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July 30, 2008 1:57 pm

UW's fall football practice begins Monday, Aug. 4

Written by Tribune Staff

The 2008 college football season will kick off for the Wyoming Cowboys when they take the field for their first practice on Monday, Aug. 4 at 4 p.m. in War Memorial Stadium. Head coach Joe Glenn will be entering his sixth season at the helm of the Wyoming Football program, and he will welcome back 16 starters and 43 lettermen for the 2008 season. Of those 16 starters, seven are on defense and nine on offense.
The first week of fall drills will feature one afternoon practice per day. Media Day will be held on Friday, Aug. 8 from 10 a.m. to noon, and UW's first practice in full pads will be conducted later that day at 3:15 p.m.
Two scrimmages are planned during fall practice, with the first on Wednesday, Aug. 13 at 5 p.m. in War Memorial Stadium. The second will be Wednesday, Aug. 20, also at 5 p.m. in War Memorial Stadium.
“This is one of the most exciting times of the year for me,” said Glenn. “It's the culmination of a lot of hard work by so many people. Much of what our players and coaches do preparing for the next season is behind the scenes — recruiting for the coaches, winter and summer conditioning for the players and strength staff — but now you get to start to see the fruits of your labors. You get to see what your veterans have done in the offseason to improve themselves physically, and you get to see your new recruits in your school colors for the first time.
“This is also a time of the year when your team gets back together as a unit and starts building toward the season opener. For us, Aug. 30th against Ohio is the red letter day that we're pointing toward with all of our preparations.”
Not only does the Wyoming roster have good balance with the seven returning defensive starters and nine returning offensive starters, but there are 21 returning lettermen on offense and 21 on defense, as well as two returning lettermen on special teams.
The 2008 Pokes will be one of the most veteran groups in Glenn's six years in Laramie. A combined total of 24 juniors and 16 seniors return in 2008. Leading the way are three individuals who earned preseason First Team All-MWC honors from Mountain West Conference media earlier this month. Senior inside linebacker Ward Dobbs, junior defensive tackle John Fletcher and senior Devin Moore were all named to the preseason All-Conference team. Moore was selected to the All-MWC team as a return specialist. He is Wyoming's returning starter at running back where he rushed for 965 yards in 2007. Dobbs enters his senior season with 242 career tackles, and needs only 17 more tackles to enter the Wyoming Career Top 10. Fletcher, who earned Second Team All-MWC honors as a sophomore in 2007, has been named to the Outland Trophy watch list this season.
“One of the really encouraging things for all of us is we have a veteran team returning,” said Glenn. “Any good team usually has your upperclassmen making the bulk of the plays for you, and it looks to me this year that we will be very junior and senior laden, which I think has got to help us in the long run. Experience means so much in the game of football.
“To carry that a step further, I don't think I've ever had a team in all my years of coaching where every starter on the offensive line returns and every starter on the defensive line returns and that is what we have on this team.
“On offense, not only do we have all of our starters back up front, but we have tight end/fullback types in spades, who are good football players, that I think will enable us to rumble a little bit in the ground game. With all of those pieces to go with our two senior running backs (Devin Moore and Wynel Seldon), I believe we will be able to get downhill in the running game. You will also see Wynel not only at running back but at wide receiver some. He has great hands, and we want to get both he and Devin on the field.”
With all the experience returning, there will be a couple of key competitions that will be very important for the 2008 Wyoming Cowboys. The starting spots at quarterback, place-kicking and punting will all be hotly contested during fall camp.
Among those expected to battle for the starting role at quarterback are junior Karsten Sween, junior Dax Crum and senior Ian Hetrick.
Sween started 11 of 12 games in 2007 and has started 18 of UW's last 19 contests. Hetrick served as his backup a year ago. Crum, a junior college transfer, joined the team in January and went through spring practice. All three players were listed as co-number ones on the depth chart at the end of spring. Also waiting in the wings is redshirt freshman Chris Stutzriem, who redshirted at UW last year following a stellar high school career in Lawton, Okla.
"We have a good competition at quarterback heading into the fall," said Glenn. "I feel good about each of those individuals. We'll have to make a decision a couple of weeks into fall camp, so our starter can get the reps as we prepare for our season opener against Ohio. They each did things well in spring ball. Karsten (Sween) looked sharp, and he has the experience. Dax (Crum) maybe made more big plays in the spring, but he's still learning. Ian (Hetrick) is versatile, and is probably the most mobile of all of our quarterbacks. It should be a spirited competition in the fall, as it was in the spring."
Glenn also is looking for someone to fill a major void on special teams.
“We're also in the hunt for a starter at both the place-kicking and punting spots as Billy Vinnedge took his starting experience at both positions with him when he moved onto the San Diego Chargers of the NFL,” said Glenn. “We've got a couple of battles there. We have four or five guys who will be competing.
“Jake Scott has some starting experience as a place-kicker from a couple of years ago. Nick Landess is in his third year in our program at punter. We've brought in a guy who can do both in Austin McCoy (a true freshman from Florida), and we have a walkon in Cody Bousema, who has junior-college experience primarily as a punter and kick-off guy. We have some talent at those two spots, we just have to let those individuals fight it out and see who gets the start on August 30th.”
2008 UW Football Schedule
Aug. 30: UW vs. Ohio, Laramie, noon
Sept. 6: UW vs. Air Force, Laramie, 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 13: UW vs. North Dakota State, Laramie, 1 p.m.
Sept. 20: UW at BYU, Provo, Utah, 1 p.m.
Sept. 27: UW vs. Bowling Green, Laramie, 2 p.m.
Oct. 4: UW at New Mexico, Albuquerque, N.M., 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 11: UW vs. Utah (homecoming), Laramie, noon
Oct. 25: UW at TCU, Fort Worth, Texas, 4 p.m.
Nov. 1: UW vs. San Diego State, Laramie, noon
Nov. 8: UW at Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn., TBA
Nov. 13: UW at UNLV, Las Vegas, Nev., 7 p.m.
Nov. 22: UW vs. Colorado State, Laramie, noon