Pokes bust out the pads for Week 2 of spring
* University of Wyoming Athletics media relations release
LARAMIE -- The second week of Wyoming Cowboy spring practice began on Tuesday and saw the Pokes practice in full pads. It was the second full-padded practice of the spring for Wyoming.
UW put on full pads for the first time this past Saturday.
Head coach Craig Bohl talked about some of the areas the Cowboys have been focusing on early in spring drills, and he spoke about a couple of the more experienced position groups on the 2022 Wyoming roster.
“We thought there were some good things from Saturday’s practice,” said Bohl. “While we were in full pads, there was no full contact as there are only a limited number of full contact practices allowed during spring but it was a chance for our players to work on carrying their pads. We worked on some more of our power running game. We’re pleased with the progress of our quarterbacks, and we are particularly pleased with the tight end position. I think that is probably going to be one of our strong suits this coming year.”
Talented Tight Ends
The returning tight end group features a good blend of players with different skills, from a number of talented pass catchers to some bigger tight ends, who excel at blocking. It is also a deep group with five returning players with game experience.
Chief among the group are junior Treyton Welch (26 career games/17 career starts), sophomore tight end/fullback Parker Christensen (18 games/13 starts) and junior Jackson Marcotte (24 games/1 start). Add to that group junior Colin O’Brien (14 games/2 starts) and sophomore Nick Miles (11 games/0 starts) to round out the deep group of tight ends.
Welch caught 19 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns last season and stands 6’3” and 242 pounds. Christensen, who is 6’2” and weighs in at 235, had 13 catches for 127 yards in 2021. O’Brien, 6’6” and 241 pounds, caught two passes for 27 yards a year ago. Marcotte is the biggest of the tight end group, measuring 6’7” and weighing 263 pounds. He had one reception for six yards in 2021. Those four combined for 35 receptions for 323 receiving yards and two TDs last season. Miles, like Marcotte, is a bigger tight end, standing 6’5” and weighing in at 261 pounds.
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“We’re really deep at that position, and we’ll utilize that,” said Bohl. “It’s taken a couple years, but we have a nice combination of some big guys along with some more mobile guys like Treyton and Parker, who can really stretch the field.”
Tuesday was a practice used to emphasize some aspects of the kicking game, along with continuation of installation on both sides of the ball.
“We’re making progress throughout our football team,” said Bohl. “Going through spring you’re always going to be thin in a couple areas. We’re a little bit concerned about the depth at defensive end and while we have some experienced individuals on the offensive line, I’m a little bit concerned about the overall depth there.
“I do want to acknowledge that Titus Swen is really doing some exceptional things at the running back position. We’re really pleased with him.”
Offensive Line Returns a Strong Core of Veterans in 2022
While the 2022 version of the Cowboy Football team is younger than a year ago, one area of the team that returns a strong core of veteran players is the offensive line.
Senior Eric Abojei is entering his fifth year playing for the Cowboys. He has started games in each of the past four seasons -- all at left guard. Abojei has played in 33 career games and has 26 career starts to his credit entering the 2022 season.
Junior Frank Crum has played in 31 career games and started 24 over the past three seasons. All of Crum’s starts have come at right tackle, including the last 19 consecutive.
Zach Watts (22 games played/8 career starts) is another offensive guard with starting experience. Watts has started games in each of the past four seasons at left and right guard, and Latrell Bible (20 games played/8 career starts) started five games at tackle in 2020 and three at guard in 2021. He is also being looked at as a potential center for the Cowboys.
“We do have some experienced players returning up front,” said Bohl. “Eric and Frank are two guys who have a lot of experience. We’ve actually been playing Eric both at the tackle and the guard position this spring. Zach Watts is another guy who has played quite a bit. We have some experience there with some guys who’ve got a lot of playing time, however unlike last year when we had a large group of players with experience, we’re going to need to have some new guys come to the forefront and that should start taking shape toward the tail end of spring. Fia (Nofoafia Tulafono) is doing some good things among that group of younger offensive linemen.”
Tulafono appeared in 12 of 13 games during the 2021 season, playing a combination of offensive and special teams snaps. He could play either center or offensive guard for UW.
The size of those experienced players is also impressive. Abojei stands 6’5” and weighs 330. Crum is 6’7” and 315. Watts measures 6’5” and 307 pounds and Tulafono is 6’2” and 325. Bible at 6’4” and 270 pounds is the only one under 300 pounds among that group.
The next practice for the Cowboys will be on Thursday, April 7.
2022 University of Wyoming Football Spring Practice Schedule
Tuesday, March 29 3:50 p.m. Stretch, 6:20 Approximate End Time, Media Interviews After Practice in HAPC Team Room
Thursday, March 31 3:50 p.m. Stretch, 6:20 Approximate End Time, Media Interviews After Practice n HAPC Team Room
Saturday, April 2 11:30 a.m., Stretch, No Media Interviews on Saturdays
Tuesday, April 5 3:50 p.m. Stretch, 6:20 Approximate End Time, Media Interviews After Practice in HAPC Team Room
Thursday, April 7 Late afternoon (Practice #5)
Saturday, April 9 TBA (Practice #6)
Tuesday, April 12 Late afternoon (Practice #7)
Thursday, April 14 Late afternoon (Practice #8)
Saturday, April 16 TBA (Practice #9)
Tuesday, April 19 Late afternoon (Practice #10)
Thursday, April 21 Late afternoon (Practice #11)
Saturday, April 23 TBA (Practice #12)
Tuesday, April 26 Late afternoon (Practice #13)
Thursday, April 28 Late afternoon (Practice #14)
Saturday, April 30 2:00 p.m. (Spring Game, War Memorial Stadium, Open to the Public, Practice #15)
The Spring Game on Saturday, April 30 will be open to the public. All other practices are closed.