Pokes Practice Report: Message received loud and clear
LARAMIE -- Craig Bohl was less than thrilled after Wednesday's lackluster practice inside War Memorial Stadium.
He didn't love the pace of play. He questioned his team's maturity. Most importantly, Wyoming's ninth-year head coach was thankful the season opener at Illinois was still more than a week away.
That all changed over the last two days.
"I thought we responded well and, as a matter of fact, we had a real robust inside drill that we went live some. It was a very intense practice and guys bounced back," he said. "You could tell by my demeanor I wasn't happy the day before. So that's just maturity, learning how to practice when you're not in full gear. We were in full gear and I thought we got a lot of good work done. I thought we got a lot of good work done today."
MORE UW FOOTBALL NEWS:
The news wasn't all good in Laramie though.
Gunner Gentry appears to have suffered his second straight season-ending knee injury, according to Bohl. On Thursday, the redshirt junior receiver went up for a ball and "landed wrong."
It was a non-contact injury.
"It's something with his knee," he said. "We will get the final reports, but the initial assessment was not good. So it'll look like he'll be done for the year."
The Aurora, Colo., product missed the entire 2021 season after twice rupturing the patellar tendon in his left knee. Mike Grant, UW's wide receivers coach, said before those injuries, Gentry was playing his best football since arriving on campus in 2018.
Her are some other news and notes from Friday's practice:
* Saturday will serve as the final dress rehearsal for the Cowboys before they travel to Champaign on Aug. 27 to kick off the 2022 season. What does that mean exactly? "We'll have a mock game tomorrow where we get ready for Illinois," Bohl said. "Then next week, practice will be there, but we'll really limit the amount of time that we're out on the practice field. I'll make sure we're fresh and know what we're doing."
* Does Bohl like playing in the Zero Week game? Well, sort of. "It can have a huge benefit if it's utilized correctly, not only in the first game, but then throughout the year, because you're basically going a week longer in your regular season," he said. "How to utilize the bye weeks, I think are important. I know (Illinois) coach (Bret) Bielema was wanting to do a zero-week game and we agreed to it and I was comfortable with it. So it's an opportunity to have a national stage and then get some more practice in. But I think if it's not handled correctly, it can be detrimental. I think we've got a good balance there." Wyoming has a pair of bye weeks this fall, the first coming Oct. 15 and the other right after the meeting on the islands with Hawaii on Nov. 5.
* It's no secret that Bohl loves fullbacks. He said Friday while most coaches around the country wish they had one, Wyoming invests in them, handing out scholarships for the position. "I knew one guy, he said everybody wants a full back, but nobody wants to pay for a fullback," Bohl joked, referring to college and the NFL. Bohl added that he thinks the Cowboys have a good one in Gillette native Caleb Driskill. "He is really continuing to improve," Bohl said. "He's got good strength, he's 245 (pounds) and it gives us an element that a lot of other people don't have ... We think he can be a significant player for us this year."
* Why is the fullback position so important in Bohl's offense? That answer is obvious. "Our run game is complex," he said. "We also think that can be an asset for our pass game. But the number of runs that we have, and the attention and the amount of time that we spend on it, is pretty significant." For example, the Cowboys threw the ball 162 times a season ago. That's an average of less than 13 attempts per game. How much did they run? 543 times. That's roughly 42 carries per game.
* Bohl threw out a stat -- that he fittingly got from a coach from Army -- that "89%" of the time a team rushes for even one more yard than its opponent, they win. "He pulled it out," Bohl joked of the random stat, " but I think it's part of our nature."
* It's almost game time. Bohl said he can determine that without even looking at a calendar. "I can tell it's getting to be about time," he said. "We're never going to be perfect, but I know my mentality. It's about time to play a game because I'm getting edgy. At least if you ask my wife, she would say that."
PRESS PASS: Roaming The War
-PRESS PASS: Roaming The War