFL stats, draft status or any other accolade earned outside of UW is irrelevant when it comes to this list.

This isn't a one-man job. This task called for a panel of experts. Joining 7220's Cody Tucker are Robert GagliardiJared NewlandRyan Thorburn, and Kevin McKinney.

We all compiled our own list of 50 and let computer averages do the work. Think BCS -- only we hope this catalog is fairer.

Don't agree with a selection? Feel free to sound off on our Twitter: @7220sports - #Top50UWFB

Gallery Credit: 7220Sports.com

- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players

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