Cowboys Football Looking Bigger, Stronger in Spring Ball
Laramie -- The Cowboys football team has adopted a new strength training program.
And the benefits are obvious in the efforts of players in spring ball, which is in its second week.
“I think we’re taking steps to become a more physical football team, and I believe that is part of spring ball,” said Bohl. “Some of things that I did notice in (Tuesday's) practice is some of our young offensive linemen are taking a step forward. The other thing I saw was Ayden Eberhardt (wide receiver) made a couple big time plays out there today. I joked with him I’ve been watching him on NFL Network catching passes for Josh (Allen) at Pro Day last Friday. Ayden certainly showed up today. It’s good to see. The guys competed well today."
Cowboys players have made significant weight gains in the program implemented by Director of Sports Performance Ben Iannacchion and Associate Director of Sports Performance Eric Donoval.
Among the players showing the largest weight gains are nose tackle Justin Borton (up 19 pounds to 272 pounds), center Keegan Cryder (up 10 pounds to 283), defensive tackle Gavin Dunayski (up 25 pounds to 262), safety Esaias Gandy (up 10 pounds to 193), defensive end Carl Granderson (up to 261 pounds), defensive tackle Ravontae Holt (up 11 pounds to 258), defensive tackle Hunter Lee (up 21 pounds to 302), linebacker Caash Maluia (up 13 pounds to 243), lineacker Ryan Mazzola (up 18 pounds to 238), wide receiver EC Ogu (up 10 pounds to 185), offensive guard Gavin Rush (up seven pounds to 305), fullback Garrett Shipman (up 24 pounds to 256), quarterback Tyler Vander Waal (up 10 pounds to 220) and running back Trey Woods (up six pounds to 216).Bh
Bohl was pleased with development of offensive lineman.
“I think Rudy Stofer did some good things (Tuesday). He’s a back-up tackle,” said Bohl. “Keegan Cryder is still making strides at center, but there are still strides he needs to make. Alonzo Velazquez had a better day than he did the other day. Those are the guys I noticed, but you always have to be cautious. As I tell our guys, the eye in the sky doesn’t lie, so we’ll take a look at the tape.”With a number of receivers missing spring practice due to injury, Bohl was asked if that made it difficult to evaluate the quarterbacks.
“The passing game does come down to timing and tempo so much, but sometimes it just comes down to finding a way to make some plays,” said Bohl. “We’re disappointed that Jared Scott is going to have to have surgery on his hand and will probably miss the rest of spring, but it does give some other young receivers an opportunity. Avante’ Cox made a couple nice plays as did Dontae Crow, so it’s those guys time to shine.”
In terms of what he has seen out of quarterbacks Ty Vander Waal and Nick Smith, Bohl said, “A little bit of a mixed bag in terms of reading things. I think both Nick and Tyler are throwing the ball better, with more authority. There were a couple throws I thought Tyler made today that were really encouraging -- some long routes, some over routes to where you just don’t have to understand where to put the ball but you have to be able to drill it and throw it on a rope. I thought he did that.”
At cornerback, the Cowboys have two redshirt freshmen in Keyon Blankenbaker and C.J. Coldon, who are competing for spots.
“We are liking what we see from those two,” said Bohl. “They show good movement. We don’t have a lot of coverages installed yet, which is planned. They do have good athleticism. They have the ability to come out of their breaks well. It will be interesting once we do some live scrimmaging how they tackle, but we’re encouraged so far. I think the move of Tyler (Hall) inside to nickel has been outstanding. I think he has a bright, bright future there.”
In addition to the young players who Bohl mentioned as playing well thus far in spring ball, he was also asked about a couple of the key Cowboy leaders on defense in senior strong safety Andrew Wingard and junior middle linebacker Logan Wilson.
“Dewey (Wingard) is one of those guys who has a hard edge,” said Bohl. “He practices and he plays that way. Certainly the guys understand his competitive nature, and that has a big, big factor in how we play on defense. He’s a lot stronger, and he’s carrying his weight really well. He was really physical today. It is encouraging to see him come out as an established player, who is recognized around the country, and yet he’s practicing like he’s a hungry freshman.
“We’re particularly pleased with the leadership we have on defense. Those guys that you just mentioned, they don’t have an attitude like they have arrived and they don’t have to practice hard. They are setting a great example, and they’re getting better. They are proven players, but they’re not resting on their laurels.”
The Pokes will continue 2018 Spring Drills on Thursday, March 29 with an afternoon practice. Practices are closed to the general public. The Spring Game will be open to the public on Saturday, April 21, with a 2 p.m. kickoff.