LARAMIE — It may be later than usual, but Wyoming’s football team will have a spring this year.
At least that’s the plan.
UW is slated to begin spring practice April 6, head coach Craig Bohl said Monday. The Cowboys’ annual Brown and Gold game is also tentatively slated for May 8 at War Memorial Stadium, which gives UW more than four weeks to get their 15 spring practices in based on the current schedule.
The Cowboys usually begin spring drills in mid-to-late March, but Bohl said he wanted to buy more time this spring amid the coronavirus pandemic, which kept UW from holding spring practices last year.
“We moved everything back,” Bohl said. “A lot of that obviously had everything to do with COVID. We’re hoping some more vaccines get out. And to fully disclose, I’ve been vaccinated now. So I’m excited about that.”
The Cowboys have the majority of their roster returning from a team that went 2-4 during the pandemic-shortened fall, including quarterback Sean Chambers, who’s expected to be full speed for the spring as he works his way back from his third season-ending injury in as many years.
With most of its seniors deciding to take advantage of the NCAA’s extended eligibility and return for another season of competition, UW is set to return all five starting offensive linemen, 100% of its rushing yards, 92% of its receiving yards and more than 90% of its tackles from last season.
“He promised me he’s not going to get hurt,” Bohl said of Chambers. “Our players have a great, great look in their eye.”
The biggest changes entering the spring are to Bohl’s coaching staff. The Cowboys have brought in two new assistants in offensive line coach Derek Frazier and offensive coordinator Tim Polasek, who comes to UW after four seasons as the offensive line coach at Iowa.
Polasek, who had a previous three-year stint as a play caller at North Dakota State (2014-16), is replacing Bohl’s longtime offensive coordinator, Brent Vigen, who took the head coaching job at Montana State last month. The two worked together for 18 years dating back to Bohl’s time as the head coach at NDSU.
Receivers coach Mike Grant has also had the title of passing-game coordinator added to his duties this offseason.
“We need to take another step forward,” Bohl said. “Many years ago, we set out to win our conference championship. A couple of times, we’ve kind of knocked at the door. We need to kick that door down this year. Tim, Derek and then Mike’s new role is going to have a big, big impact on that.”
Bohl said one member of UW’s 2021 recruiting class, defensive back Zaire Jackson, has enrolled early and will go through spring practice.