Craig Bohl Likes Competition He’s Seen From Cowboys This Fall
* University of Wyoming press release
LARAMIE -- As the Wyoming Cowboy football team wrapped up its fifth practice of the fall on Monday morning, the first thing that head coach Craig Bohl mentioned to media in his post-practice press conference was the high level of competition he has seen from his team this fall.
“We are making good progress and I think are players are doing a good job of competing against one another,” said Bohl. “I thought our defense was really moving around well today. We started out practice with some pass-under-pressure situations and I thought our defense was really pressing the quarterback."
Bohl did have one injury update on Monday.
“We are staying fairly healthy, but Sabastian Harsh -- they’re going to remove some of the wire in his knee and he hasn’t been practicing lately. We are anticipating him being back though.”
Bohl has mentioned the interior defensive line as a strength on this year’s Cowboy defense, with three talented returners back in starting nose tackle Cole Godbout, starting defensive tackle Jordan Bertagnole and key contributor Gavin Meyer.
When asked about some of the other Cowboys competing for playing time at those sports, specifically Caleb Robinson and Ben Florentine, Bohl responded, “It is good competition right now between those guys. Ben is probably a little bit ahead, but nothing brings out the best in someone like competition. Caleb had a car accident this summer that put him behind with his conditioning, and he’s just starting to catch up. Oscar (Giles, defensive tackle coach) is continuing to look at that. That is one thing that has been helpful for us is we’ve been able to develop more depth.”
Sophomore Caden Barnett is being looked to fill the right tackle position on the Cowboy offense this fall.
Barnett saw his first game action as a redshirt freshman in 2022, playing in all 13 games for the Pokes and starting at right tackle for an injured Frank Crum in the win over Air Force. With Crum moving from right tackle to left tackle for this coming season, Barnett is now the heir apparent on the right side.
“He (Caden Barnett) is a really intense guy and he practices really hard,” said Bohl. “Football is important to him. He continues to improve.”
Another key returner on the offensive side of the ball is wide receiver Wyatt Wieland, who is entering his sixth year in the Wyoming Football program.
Wieland is the Cowboys’ leading returning receiver in terms of catches. He caught 23 passes last season. His 299 yards is second best among all Cowboy returners -- second only to tight end Treyton Welch’s 308 yards a year ago.
“Wyatt (Wieland) has been really valuable,” said Bohl. “He’s continued to grow and mature. He’s a six-year guy. He’s one of our fastest players and he is very, very competent.”
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Another member of the receiving corps that the Cowboy coaching staff is looking forward to seeing develop is tight end John Michael Gyllenborg. The now sophomore had an outstanding spring practice and because of his skill set is projected to be much more involved in the offense this coming season.
“He (Gyllenborg) just came back to practice,” said Bohl. “He was violently sick with a stomach virus. He is a player who is able to stretch the field. He has really good hands, moves well, is a weapon in the passing game and is a capable blocker.”
In the Cowboy secondary, a player who the Cowboy defensive coaches are happy to see back healthy is sophomore Buck Coors. He missed the first eight games of the ‘22 season due to injury, but returned to appear in Wyoming’s final five games. Coors was moved from nickel back to safety during 2023 spring practice.
“He’s (Coors) doing well. There are some things we can continue to look at whether we play him at nickel or safety,” said Bohl. “Last fall, he was emerging and was on a fast track and then he got hurt. I know Coach (Jay) Sawvel is real excited about him and we’re taking a hard look at integrating him.”
Veteran Cowboys Have a Sense of Urgency About Performing Well in Their Final Season
There are a number of players on the 2023 Wyoming roster who have been part of the football program for five and six years, and some of those players, like sixth year offensive tackle Crum, have talked about the sense of urgency they feel now that they are nearing the end of their college careers.
Bohl was asked if he saw that sense of urgency in his veteran players.
“I think all those guys have that sense of urgency,” said Bohl. “As you get to the tail end of your career, as Frank (Crum) was recognizing, this is it. There is no option. This is my last year. You’re seeing that with some other guys like Andrew (Peasley, quarterback) and Wyatt (Wieland).
“It’s been my experience that when you have special years, your oldest, most experienced players have their best years. When you underachieve, it’s typically because those guys are kind of off the mark. Thus far the needle is pointing up with this year’s group.”
Freshmen Making the Adjustment to College Football
The Cowboy coaching staff was very pleased to bring in a large group of freshmen scholarship and walk-on players in this year’s recruiting class. Bohl was asked how he felt his freshman class was adjusting through the first five practices.
“I think that whole group is a deep group,” said Bohl. “There is good length, size, speed and focus in this class. I think the future really looks bright for a lot of those guys for a long, long time. I think they’ve really messed in well and we’re well pleased.”
The Cowboys will practice for the first time this fall in full pads on Tuesday morning at the North 40 practice fields.
Tickets to the 2023 Season
Fans interested in purchasing tickets to the 2023 Wyoming Football season may: go online at www.GoWyo.com/tickets; email firstname.lastname@example.org; call the UW Athletics Ticket Office at (307) 766-7220; or stop by the ticket office on the west side of UW’s Arena-Auditorium.
Season tickets start as low as $170 and single-game tickets start as low as $20 for adults.