LARAMIE — Nearly two weeks in, spring drills have been a mixed bag for Wyoming.
The Cowboys’ fifth practice Thursday was the latest example. Wyoming coach Craig Bohl called it a “spirited” practice highlighted by situational passing drills for the first time this spring.
Sean Chambers and Tyler Vander Waal, the primary contenders in the Cowboys’ quarterback competition, got most of the reps with Chambers having the slightly better day. Bohl said both handled the changing of protections well when it was needed and stayed away from turnovers.
“It was the first day we’ve put ourselves in passing situations,” Bohl said. “Certainly we’ve got work to do. I think Sean’s coming along pretty well at quarterback.”
Had the quarterbacks been live, keeping them clean would’ve been the biggest issue for an offensive line that’s been stretched thin this spring because of injuries. Gavin Rush, a projected starter at guard, is out with a torn ACL while fellow guard Logan Harris was held out Thursday as the team awaits MRI results on his back. Bohl said a specialist will further evaluate Harris’ injury.
The Cowboys started the spring without tackle Alonzo Velazquez, who’s still rehabbing the knee injury he suffered last season.
“We would’ve had a lot of sacks today,” Bohl said.
Bohl was complimentary of the progress defensive tackle Ravontae Holt and nose tackle Javaree Jackson have made on the interior of the defensive line, but the Cowboys have some catching up to do as a whole through five practices, he added.
“I thought we’d be a little further along, particularly up front,” Bohl said. “I don’t know if that’s a positive for our defensive line or if our offensive line’s got to protect better. There were too many plays of penetration today that would’ve been way too many negative plays. We’ve got to get those things straightened around.”
Logan Wilson and Cassh Mulia are entrenched atop the depth chart at linebacker, but Chad Muma has stood out among the youngsters at the position, Bohl said.
Muma, the son of former Wyoming player Ty Muma, was primarily a contributor on special teams last season as a true freshman but has been getting reps at both linebacker spots this spring. Maluia is limited after having offseason Tommy John surgery, so most of them have come on the outside.
“He’s got great range,” Bohl said of Muma. “He’s really smart, and he’s explosive. He’s turned out to be more athletic than what I thought he’d be. And he’s got a family history of people that have played here, but I think he’s got a really bright future and is going to play a lot for us.”
Bohl said he liked what he saw Thursday from the safety spot, which is under the microscope this spring with Andrew Wingard and Marcus Epps no longer around.
He singled out the play of Rome Weber, who’s made the move from cornerback. The redshirt freshman is competing with Braden Smith and Cameron Murray at free safety.
“I think Rome Weber has got some promise as a young player,” Bohl said.
Senior-to-be Alijah Halliburton is the favorite to take over for Wingard at strong safety after starting six games last season.
On the mend
Defensive back Keyon Blankenbaker and receiver Austin Conway, who are both nursing hamstring injuries, also didn’t practice Thursday. Offensive lineman Frank Crum practiced but is still limited with an injury.
Wyoming will return to practice Saturday. The practice will be closed.