Pokes Practice Report: Defense takes center stage Monday
LARAMIE -- Wyoming's defensive front flexed its muscles once again in the Cowboys' fifth practice of the fall Monday morning in Laramie.
How good has that unit been?
Craig Bohl made this tongue-and-cheek reference today.
"I saw some good things today, particularly on defense," UW's ninth-year head coach said. "I'm in hopes that's because we're like the '85 Bears."
That "46 defense" that was perfected by coordinator Buddy Ryan allowed just 12.4 points per game. Led by linebacker Mike Singletary, among many, many others, Chicago pitched back-to-back shutouts in the playoffs and held its opponents to 10 points or less 11 times during the regular season.
"I don't think we're like the '85 Bears," he said with a smirk, "but I'll take a look at the tape here in a little bit."
Cole Godbout and Jordan Bertagnole have impressed on the interior, but again, Bohl raved about the production from his young defensive ends, especially Sabastian Harsh.
"He is really, I think, coming into his own," he said of the 6-foot-3, 237-pound sophomore. "You know, he's an athletic guy that played quarterback in high school. He's really learning how to play defensive end better. We always knew he was an athletic guy."
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If you feel like you've read that before, you're not losing your mind -- you have. Bohl has brought up Harsh's name at nearly every post-practice interview this offseason. He is also starting to repeat names like Oluwaseyi Omotosho and DeVonne Harris, too.
"I was really pleased with some of that explosion we have at the defensive end position," Bohl continued.
That's good news for a team that tallied just 24 sacks (11th in the Mountain West) in 2021 and just 10 of those came from the edge rushers.
Before Bohl reviews film, he wondered aloud -- was the defense that dominant or is the offense sputtering early this fall?
"Every day, there's some ebb and flow," he said. "I would say today our defensive front pretty much had a great day against our offense ... We put a lot of pressure on the quarterback. We purposely put the quarterback under duress today and purposely put the offensive line under duress today with a drill we call "PUP," which is pass under pressure. And during that time, it's an indication, I think, we have some explosive guys on defense and we've got some work to do on offense."
Bohl was blunt when asked if a third tackle is beginning to emerge behind Frank Crum and Eric Abojei. "I would say no, right now."
Here are some other tidbits from the Pokes' latest workout on the North 40:
* Gunner Gentry was the only player to not make it through practice today, according to Bohl. The redshirt junior receiver is still not 100% healthy and is still recovering from back-to-back patellar tendon tears. "He's got a little bit of, I don't know, maybe tendinitis or something from that knee that he's still rehabbing," Bohl said. "So we're anticipating some of those issues."
* Wyoming has just three seniors listed on its official roster: Abojei, Deron Harrell and Miles Williams. According to ESPN, the Cowboys feature the third-youngest team in the nation, ahead of conference foes Nevada and Hawaii. Does that type of inexperience worry the head coach? "You know, last year we had a very, very experienced group," Bohl said. "This year is probably not as experienced on the back end, but you know, there's good leadership that we have out there."
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