After conducting their first seven practices of Fall Camp on the cool grass fields in the North 40 practice area, the Wyoming Cowboy Football team shifted practice to War Memorial Stadium for the first time on Friday. The warm weather in Laramie, combined with the heat coming off Jonah Field’s FieldTurf surface, made for extremely warm conditions Friday as the Cowboys prepare to condition themselves for anticipated heat when they kick off the 2022 season on Saturday, August 27 in Champaign, Ill., versus the University of Illinois.
“We’re in the middle of fall camp and it kind of looked like it today. I think some guys have camp legs, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t some good things out there today” said Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl. “We have to learn how to work through (days) when we’re fatigued and tired. Our strength and conditioning staff has done a great job. It’s hard to replicate some days like today. I was told the temperature was 89 but the surface temperature was something like 145. It (hot weather) probably is what we’re going to be playing in (at Illinois) maybe a little bit more if any of you are familiar with the Midwest.
“It was good to get that work in today. (Andrew) Peasley is doing some good things at quarterback. Evan Svoboda has had a couple good back-to-back days. I saw a couple of our receivers make contested catches today, which was encouraging. I’m pleased with our inside defensive line play, particularly Cole Gobout, and some of our younger backers did some good things today. I think we have a heckuva field-goal kicker (John Hoyland). We practiced some two-minute drill at the end of practice and he had ice running through his veins and finished off practice with a successful kick.”
Asked by a media member to expand on his evaluation of Peasley and when Bohl thought he might name a starter at QB, Bohl said, “We chart everything from decisions, to accuracy, to completion percentage. Andrew is a really experienced player but he’s still learning our offense, and what we really have to recognize with Evan is he just showed up this past spring from Snow College, so everything is really new for him. Hank (Gibbs) is somewhat of a veteran. Today was practice number eight, so we’ll need to continue to sort that (quarterback) out and we’ll make a decision before we go into the (season-opening) game.”
In terms of the receivers, one veteran who is returning this fall after missing the entire 2021 season due to injury is redshirt junior Gunner Gentry. Gentry made a spectacular catch in Friday’s practice when he went up over a defensive back on the sideline and came down in-bounds.
“Gunner had a big-time catch today,” said Bohl. “It was a fade and he went up and made a contested catch. That is what we’re looking for.”
Another wide receiver who Bohl was asked about on Friday was true freshman Caleb Merritt from St. Louis, Mo.
“He (Merritt) is coming into his own. We’re repping him with the first group,” replied Bohl. “He does some good things, but there are some things he still has to learn. He’s a really bright guy, and if people don’t know it he is a composer of music.”
On the offensive line, Bohl was asked about the development of redshirt freshman offensive guard Emmanuel Pregnon and whether this is his time to shine. Pregnon played his high school football at Thomas Jefferson High in Denver, Colo.
“I would say it is his time,” said Bohl. “We’ve really been pleased. I can remember watching him in a high school basketball game. I think he weighed 235 pounds. After that season, he flew over to a country in east Africa, and we signed him while he was over there through the U.S. Embassy. Now, he’s 315 pounds and throws up all kinds of weight in the weight room. He’s smart and is a really good player. It will be fun to see him play this year.”
The Pokes will wrap up their first full week of fall practice on Saturday, Aug. 6, exactly three weeks away from kicking off the 2022 season at Illinois.