LARAMIE -- Blaring music? Dancing? Cheetah-print cleats?

In the words of the great Vince Lombardi: "What the hell is going on around here?"

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Jay Sawvel spent his first practice as the Cowboys new head coach, bouncing between position groups, giving instruction and playfully chatting with players. Admittedly, he lingered around the safeties.

Old habits die hard.

"I'm active, but it's also, you hire good people to coach, you know? So, you let them coach," he said with a grin. "So there's times that you're sitting there and you're fighting that, just like, Oh, I saw something. But then all of a sudden, you know, (safeties coach) Jason Petrino was on it. It's like, 'OK, now, good job Jason.' So you try to figure it out. It was good, though. I mean it's a balance, right?"

The 53-year-old even jumped in on a special teams drill, crouching down, grabbing his knees and preaching the gospel of shucking a block, hand placement and leverage.

You know how we know that?

The media actually got to witness the first hour of workouts inside the team's indoor practice facility.

Things are certainly different around here, including defensive end DeVonne Harris, as he's known to do, sporting rolled up sweatpants and new wide receiver TK King rocking the aforementioned fancy footwear.

Running backs Harrison Waylee and Tyler Jacklich were even seen doing the Macarena in the west end zone.

The entire roster donned Steamboat on each side of their white helmets. That honor is typically reserved for the regular season.

"I like it a lot," junior wideout Jaylen Sargent said, referring to the more relaxed atmosphere under Sawvel. "I feel like you see this in a bunch of other programs, you know, and just having that exposure and getting to having media come in and see the different types of players we are, I think that's really cool."

Fellow pass catcher Caleb Merritt agrees.

"It's definitely a breath of fresh air," the sophomore added. "The one thing he is, he is for sure about the players. Of all the coaches I see up here, I see Sawvel the most. It's cool that I'll go to my 6 a.m. runs and sometimes I won't feel like going. He's there before I am and I'm like, 'OK, he gets it a little bit.' He's a cool guy."

After Sawvel was named Craig Bohl's successor in early December, Andrew Peasley and Wyett Ekeler said it would've likely been a mad dash to the transfer portal if Sawvel didn't get the gig.

The fact he is so personable, Connor Shay added, is just a bonus.

"It's been awesome. It's been a huge change," the senior linebacker said. "I obviously have a lot of respect for Craig Bohl, but I just like what Sawvel has been doing with the program. He's super good at interacting with guys and it just builds you another level of confidence when you know the head coach is relating to you, talking to you and you know he's on your side. That just helps us all out as players, knowing that the coach knows you personally and wants you to get better. So, I think it's been a great thing."

Let's get to some football news, huh? Here are some news and notes from the Pokes' initial practice of the spring season:

* Evan Svoboda does indeed have a powerful right arm. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound junior put that on display in the short passing game early Tuesday, firing slant passes and out routes. The throw that separates signal callers -- you know, the one from the far hash to the sideline -- appeared effortless. If there was a close second, that honor belonged to Carson May. The former four-star recruit, who initially signed with Iowa out of high school, looked impressive.

* Savwel told Svoboda this was "his show" after he was hired. The starting spot is his to lose. The rookie head coach was impressed with his first outing, especially from a mental standpoint. "There's going to be a lot of growth and he is so excited," Sawvel said. "He's so engaged. You know, that guy is ready."

* Sawvel reiterated Tuesday that this collective roster gained 510 pounds in the offseason a year ago. This time around, that number sits at 641. The difference, in some instances, was glaring. Sam Scott, Andrew Johnson, Devin Boddie Jr., Justin Stevenson, Waylee and, of course, Svoboda, were obviously busy in the weight room this winter. Same can be said for Nofoafia Tulafono, Will Pelissier, Shay and Sabastian Harsh, among many others. "You see guys that just, they look good," Sawvel said. "They're filled out right now and, I mean, they're doing everything the way that we've asked them to do. They're buying in nutritionally and they're buying in from the strength and conditioning standpoint."

* What did Sawvel like most about what he saw Tuesday? "I think just the eagerness, the enthusiasm and the overall work ethic," he said. "We had a really good pace going for our first practice today.

 

MORE UW FOOTBALL NEWS VIA 7220SPORTS:

* Wyoming's Wyatt Wieland says goodbye to football

* Cowboy football practice begins today in Laramie

* 5 things we're keeping an eye on during spring football

* Deron Harrell not allowing major hip surgery to derail dream

* Wyoming finally has a player's coach ... and it's paying off

 

* Alex Brown is on Sawvel's radar. He mentioned this offseason he wants to see the senior receiver reach new heights during his final year in the program. The Texas product has just 17 career catches for 208 yards and a touchdown during his five seasons in Laramie. "I'm going to be a big cheerleader for Alex Brown," Sawvel said of the 6-foot-4, 200-pound wideout. "He hears me with that every day. I want him to have a big year -- and he's going to need to."

* Jayden Clemons' college football life has been nothing short of a roller-coaster ride. A standout high school quarterback in Utah, he walked on at the state's university and made the move to safety. Still wanting to line up under center, the senior took a chance on himself and again took a no-guarantee chance at Wyoming. He started on the scout team in 2021 before eventually elevating himself to Peasley's back-up the following season. Again he was pumped down the depth chart last year in favor of Svoboda. Yet, he's still here, scratching and clawing. "I'm happy with Jayden right now, just his attitude and demeanor and everything," Sawvel said. "... He could have pouted, he could've complained and moaned. He could've done all that stuff and he didn't. He had a great attitude day in and day out. He's proven he's a good teammate. So you're going to give him every opportunity to do the best that he can in the program and see where that takes him."

* Has Sawvel heard from his mentor Craig Bohl of late? Not in a couple of weeks. The last conversation was a memorable one, though, Sawvel joked. "He told me a month ago that he was going to call (UW Athletics Director) Tom Burman and ask to come back as a graduate assistant. I think the job that he's got right now, trying to chase down all this, you know, the state of college football and where all these rules are and all these different things. I don't envy him with that, but if he wants to come back as a GA, I guess maybe we'll think about it."

* Will this offense actually implement some elements of a spread offense this fall? Sawvel said they will use open-type sets (more wide receivers), something Wyoming did at times over the years. While there's not necessarily a name for this scheme, at least not one they are sharing, the simplicity sounds refreshing. "This is all about utilizing our players, you know? That's really what it is," he said. "I told the offense yesterday, one of the things that we're going to do at the end of the spring, we're going to rank out all of our skill players 1-10. We better have those guys that are 1-5 on the field a whole lot more than guys that are 6-10. That's just the way it is. So that's what we evaluate every day."

* The Cowboys will be back on the practice field Thursday in Laramie around 3:45 p.m. That workout is closed to the public and media.

 

MORE UW FOOTBALL NEWS VIA 7220SPORTS:

* Svoboda tasked with 'overall command' of Pokes offense

* Wyoming Football: News and notes ahead of spring football

* Treyton Welch turns heads at Wyoming's NFL Pro Day

* GALLERY: Wyoming's annual NFL Pro Day

* Andrew Peasley shows off arm strength in front of NFL scouts

University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players

During the summer of 2021, 7220Sports.com counted down the Top 50 football players in University of Wyoming history, presented by Premier Bone & Joint Centers, Worthy of Wyoming.

The rules are simple: What was the player's impact while in Laramie? That means NFL stats, draft status or any other accolade earned outside of UW is irrelevant when it comes to this list.

This isn't a one-man job. This task called for a panel of experts. Joining 7220's Cody Tucker are Robert GagliardiJared NewlandRyan Thorburn, and Kevin McKinney.

We all compiled our own list of 50 and let computer averages do the work. Think BCS -- only we hope this catalog is fairer.

Don't agree with a selection? Feel free to sound off on our Twitter: @7220sports - #Top50UWFB

Gallery Credit: 7220Sports.com

- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players