Pokes Practice Report: Injury bug hits nickelback spot
LARAMIE -- Less than 24 hours before the Cowboys first true scrimmage of the fall Saturday afternoon inside War Memorial Stadium, Craig Bohl called it a situation where you "hold your breath" when it comes to injuries.
When the dust settled, Wyoming's ninth-year head coach said his team, for the most part, came out of that 99-play practice unscathed.
Did you see the four words between the commas above?
Buck Coors, a player Bohl raved about just last week, suffered a broken leg and will miss the entire 2022 season. The redshirt freshman was repping this offseason at the nickelback spot behind starter Keonte Glinton.
"(It) is unfortunate, but he'll be back next year," Bohl said of the 5-foot-11, 187-pound Loveland, Colo., product. "... One of the things that did hurt about losing Buck, I mean, beyond his name, which is a Wyoming guy through and through -- not that I drink Coors beer -- I mean he was really making great strides and that's part of the walk-on program. You know, without question, the nickel spot is important, it's an everyday player in our league."
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Coors, along with running back Jeremy Hollingsworth (ACL) and Air Force transfer, TJ Urban (ACL), are the only three known season-ending injuries this offseason. Alabama transfer Keelan Cox last Monday suffered a fractured hip. The defensive end is expected to miss two months.
Bohl said true freshman Malique Singleton will get a look at nickel. Redshirt freshman Wrook Brown will also move up the depth chart before the Aug. 27 opener at Illinois.
Live action is always a slippery slope, Bohl said. But the importance of contact can't be understated.
"You understand that's part of what you do," he said. "But it was really important for us to get some live work with officials and coaches off the sideline and everybody scrimmaged. We did give Titus (Swen) and some reps under full contact. I've learned a long time ago, it's unfair to a guy to send them in a ballgame without taking some live hits. So we were able to do that, as well."
Here are some other tidbits from Monday's practice on a muddy North 40:
* Wyoming will likely play on natural grass just one time this season. That will come Sept. 24 when the Pokes tangle with their old friends, BYU, in Provo. Heavy rains and hail pounded the Gem City on Saturday, causing flooding throughout town. The field wasn't exactly in great shape Monday. "Today's practice on the North 40 was a little bit sloppy, but that was OK," Bohl said. "It's going be the last time we're on the grass, but I want to say kudos to our maintenance crew, they did a great job with that grass up there."
* What stood out to the head coach during UW's scrimmage? The big boys up front. "The scrimmage was productive -- it looked like football," Bohl said. "I thought we were fairly clean, which is encouraging. Some plays were made on both sides of the line of scrimmage, but we're particularly pleased with our offensive line. I thought they did really well at the point of attack and we got some movement."
* Bohl has raved about the No. 1 unit throughout camp. Are any back ups coming along? "I think Caden Barnett made some progress, so we're pleased with him," he said of the 6-foot-5, 308-pound redshirt freshman. "Marco Machado has done a pretty favorable job." Machado, a reserve junior center, is listed at 6-foot-4, 301 pounds and appeared in all 13 games in 2021.
* Bohl hasn't released a depth chart yet, but that day is coming. "We're making some progress there enough that we're going to be able to go into the Illinois game -- once we finalized our depth chart -- without having a ton of musical chairs," he said, specifically referring to the offensive line. "That is so important."
* Bohl has also failed to name a starting quarterback for the upcoming date in Champaign, but he did say Utah State transfer Andrew Peasley has gotten a better grasp of the offense since arriving in Laramie last winter. "His completion percentage and his decisions have improved," Bohl said of Saturday's scrimmage. "You know, I probably underestimated the transition on grasping a new offense. He's still in a competitive situation, but I think he's understanding there's such a world of difference between being in a fast-paced offense where you clap three times (and snap the ball).You're going to where you've got terminology that's about this long, you're in the huddle and you're managing. So, he's done well." Peasley is the only signal caller on the roster with any experience at the FBS level.
* Who will be the Cowboys punter at Illinois? Bohl knows, but he isn't saying. "Yep," Bohl said when asked if incumbent Ralph Fawaz or Clayton Stewart had separated themselves in the race. "... We'll name that. You'll have a depth chart at certain positions."
* Who will handle kickoff duties? "I think John has really done a great job," Bohl said, referring to John Hoyland. "He's worked hard and applied himself in the weight room and that has helped his leg swing. He's really been dead-eye thus far with his field-goal kicking, but I think John will be our kickoff guy." Hoyland was 10-of-14 on field-goal opportunities a season ago and connected on all 40 point-after attempts.
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