Monday news & notes
LARAMIE -- As always, Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl kicked off his weekly press conference Monday giving plenty of respect to the opponent, its coaches and players.
Steve Addazio, Colorado State's new head coach, did much of the same during his time behind the microphones.
He left out a couple of words though -- "Wyoming Cowboys."
It's Border War week, and though the trash talk -- so far -- is at a minimum, the importance of the 112th meeting between these two programs is obvious. The Bronze Boot, the traveling trophy that each team things "belongs" to them, is on the line.
It's gotten awfully comfortable in the trophy case in Laramie, spending the last four seasons in the Gem City. Can Wyoming make it five straight Thursday night?
That's the plan.
Let's hear what Bohl and some of his players had to say Monday:
- Sophomore running back Titus Swen, who has yet to play a snap this season, has opted out, according to Bohl.
- Ravontae Holt was injured in the second quarter of last Friday's home win over Hawaii. The big defensive tackle is listed as "questionable" for Thursday night in Fort Collins. Nickel back Keyon Blankenbaker is also dealing with a hamstring injury.
- Addazio told the media that he knows who his starting quarterback will be Thursday but he isn't saying. Bohl said his team will prepare for both Todd Centeio and Patrick O'Brien. Centeio started for the Rams on opening night in Fresno. He completed just 17-of-33 passes for 141 yards. He is CSU's big rushing threat, taking off 13 times for a team-high 80 yards. O'Brien played late in the fourth, completing 7-of-10 throws for 82 yards and a touchdown in the 38-17 loss.
- Dawaiian McNeely nearly got some reps in the Hawaii game. The 6-foot, 2-inch 203-pound freshman running back will be third on the depth chart this week behind starter Xazavian Valladay and back-up Trey Smith.
- Wyoming will not practice Tuesday. In fact, no college football team will. The NCAA is making it a mandatory off day so players, coaches and team personnel can vote in the presidential election.
- Sean Chambers underwent surgery on his broken fibula last week. Bohl said there was no ligament damage and Chambers, if all goes well, could be back in business in 10-to-12 weeks. Bohl said he expects the redshirt sophomore quarterback to be ready to go for spring practice.
- Trey McBride is arguably the Rams' biggest weapon on offense. The 6-foot, 4-inch 260-pound tight end snagged eight passes for 130 yards and a touchdown against the Bulldogs. Last year in Laramie, McBride caught six passes for 78 yards.
- Pete Kaligis, Wyoming's defensive tackles coach and longest-tenured member of the coaching staff, got choked up Monday talking about redshirt freshman Jordan Bertagnole. It was too good for a brief, watch for a story later this week on the tackle from Casper.
- Outside linebacker Charles Hicks Monday was named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week after racking up four tackles, two sacks, a pair of tackles for loss and an interception.
- Hicks said he got messages from Logan Wilson and Cassh Maluia after his big night against the Rainbow Warriors. "It was cool of them to take the time to even acknowledge it. It felt good," Hicks said.
- Chad Muma, the Cowboys' starting middle linebacker and Colorado native, said Bohl pulled the players from that state and the Wyoming products off to the side to let them know that it is up to them to let the other team members the meaning behind the Border War. For Muma, this is old news. His father and grandfather played for Wyoming. "It's been special since I learned about football," he said of the Wyoming-CSU matchup.
- Ayden Eberhardt received plenty of questions about his little sister Lexi Monday. Why? Because she plays basketball at CSU. He said former UW women's basketball coach Joe Legerski stopped him in the lunch room when he heard about Lexi's decision. " He told me, 'how could you let that happen? You should've told us,'" Eberhardt joked.
- The week leading up to last season's Border War was a tough one for UW running back Xazavian Valladay. He could barely walk. The previous two weeks, Valladay carried the ball an eye-popping 62 times for 238 yards in back-to-back losses to Boise State and Utah State. Playing against the Rams wasn't looking likely. That is until Bohl lit a fire under the then-sophomore. "I remember what he told me word for word," Valladay smiled. Here are the cliff notes: It's CSU week. Once you get out there, you'll feel no pain. That's exactly what happened, Valladay said. On a frigid night inside War Memorial Stadium, Valladay rushed the ball 27 times for 154 yards.