LARAMIE — The 2020 college football season is almost upon the Wyoming Cowboys, and following a Friday practice in War Memorial Stadium, head coach Craig Bohl expressed his excitement that he was finally going to see his team play a game.
“About one week from today, we will have landed in Reno. It’s an exciting time. We’re getting close to playing football,” said Bohl. “Our practices have definitely picked up. There is still work to be done. We’re staying relatively healthy, which is encouraging. Tomorrow, we’ll have some similar elements of practice, but we’ll also have a mock game with officials. Tomorrow we’ll elect captains, which will be important. Next week, we’ll still do some padded work at the beginning of the week, but then we’ll back off as we get ready for our first game next Saturday.”
Bohl spoke with media over a Zoom call after Friday’s practice, and one of the first question he received was about COVID testing his team was going through.
Media asked if he and his team had completed their COVID testing for the week?
“We tested again today. Those tests have come back pretty quickly,” said Bohl. “We’ll start another round of tests early next week. I can say we’re well pleased with where we’re at.”
The seventh year head coach of the Cowboys was also asked if the freshmen were back practicing after being quarantined over the past couple of weeks?
“They’re trickling back right now,” said Bohl. “When certain individuals come back is determined by the protocol of who was contact traced, had no symptoms and tested negative compared with those who tested positive. Then there is a protocol they go through with an EKG (electrocardiogram) and echocardiogram to test them further. We have some freshmen who have been cleared and are back out practicing, but we don’t have the whole group yet.”
Are you concerned about the lack of depth you have on the defensive line entering the season?
“We’re concerned about the depth. I’d like to say we are three deep, but we’re not as deep as we have been,” said Bohl. “But we’re well pleased with the guys who are out there. I don’t know how other teams are in terms of depth this year, but we won’t be as deep on the defensive line.”
How has senior free safety Braden Smith played during fall camp?
“I’m really looking forward to seeing Braden (Smith) play this season,” said Bohl. “Braden is a guy who has played a lot of football for us. He believes in the Brown and Gold. We appreciate him and his effort. He’s got a new coach in coach Jay Sawvel, who’s done a good job with him. It will be fun to see him play. He will be playing a lot. We like his skill set and what he’s doing.”
Has the kicking game started to make progress during fall practice?
“I would say that Nick Null will be our punter and our kickoff guy,” the coach said. “We’re still evaluating place-kicking. We’ve got two guys (Luke Glassock and Nick Null) there who are in a pretty tight battle. We’re charting everything. I’ll make that announcement come Monday in terms of who will start as our place-kicker. I think they’re both doing well, but certainly losing Cooper (Rothe) is a big loss. These guys have come in and competed well. I would say Nick’s leg is a little bit stronger than Luke’s, but Luke has been doing some good things, as well. I feel confident in our kicking game, but we’ve lost a four-year starter, and he had ice water running through his veins.”
Is this a stressful time or an exciting time as you are getting close to the season starting?
“I’m looking forward to playing a game,” Bohl said. “Any coach who says he has a great pulse on where his team is at coming out of fall camp, and particularly this year, I don’t think is being totally honest. I have found through the years you think you know about your team until you get in probably the middle of the second quarter of that first game and that is when you find out what type of team you have. For all the upheaval and all the challenges this year, I’m excited that we’re playing, and I know my other colleagues in the Mountain West are excited we’re all playing.”
Will the team have to score more points this season based on the defensive challenges some teams have had in the early part of the college football season?
“I’ll be disappointed if we’re not scoring more points this year,” said Bohl. “If you look at some of the players we’re returning, I think we can be more productive on offense. Tackling is certainly going to be a concern as we play our first game, however in our scrimmage and the things we’ve done in practice to position our guys for a good start to the season I feel good about that. But tackling has been the Achilles heel in some of the early season games I’ve watched.”