Pokes Practice Report: Bohl ‘Encouraged’ After Saturday Scrimmage
LARAMIE -- The question: What did Craig Bohl learn during the Cowboys' 84-play scrimmage last Saturday afternoon inside War Memorial Stadium?
The answer: Plenty.
The word "encouraged" was uttered numerous times during his Monday press conference.
Obviously still feeling the effects of the loss of starting running back Dawaiian McNeely last week to a torn ACL, Wyoming's 10th-year head coach said another man in the backfield has begun to emerge.
That man is Jamari Ferrell.
The junior, who has suffered plenty of health setbacks himself throughout a tumultuous playing career, spent the previous two seasons at Saddleback Community College in his hometown of Mission Viejo, Calif. He could serve as much more than just a stopgap as the Cowboys await the return of Harrison Waylee (offseason knee surgery) and a full recovery from DQ James (torn ACL last November).
"I think Jamari Ferrell is, you know, coming along at the running back position," Bohl said. "So, we're pleased with that. He's got to learn a little bit more, but he shows good competency beyond running the football. You know, the other aspects of the game. So, we're encouraged about that."
The 5-foot-8, 190-pound Ferrell rushed for 453 yards on just 101 attempts last fall. That's an average of 4.5 yards per carry. He also found the end zone three times on the ground. He was also a threat in the passing game, hauling in 15 catches for 118 yards. Ferrell was named First Team All-National Division for the Southern League as an all-purpose back by the conference coaches.
Sam Scott is another member of that backfield that drew Bohl's attention.
"He did some good things," he said, referring to the 6-foot-2, 230-pound linebacker-turned-running back from Nebraska. "Sam had the best yards per carry. Some of it was off one play that was blocked really well. Sam's doing well and I'd anticipate he'll play against Texas Tech."
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Here's some music to the ears of a fanbase clamoring for quarterback consistency. Bohl was also impressed with Andrew Peasley's outing.
The graduate signal caller played well, Bohl said, especially in the decision making category.
How comfortable does Peasley look in Year 2 of this pro-style offense?
"I think somewhere between significant and exponentially (better)," Bohl said, referring to last fall after Peasley transferred in from Utah State, which runs a spread attack. "I know the sky was falling after our first game last year (5-of-20 for 30 yards and an interception), but we also have to recognize that game -- Illinois had one of the best defenses in the country and had some of the best defenders. So, you know, it wasn't as bad as what people thought. But I think he's certainly further along in it and we anticipate him playing well against the Red Raiders."
The defensive front -- surprise, surprise -- was also a handful in Saturday's scrimmage, per Bohl. He has raved about that unit, which consists of guys like Cole Godbout, Jordan Bertagnole, DeVonne Harris, Braden Siders, Gavin Meyer, and many others, since Day 1 of camp.
Wyoming will once again host a glorified "game" next Saturday in Laramie. After that intrasquad showdown, Bohl said he will likely release a final depth chart ahead of the Pokes much-anticipated Sept. 2 meeting with Texas Tech.
Here are a few other tidbits from Monday's meeting with the press:
* Why practice on natural grass if you don't play a single game on it in 2023? Bohl has his reasons. "It's going to be typically 25 degrees cooler on grass," he said. "There's more space out there and research has shown that it's typically a safer surface for ACL tears. That's a grass field that's not dry and that's exactly what we had (when McNeely suffered a non-contact ACL tear). So that's why. Plus, the old timers like to go and talk about the North 40."
* Has Bohl been surprised by anything during this camp? Again he brought up McNeely's injury. That's the bad news. The good? "I've been really encouraged about the team chemistry and the guys buying in," he said. "The older players continue to push themselves."
* How much is Evan Svoboda pushing Peasley in practice? "Not," Bohl said bluntly. "Now one thing Evan can do, his arm strength is really exceptional. So, from that perspective, I think he might have an edge. Arm strength is just one of the categories. Just his understanding and competency and completion percentage and decision making is not where Andrew is at." Svoboda is also in his second season at UW after transferring in from Snow College (Utah). The 6-foot-5, 245-pound sophomore was listed as Peasley's backup on the initial depth chart of 2023.
* One competition to keep an eye on is at the left guard spot. That's where Luke Sandy and Wes King have been battling it out all camp long. Bohl said it's been an "even" one, too. "We're continuing to utilize those guys," he added. Sandy is a 6-foot-2, 289-pound redshirt freshman from Elizabeth, Colo. King, who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs in at 292, comes from Appleton North High School in Wisconsin.
* The Cowboys will hold their 12th practice of the fall Tuesday morning on the North 40. As always, that's closed to the media and fans.
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