Wyoming begins final week of spring ball
Laramie, Wyo. -- Monday morning saw the beginning of the final week of spring practice for the Wyoming Cowboy football team. The day began outside on Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium, but a few minutes into practice an early morning snow shower saw the Cowboys move into the Indoor Practice Facility.
As with the majority of spring practices, the offense and defense were awarded points for each practice period during Monday's practice. The Cowboy defense won practice by a score of 50-45.
The defensive staff continued to experiment with some players at new positions. Among some veterans seen practicing at different positions on Monday were senior cornerback Marqueston Huff, who was taking snaps at free safety, and sophomore defensive end Eddie Yarbrough, who was seen playing at defensive tackle.
"We continue to move guys around as we have all spring," said Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen. "We're looking at guys at different spots. This is only the second practice that we've had him (Huff) there, so I've only seen him on tape there one day. But he has the ability to make that change. We're searching for all the right pieces at the right places. We are trying to find the two best corners and two best safeties in whatever combination works best to help our football team."
The defensive line experiment with Yarbrough at defensive tackle saw senior defensive tackle Patrick Mertens move to nose tackle. The D-Line combination also saw recently converted middle linebacker Siaosi Hala'api'api at the Buck position (hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end) and junior Sonny Puletasi at defensive end. Earlier in the spring, Hala'api'api and Puletasi were both playing at the Buck position. The new combination gave the defensive coaching staff an opportunity to see both of them on the field together at the same time.
"Like with Marqueston, we've only been experimenting with that combination on the defensive line for two days, and I've only seen one day of film," said Christensen. "From what I saw on that one day, it was good. We'll watch the tape of this morning's practice later day and evaluate those guys and see how they fit into the puzzle and we'll continue to do that this final week of spring practice."
Christensen was asked by media after Monday's practice to evaluate how his team has made it through spring ball health-wise, and what his strength and conditioning staff will work on as the players transition into summer conditioning to maintain their health and their conditioning.
"We've had a few nagging injuries -- a few bumps and bruises -- but for the most part I think we've held up pretty good," Christensen replied. "We've been pretty healthy.
"We don't need to run long distances in football, because everything we do is short bursts. We have to train our players' systems that way. That is how we've conditioned them throughout spring practice, and we'll continue to do that through our summer program."
The head coach was pleased to see both teams compete well in what was one of the closest final scores in a practice this spring -- 50-45 in favor of the defense.
"I noticed the defense was up pretty big earlier, but the offense did a nice job of coming back," said Christensen. It was nice to see a good balance out there today."
There are three spring practices remaining on the Cowboys' schedule. This coming Wednesday's practice will be similar to Monday's, with a mixture of team and fundamental work. Friday will be a lighter, non-contact, practice leading up to the Spring Game on Saturday, April 27 at 2:00 p.m. The format for the Spring Game will be announced later this week.
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