LARAMIE -- Craig Bohl was in a joyous mood Tuesday night.

Why? His Cowboys have continued to improve throughout the spring, for one. Secondly, the annual spring game is on the horizon. Remember, COVID-19 wiped out the entire camp this time a year ago.

It's not coach speak when Bohl looked into the camera lens during his bi-weekly press conference and asked fans to be in the stands inside War Memorial Stadium Saturday afternoon in Laramie.

He meant it.

"It's an opportunity to get back to doing some normal things," Wyoming's eighth-year head coach said. "All the arrows are pointing up so it's going to be a game-like atmosphere."

Senior safety Braden Smith echoed Bohl's sentiments, adding how awkward it was to play in front of empty stadiums last fall.

"I think it'll be nice to have the fans back," he said. "I think it'll be the first kind of big event that is kind of back to normal. So, I think once that happens, at least for me, personally, I know once I see the fans and everything this Saturday, it's going to feel a lot better."

 

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Bohl added even the school's unofficial mascot will be in attendance. You know, the horse and rider who leads the team out of the locker room, blazing down the center of Jonah Field?

"His name is War Paint," he said with a smile. "The other guy we had one time backed up and about ran into me, so we got a new guy. That is a true story ... Damn, I come to Wyoming and get run over by a horse."

All kidding aside, Bohl said he is excited to show off the progress his team has made over what will be 15 spring practices. He hopes to show off the Cowboys' "re-engineered" offense, too. Mainly, he wants his players -- all of them -- to have fun in an atmosphere that includes you.

"We're going to try to play all the players who have participated this spring," he said. "I think that that's really a good thing. I know that there's some guys who are maybe from this area who are going to have some relatives come and watch them play. So, to get them on the field is going to be important."

This won't be one of those situational spring games, according to Bohl. There won't be series starting inside of the red zone, 45-yard field-goal attempts in a hurry up fashion or two-minute offenses. Not unless the situation itself calls for it.

"We're pretty traditional here," Bohl said. "So, we're going to play a regular game. At times, we've had a running clock. I think we'll have a normal game. I'll look at the length of quarters that we have, but I think it's really important."

Gates will open at 1 p.m. and kickoff is scheduled for 2.

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