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August 16, 2013Laramie, Wyo. - On Thursday morning, the Wyoming Cowboys completed their 11th practice of fall camp with an hour and 40-minute practice in full pads on the practice field southwest of War Memorial Stadium.
The Cowboys' practice included three 11-on-11 periods. The first of those three 11-on-11 periods focused on driving the ball out from the offense's own 10-yard line, the second focused on third-down situations and the third was a situational 11-on-11 period that was designed to be conducted with a game-like tempo.
Thursday's practice was the final one in full pads prior to the second major scrimmage of the fall, which will be held on Saturday, Aug. 17 in War Memorial Stadium. Saturday's practice will begin at 10 a.m., and is open to the public.
The Pokes will conduct two practices on Friday in shoulder pads and helmets only, rather than full pads. Those two practices will be at 8:45 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. and will also be open to the public.
While Friday's practices won't involve full contact, head coach Dave Christensen emphasized to his team at the end of Thursday's practice that they need to focus on perfecting their individual assignments and continue to maintain the sharp, up-tempo that they have practiced with all during fall camp.
"Tomorrow's two practices will be more like our afternoon practices have been," said Christensen. "We'll do a little bit more in the morning practice. We'll do a lot of team work and get some kicking in. The big thing now is we want to get as many players to the dance on Saturday in good health and get them all a lot of reps so we can evaluate them in game-like situations.
"The scrimmage itself on Saturday will be similar to our first one. We want to get about 50 plays in for both our No. 1 and No. 2 units. We'll get some reps for our threes and fours too, like we did in the first scrimmage."
Running backs Brandon Miller and Omar Stover returned to contact drills on Thursday. Both the senior Miller and the true freshman Stover had been limited due to injuries the past few days.
"They've been getting better each day, and our goal was to have them back today for this padded practice," said Christensen. "But Joshua Tapscott went down in the middle of practice, so I'll have to check to see where he's at for the rest of this week. We'll go in shells tomorrow, so we should have everyone ready to go on Saturday for the scrimmage."
Christensen was also asked after Thursday's practice to comment on the performance of his team's defensive backs during fall camp.
"They're making progress. They're making some more big hits out there, making some more plays on the ball, which is encouraging," said Christensen. "We need that. It was an area that we failed to execute very well at last year. But they're playing much better."
In recent days, defensive lineman Justin Bernthaler also returned to contact drills after battling back from injury. Christensen likes what the senior from Stuttgart, Germany brings to the Cowboy defensive front.
"He (Justin Bernthaler) is physical," said Christensen. "He is a big, strong physical presence inside. He's been out, and we've been slowly bringing him back. He has done a nice job, and has gotten a little more work each single day, and is practicing well for us."
One position change that was made this week is redshirt freshman Sam Hardy was moved from defensive end to offensive guard. The move was made on Wednesday, so Hardy has two days under his belt now as a backup at offensive guard.
A number of Cowboys have bulked up through summer conditioning programs and into fall camp:
LB Devyn Harris - 229 to 240 Pounds
OT Walker Madden - 280 to 297 Pounds
RB Brandon Miller - 188 to 200 Pounds
SS Darrenn White - 184 to 192 Pounds
RB Shaun Wick - 190 to 204 pounds
ADAM GOLDBERG SPEAKS TO COWBOYS
The Wyoming Cowboys were offered a special treat on Wednesday night when former Wyoming Cowboy and NFL offensive lineman Adam Goldberg came to speak to the team about his time as a Cowboy from 1999-2002 and his eight-year career in the NFL.
Goldberg, who now lives in Denver, concluded his NFL playing career in 2011. He played for the St. Louis Rams and Minnesota Vikings from 2004-11. He was on the practice squad with the Vikings in 2003, his first season out of college. Goldberg played in 112 NFL games and started 66 during his professional career.
In July of 2008, he was named to the Mountain West Conference All-Decade team as an offensive tackle. He was one of only 25 players in the first decade of the league to earn the honor, and was one of only two Wyoming Cowboys. The other Cowboy who earned Mountain West All-Decade team honors was wide receiver Jovon Bouknight.
A native of Edina, Minn., Goldberg earned First Team All-Mountain West Conference honors as a left tackle in 2001 and 2002 in voting by conference head coaches. He was selected to the Outland Trophy Preseason Watch List prior to his senior season of 2002, and he played in the Rotary Gridiron Classic College All-Star Game at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla., following his senior season.
Goldberg ended his Wyoming career having started 44 of 45 career games. The only career game he didn't start was the season opener his junior season of 2001 versus Furman due to illness.