LARAMIE — Nobody is ready to start making comparisons.
At this point, that would be “unfair,” Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said.
But Gunner Gentry is catching the eye of Bohl and his teammates with what he’s doing early in fall camp. After making unsolicited mention of Gentry’s playmaking ability earlier this week, Bohl said the 6-foot-3, 208-pound receiver flashed again Thursday during the Cowboys’ sixth practice of fall camp inside War Memorial Stadium.
“He made a couple of really good catches in the red zone today,” Bohl said.
Gentry’s name is all too familiar for anyone who has kept up with Wyoming’s football program over the years. He’s the younger brother of Tanner Gentry, who became Josh Allen’s go-to target as a senior in 2016 when he led the Mountain West with 1,326 receiving yards. Now with the Chicago Bears, Gentry finished his career tied for fourth in school history with 20 touchdown receptions.
The younger Gentry isn’t nearly as accomplished in large part because he’s just getting started at Wyoming. Gentry is entering his second year in the program after playing in 11 games on special teams as a true freshman last season.
Whether he can crack the rotation out wide this season remains to be seen. Even with C.J. Johnson’s decision to give up football, the Cowboys still have three seniors at the top of the depth chart in Austin Conway, Rocket Ismail Jr. and John Okwoli. Junior Ayden Eberhardt is another receiver that’s having a strong camp, Bohl said.
But the group was largely inconsistent last season in an offense that tied for the fewest passing yards in the MW. And there’s certainly a skill set to work with there.
“(Gentry) has got good size and good presence,” Bohl said. “He tracks the ball well, and certainly his catch radius is excellent. He’s a big, strong guy. What’s going to be important for him for him to do is to assimilate a little bit more into our offense and make sure he’s running his routes with a little more confidence. He’s certainly making good strides.”
And while comparing the two may be premature, it’s hard for the Cowboys’ veteran players not to at least notice similarities.
“Some of his routes, I can most definitely see a resemblance to his brother,” senior cornerback Tyler Hall said.
‘Pretty doggone healthy’
A day after not being able to finish practice because of a previous knee injury, offensive lineman Eric Abojei returned as a full participant Thursday. The knee he injured in the spring bothered him some Wednesday, but Bohl said Abojei, who’s spent most of camp getting first-team reps at left guard, was fine.
Nose tackle Mario Mora practiced at full speed Thursday. Mora sustained a back injury Tuesday but returned to practice Wednesday and hasn’t been limited since.
Freshman defensive tackle Alonzo Hall watched from the sideline with a protective boot on his left foot. But Bohl said the Cowboys are about as healthy as can be expected nearly a week into camp.
“We’re pretty doggone healthy right now,” he said.
With Tim Zaleski continuing to work his way back from last season’s knee injury, Wyoming is still trying to catch up in the punting game.
“He’s functional,” Bohl said of Zaleski. “But you can tell it’s his plant knee that gives him a little bit of a problem.”
The Cowboys have opened up the competition there between Zaleski, who started the first five games last season, and senior Ryan Galovich. Bohl said Galovich has consistently charted better distances and hang time in camp, but until both punters are put in more simulated game settings, Bohl will wait to make any decisions.
“What’s really going to separate those two is when we do some live work when they’ve got to really perform under some pressure,” Bohl said. “While that’s not exactly like game pressure, it’s still going to be more pressure than when they’re kicking on air.”