Junior Azizi Hearn

Junior Azizi Hearn

Junior Azizi Hearn played in all 13 games in 2019 with 10 starts and finished the season 37 total tackles.

LARAMIE — With about a week remaining prior to the 2020 season opener, the University of Wyoming Cowboys are making their final preparations for the start of the football season. Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl and his team are looking forward to finally playing a game after months of on-again, off-again preparations.

The Cowboys will open their season versus conference opponent the Nevada Wolf Pack in Reno on Saturday, Oct. 24, in a game that will kick off at 5 p.m. and will be televised by CBS Sports Network. Nevada, like the Cowboys, is coming off a bowl appearance last season.

The Wolf Pack are led by head coach Jay Norvell, who Bohl pointed out is someone he’s known for many years.

“I’m known coach (Jay) Norvell a long time and actually coached his brother many years ago,” said Bohl. “We have a lot of common people we know. Their defensive coordinator (Brian Ward) and I worked together, and their corners coach (Freddie Banks) is a guy who I coached so it will be a fun game from that perspective. Outside of that, our players — I can tell — are starting to understand that game time is coming. We had a spirited practice today, and we’re getting ourselves ready to go. We’ll continue to work hard, but we’ll back off some of our contact as we get closer.”

Bohl was asked on Wednesday’s Zoom call with media if he had made a decision on his starter at quarterback, and the head coach responded with a common theme that he has spoken about throughout fall camp — that sophomore Sean Chambers and redshirt freshman Levi Williams with both play in games this season.

“I think we’ll make a decision after this Saturday,” said Bohl. “I think we’re going to stay with our overall statement that both guys will play. Right now Sean (Chambers) has a little bit of an edge off of his body of work, but we’re well pleased with Levi. I want to make real clear that coach (Brent) Vigen and myself feel very comfortable playing either one of them and both of them will be playing in the games. We’ll announce our starter after this weekend.”

Other media questions that Bohl addressed included:

Are you planning to scrimmage again this coming Saturday?

“We’ll do some team work, but we’re not going to do a lot of full tackling,” said Bohl. “We’re going to go thru a mock-up game,going through all different kinds of situations. We’ll have some full contact work this next week, but we’re about done with that.”

Where do you feel your defense is in terms of tackling as you near the start of the season?

“Going into our scrimmage, I was concerned about that but by and large I thought we tackled well,” said Bohl. “Now that’s no guarantee we’re going to go into this first game tackling well, but there were not a number of missed tackles (in our scrimmage). As I watch all these games around the country, I’m seeing more missed tackles than I normally see.”

How do you think some of your coverage units on special teams may be affected by not having the freshmen in practice the last several days due to them being quarantined?

“That is a great question, because it certainly is a different look,” Bohl said. “We were well pleased with the recruiting of this freshman class, and we were well pleased with the work they had done this summer. Unfortunately, the number of freshmen who will be playing in this first game I think will be very, very minimal, so we’re not going to be counting on those guys right away.”

The outside linebacker and defensive end positions are two positions where new players will be stepping in this season. Bohl was asked if there were any players at those spots who were starting to separate themselves in the competition?

“I think we’re getting pretty far along in determining who our linebackers will be,” said Bohl. “I’m going to hold on announcing anything on that, the same with the defensive ends. We’ll release that come this Monday.”

You have several Thursday and Friday games this season with the announcement of the new TV schedule. Do you wish you had more full weeks to prepare for games or do you like having those Thursday and Friday games to get more national exposure for the conference?

“If I had my druthers, every game would be Saturday afternoon at 1 o’clock,” the coach said. “But I do think it is important that we have two great national partners with CBS Sports Network and FOX. I also know that it is important this year, with the compressed schedule and certain contractual obligations that we have, that the Mountain West do a really good job fulfilling those obligations and they’ve done that. That means we’re playing a lot of Thursday and Friday games. We’ll play when we’re called to play.”

For a Q&A with junior tight end Nate Weinman, see this story at rocketminer.com.

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