LARAMIE — Wyoming held its 11th spring practice Thursday in preparation for another scrimmage this weekend.
After making the trip to Casper last weekend for their first full-scale scrimmage of the spring, the Cowboys will aim to get in 77 plays Saturday at War Memorial Stadium, Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said. Even with injuries piling up, Bohl said he doesn’t plan to hold anybody out that could go in the scrimmage other than tight end Jackson Marcotte (knee) as evaluation continues at a number of positions heading into the the Cowboys’ spring game April 27.
“We’ve got to keep pushing forward,” Bohl said. “There will be enough guys to scrimmage, and we need to do that. That’s part of spring football. We’ve installed most everything we have, so it won’t be so much installation. It’ll be a closed scrimmage, and it’ll be officiated. We’ve got some evaluation to do, and I think we still need to develop more toughness.”
Quarterbacks Sean Chambers and Tyler Vander Waal will once again be at the center of that evaluation amid their competition for the starting job after having a pedestrian scrimmage over the weekend. The two combined to complete just 48 percent of their passes in Casper, but Bohl singled out Chambers for his precision during Thursday’s practice, which included some red-zone work.
“Typically self-starters, when you don’t perform well, you kind of rally back and say, ‘What do I have to do to improve?’” Bohl said. “They’re both competitors, and we’re making progress. (Offensive coordinator Brent) Vigen is doing a really good with them.”
With Saturday’s scrimmage closed to the media and the public, Bohl said the team is likely to expand the playbook and work in more schemes than it showed last weekend. Depth at defensive end, linebacker, safety and an offensive line that’s been riddled by injuries this spring are among the most pressing positional concerns still lingering for Bohl and his staff.
“We’re a little thinner than we were before (the first scrimmage), but we went over 80 (plays) and thought we got a good evaluation,” Bohl said. “It’ll be important for us to do that again.”
Cryder back at center
Keegan Cryder has experimented at tackle this spring, but with the Cowboys getting a little healthier there, the rising sophomore has moved back inside for the time being.
Cryder, who was named a freshman All-American at center last season by the Football Writers Association of America, is back at his more natural position. Wyoming lost Zach Wallace and Pahl Schwab to graduation after last season while another tackle, Alonzo Velazquez, is out this spring recovering from a knee injury. Redshirt freshman Frank Crum has returned from an injury to give the Cowboys another tackle.
Bohl didn’t rule out the possibility of Cryder going back to tackle in the fall.
In and out
Another reason Cryder moved inside is because Patrick Arnold will have knee surgery and is done for the spring. The hope, Bohl said, is that the sophomore center will be able to return in time for summer workouts.
Guard Zach Watts will also have surgery on his dislocated kneecap and will miss the rest of the spring. Tight end Nate Weinman sustained broken ribs in a recent practice and will be out indefinitely.
Defensive back Keyon Blankenbaker retweaked his hamstring and didn’t practice Thursday. Receiver Austin Conway, who’s also been nursing a hamstring injury, was back at practice. So was Marcotte, who had a light brace on his right knee after sustaining an injury that kept him out of the first scrimmage.