Pokes Practice Report: Preparing for Texas Tech? Already?
LARAMIE -- Already thinking about Texas Tech?
You're not alone.
After Wyoming topped Air Force last September, players and coaches credited some of that dominant performance to preparation. That's nothing new, of course, when it comes to facing the Falcons and their high-powered option attack. That game plan, though, was devised, in part, last spring.
"Yeah, we're looking at that," UW head coach Craig Bohl said, referring to the Cowboys' opening day foe. "There are things that we'll sprinkle in. Typically, we've always looked at some of our first upcoming opponents during spring a little bit.
"... I do want to say, I have watched quite a bit of tape on Texas Tech and they are really challenging. They're a very good football team and well coached with a lot of explosive weapons."
The Red Raiders will travel to Laramie Sept. 2.
Preparing for Air Force, Bohl added, has always been a staple during these 15 practice sessions. Though Wyoming has typically defended that triple-threat offense since Bohl arrived in 2014, last season's 17-14 victory featured a stat you don't often see -- Cowboys 180, Falcons 171.
Those were the team's rushing totals.
"I can tell you, we'll look at Air Force again this spring," he said. "Air Force is always such a challenge. So, we'll spend the time."
The Pokes and Falcons will meet Oct. 14 inside Falcon Stadium.
Here are some other news and notes from Thursday's press conference:
* Wyoming is missing a few linebackers this spring, including leading tackler Easton Gibbs. Shae Suiaunoa and Cole DeMarzo also won't participate in these 15 practices. Bohl said all three are recovering from offseason surgeries. " I remember seeing Easton (last fall) and, I mean, he was just barely making it from week to week with the shoulder (injury)," he added.
* With those three out of the lineup, Bohl said Connor Shay has stepped up through the team's first two practices. "Connor is doing some good things over there," he said of the junior from Danville, Calif. "... He's taken advantage of that repetition." Shay, who was a mainstay on UW's special team's unti, appeared in 12 games last fall and tallied three tackles.
* Who is catching Bohl's eye early on? For one, John Michael Gyllenborg. The sophomore tight end caught just three passes in 2022, but all of those came in the regular-season finale against Fresno State. The Leawood, Kan., native rolled up 21 yards in that lopsided loss to the Bulldogs. "We saw him emerging last year," Bohl said. "Just the presence of him out there -- and that's no knock on Treyton (Welch) at all, Treyton has, so far, had a really good camp -- but to have two really explosive tight ends that can stretch the field vertically, I think is really going to help us." Bohl added the 6-foot-5, 243-pound pass catcher was a nuisance on scout team last fall.
* Tyrecus Davis is another player that has impressed the coaching staff. The junior college transfer from Navarro CC has the "hunger" and "quick feet" to make an immediate impact at the cornerback spot, Bohl said. "It'll be fun to see him progress," he said, adding that Davis has a child and his family made the move to Laramie with him. "But I can tell you what, there is no sense of entitlement. He is competitive and he's got good ability. That's going to give us something to work with."
* Don't expect to hear the name Deshawn Woods this spring. The former four-star recruit -- only the second player in program history with that distinction -- is focusing on academics, per Bohl. By all accounts, the former Mizzou commit has all the technique and tools at the offensive tackle spot. We will just have to wait to see them.
* How is Gunner Gentry progressing? The senior wide receiver is coming off consecutive torn patellar tendons in his left leg. Bohl said Gentry is sporting a red jersey right now, which means he is not taking contact. "He's paid his dues, as far as all the (injury) issues," Bohl said. "You know, he and I had a really frank conversation as far as where he's going to need to be. He looked like he was going to be a really utilized weapon last year, and when he got hurt, it was tough. Then I think he went in the tank a little bit whether he wanted to play again. He and I kind of had a really frank conversation, 'OK, if you want to play, these are the things you need to do." Gentry hasn't played since the COVID-19-shortened 2020 campaign.
* Eric Abojei worked out for NFL scouts Thursday in Laramie. How did it go? Bohl, at first, declined to comment. Then he offered up this tidbit: "I would say a mixed bag," he said of his former offensive tackle. "... I'm really rooting for him, but I don't know if today went great though."
* Wyoming practiced outside for the first time today. Breezy conditions were not kind to the Cowboys' All-American placekicker. "Quite frankly, it had an impact on John Hoyland in the kicking game today," Bohl said. "He was off a little bit." Not to worry -- it's early.
* The Pokes, for the first time this spring, will practice in full pads Saturday afternoon.
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