Pokes wrap up second spring workout - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Pokes wrap up second spring workout

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The Wyoming wrapped up their second spring practice Thursday, spending half of it on individual and group work by position, and the other half on team work.

      Following Thursday’s two-hour workout, head coach Craig Bohl provided an early evaluation of several positions, including safety, running back and quarterback.  He began his post-practice talking about sophomore to be Andrew Wingard, UW’s returning starter at free safety.

      “Andrew Wingard continues to make progress, and I’m excited about him,” said Bohl.  “He’s picked up a lot of weight and we think it’s good weight.  He was at 185 pounds before and now he’s up to 205 pounds.  I think even with that added weight, he continues to move well.  He continues to work on his man-to-man skills and his zone reads.  He is a seasoned player, even though he will only be a sophomore.”

      Bohl was next asked about the play of the Cowboys’ running back corps during the first week of spring drills.

      “Brian Hill  is an excellent runner, and he will continue to improve his running skills,” commented Bohl.  “He is 10 to 15 pounds heavier, but I don’t see him losing a step.  He can continue to work on his pass protection, and between his pass protection and his receiving skills those are probably areas where he can improve the most.”

      The most experienced returning Cowboy at running back is redshirt senior Shaun Wick, who was forced to miss the majority of the 2015 season after suffering a concussion.  He was granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA due to missing the final eight games of last season.

      “Shaun is a critical component of our football team,” said Bohl.  “He’s played a lot of football here.  He’s played a lot of big games, and he’s produced in a lot of big games.  For us, when we’ve been successful we’ve always had a one-two punch at running back.  Shaun is a seasoned player, and we’re going to count on his ability not only to run the ball but to be a great pass protector, as well.”

      Bohl was asked specifically about Wick’s running style and if the head coach had noticed Wick changing his running style at all since coming back from his concussion.

      “I haven’t noticed a bit of difference,” said Bohl.  “I’m sure those are things that he has thought about, but when I see him get his hands on the football I see him making the same explosive runs this spring, and I’m sure we’ll see that again this coming season.”

      The head coach was also asked about the progress of some of the younger running backs on the team in Nico Evans and Milo Hall.

      “I’ve seen some really good things from them thus far this spring,” said Bohl.  “They’ve broken off a couple big runs.  I think Milo has shown some of the speed we saw from him when we were recruiting him out of Cherry Creek High School in Denver.  Last year, Nico was limited due to a hamstring pull, but he is back at full speed this spring and has broken off some good runs the first two days of practice.”

      Sophomore quarterbacks Josh Allen and Nick Smith are in one of the most notable position battles this spring.  Bohl was asked what he is focused on when evaluating the two quarterbacks play this spring.

      “Right now the biggest thing is their decision making,” said Bohl.  “We give them a lot of different looks.  We run a complex offense, a pro-style offense that means everything from setting pass protections to going through reads, so the decisions they make are really important.

      “Certainly we look at their completion percentage and accuracy -- that is important, as well -- but right now we want to see how they go about making decisions and we chart that every day.”

      The Cowboys will conclude the first week of spring drills on Saturday.  Saturday’s practice will be the first practice this year where the Pokes will wear full pads.  The exact time for Saturday’s practice has not yet been determined.

      “We’ll be in full pads on Saturday, but the structure of practice won’t change drastically,” commented Bohl.  “We will probably incorporate a little more kicking.  We won’t have any tackling to the ground.  With concussions the way they are, we’re going to limit the number of times we have full contact.  There will only be a certain amount of days we will have full contact this spring.”

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