It feel so good to say this, Wyoming Cowboy football is back!

The media and public were only allowed to catch the first 30 minutes of practice Monday, but it was nice to see a few things. The first two practices this fall are helmet only which means no-contact.  A handful of media types and a couple dozen fans watched the team run through a variety of plays in the first 20 minutes of practice, then a 10 minute stretching routine.

Although really getting a feel for a team is not possible in 30 minutes, here's what I think you need to know:

  1. Craig Bohl's presence.  Craig let his coordinators and position coaches do most of the talking.  That's not to say, he wasn't around to survey every detail of each play. I became used to seeing Coach Bohl in his suit and tie this summer. Today it was practice shorts and a warm cup of coffee.  Even a dressed-down coach Bohl commands both respect and likability.
  2. Running Backs. Wyoming has two NFL caliber running backs.  D.J. May and Shaun Wick could potentially be the best 1-2 combo in the Mountain West Conference. D.J. is coming back off of a torn pectoral muscle which leaves some question marks.  Shaun had a breakout sophomore season last year and I think is already improved in 2014.  He's bigger, a tad faster, and seems to have grown his leadership skills.  Ball control may be a big factor for this team, and these are two guys that can do it.
  3. Defense. Eddie Yarbrough may be one of the nicest and happiest guys I've ever met. I don't think any opposing offenses will be happy to meet him however. The defensive end is set for what should be his best season ever. Another couple of guys that looked good today were linebackers Sonny Puletasi and Lucas Wacha. This year's defense will be much better than we endured in 2013.
  4. Quarterback Battle. While I'd love to provide some analysis here, it's still hard to tell. Colby Kirkegaard looks like the guy as he practiced with the first team today. The redshirt senior still has a lot of proving himself to do before Cowboy fans will rally around him.  Freshmen Nick Smith and Austin Fort also participated, senior Sam Stratton continues to try to convert to the QB position, and sophomore Aaron Young showed some good moments in the walk-through.
  5. Sam Stratton. I mentioned Stratton is part of the QB battle.  There is still a chance the senior will line up under center.  In fact, even if Kirkegaard is the starting QB, I wouldn't be surprised to see at least a couple Stratton throws, perhaps on trick plays. If Sam isn't the starting QB, this team needs to find a starting roll for him. He's undoubtedly a vocal leader on the offense, and is too athletic to not have on the field.
Here is the rest of the fall practice schedule:
Tuesday, Aug. 5 - 8:30 a.m. (Non-contact, Helmets Practice #2)
Wednesday, Aug. 6 - 8:30 a.m. (Shoulder Pads, Practice #3)
Thursday, Aug. 7 - 8:30 a.m. (Shoulder Pads, Practice #4)
Friday, Aug. 8 - 8:30 a.m. (Full Pads, Practice #5)
Saturday, Aug. 9 - 8:30 a.m. (Practice #6) | 3:30 p.m. (Practice #7)
Sunday, Aug. 10 - 2:45 p.m. (Practice #8)
Monday, Aug. 11 - 9 a.m. (Practice #9) | 3:50 p.m. (Practice #10)
Tuesday, Aug. 12 - 9:20 a.m. (Practice #11)
Wednesday, Aug. 13 - 9 a.m. (Practice #12) | 4 p.m. (Practice #13)
Thursday, Aug. 14 - 9:50 a.m. (Practice #14)
Friday, Aug. 15 - 9 a.m. (Practice #15) | 4:20 p.m. (Practice #16)
Saturday, Aug. 16 - 11 a.m. (Closed Scrimmage, Practice #17)
Sunday, Aug. 17 - No Practice
Monday, Aug. 18 - 8:20 a.m. (Practice #18) | 2:50 p.m. (Practice #19)
Tuesday, Aug. 19 - 9:20 a.m. (Practice #20)
Wednesday, Aug. 20 - 9:50 a.m. (Practice #21)
Thursday, Aug. 21 - 9:20 a.m. (Practice #22)
Friday, Aug. 22 - 9:20 a.m. (Practice #23)
Saturday, Aug. 23 - 11 a.m. (Practice #24)
Monday, Aug. 25 - First Weekly Press Conference at Noon