LARAMIE — Interviews with athletes and coaches can sometimes include a lot of sports jargon, and usually those phrases are either self-explanatory or common knowledge for anyone with at least casual sports knowledge. One phrase that you might not be as familiar with, though, is “double-repping.” It’s a phrase that comes up a lot if you read enough stories where Wyoming head football coach Craig Bohl is quoted, but it’s not a phrase thrown around by every coach.
Double-repping, more or less, means running practice reps on both ends of the field at the same time. In theory, a team can get twice as much done in their allotted practice time.
“It was a strategy that we did when I was at Nebraska,” said Bohl, who will be entering his fifth season as Wyoming’s head coach this fall. “Not that I thought of it. It was something (legendary Nebraska head coach Tom) Osborne looked at. He had a PhD in educational psychology. He understood how players learned and he studied that and it was something that I had kind of forgotten, and I came back as an assistant coach in ‘95 and saw the value of it.”
Bohl’s teams didn’t double-rep when they first got to North Dakota State, where he was head coach from 2003-13.
“We did not implement that, and we were struggling with depth and we were struggling with a lot of things,” Bohl said. “I one day thought about what we did and unless you’ve experienced it, you’re probably not going to really understand it. I know this is Nick Saban implemented it at Alabama. He didn’t get it from me, but there are certain schools around that have picked up on that. And some of the other colleagues I have who I won’t name, but they’ve pick that up.”
Bohl said he has seen the practice strategy pay dividends at Wyoming.
“There’s no doubt,” he said. “I think you saw some of the fruits of that. Sometimes it doesn’t become apparent right away, but those reps, they lay a foundation sometimes that comes into play in a year or two. So, we’re going to continue to do it. It’s something that we feel like (is) hard. It’s twice as much work for players, twice as much work for coaches. But that’s how you grind out and get better.”
With an abundance of players sidelined by injury during spring camp, the Cowboys weren’t always able to put the technique to use.
“We probably went further along with what we had, but we’ve had to cut that back,” Bohl said of double-repping in the final week of spring camp. “About a week and a half ago we had to go single reps. It’s not something we like to do, but we’re probably further along than where we have been (in the past).”
With Wyoming’s camp finishing up at the end of last month, here are a couple of closing notes on the five-week camp:
Jones sees time at tackle
Wyoming has had a number of players from the Sacramento, California, area come through the program of late, including Tyler Vander Waal, who was named Wyoming’s starting quarterback after spring, and defensive end Carl Granderson, who was recently named one of the top 100 2019 NFL Draft prospects to watch by CBS Sports.
“Sacramento, we’re running Wyoming football right now,” defensive lineman Victor Jones said.
Among those Sacramento Cowboys, a growing number is coming from Inderkum High School. Wyoming signed two in its 2017 class, Jones and linebacker Ryan Gatoloai-Faupula, and added another to its 2018 class in linebacker Leevi Lafaele.
Gatoloai-Faupula was the first of the group to see the field, playing mainly on special teams as a true freshman last year, and the team anticipates he will add more to Wyoming’s defensive depth in 2018. Jones is ready to join him.
“I was happy for him doing his thing out there,” Jones said. “I want to be on the field, of course, too, but hopefully I get a chance this year.”
Jones played defensive end in high school and was signed as one, but he might end up seeing time on the interior line, as he took some reps at defensive tackle for this spring.
“It’s a little different, taking on double teams and stuff,” the three-star recruit said. “It’s still football. Not too complicated.”
Listed at 6-foot-4, 256 pounds, Jones was not listed at either spot on Wyoming’s post-spring depth chart, but that could just be a result of the Cowboys’ impressive depth on the line.
“We’ve moved him in to three-technique a couple times, put him in some pass rush situations,” Wyoming defensive tackles coach Pete Kaligis said. “He’s doing a really good job there, and he’s spelled (Youhanna Ghafian) a couple times there at the three if we need to spell him. But D-end is where he’s at, and he’ll add to the pass rush is what he’ll add.”
Coldon earns starting job
While quarterback was the most prominent position battle in spring, the Cowboys were also in search of a young cornerback to start alongside veteran Antonio Hull. C.J. Coldon, who likely would have played as a true freshman last year if another cornerback had gotten injured, secured the job, per the post-spring depth chart.
“I enjoyed the spring overall,” he said. “I felt like I played well, and my coaches just helped me throughout the spring, learning new techniques and improving.”
The Cowboys lost cornerbacks Rico Gafford and Robert Priester to graduation, and Tyler Hall has moved from cornerback to nickel back/linebacker, creating the role that Coldon hopes to fill.
“I feel like I’m in a good position to play,” said the three-start recruit from Illinois. “Just got to go out there and keep working, working hard throughout the summer, going to fall camp.”
While Wyoming is currently set at safety, the defense will have to live without seniors-to-be Andrew Wingard and Marcus Epps before long. Alijah Halliburton hopes to take a step forward in providing depth there.
“I’m playing free safety and strong safety more,” he said. “Just doing both is good, and that’s how I mix myself in some more.”
Halliburton said perfecting the strong safety spot was the bigger challenge in spring camp.
“But I always have Dewey and Marcus there to always teach me and make myself better with technique and everything,” the junior said. “But I think it went really well this spring, mastering both spots.”