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Who Will Snap the Ball for the Wyoming Cowboys in 2013?

UW Offensive Line
Photo by David Settle, Townsquare Media

It may be something that you take for granted when watching football, but it might be the biggest key of all. What is it? The snap. It starts every play and is very critical as to whether a play is run correctly or possibly ruined from the beginning. During this spring practice, the Wyoming Cowboy football team is trying to find a new center to trigger each play. It’s a competition that has a good chance of carrying over into fall camp this August.

Overall, the Pokes are trying to replace three starters along the offensive line before next season, and the spring practices are a great time to mix and match different personnel, as the search for the right combination continues.

Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen is looking for progress up front. He said, “We’ve got to get better and more physical, get our assignments down. Need to probably lock some guys in some positions and keep them there. We’re still working through a lot of things. It’s a time to experiment and test things out and see what works best.”

The key spot is at center where UW is trying to replace three-year starter and 2012 First Team All-Mountain West performer in Nick Carlson at the position. Presently, four different Cowboys have been rotating through that position. They include Junior Skyler Hinton, Sophomores Rafe Kiely and Carson Kass, as well as red-shirt Freshmen Austin Tixier.

Christensen said, “We’re trying to find out if we’ve got a snapper. We got a guy coming in this fall, a JC player, that’ll be here. Unless something changes drastically right now, he’s got a pretty good shot at coming in here and being the starting center.”

Coach Christensen is referring to Albert Perez, who started the past two seasons at East Los Angeles Community College and would be the fifth guy in the mix. He won’t be on campus until this summer.

Among those currently working at the spot, Rafe Kiely says what we need to work on most is, “A, we gotta get the snaps right. Without the snaps, we can’t play football at all. It ruins the whole play. Other than that, the biggest thing is going to be getting movement on the nose. Against the 3-man front that our defense plays, almost every play involves the center has to get the nose-guard moved, and if you can’t get movement, the play stops right there.”

Christensen know it’s a key issue and has pointed out that the ball is not being snapped accurately enough. He says, “If you can’t snap the ball, you can’t play at that position. We haven’t been real consistent there.”

Carson Kass is another competing at the center spot and admits there’s plenty of room for improvement. Kass says he’s focusing on two key areas, “I need to know my assignments and have better snaps. I’ve been having some bad snaps lately.”

The battles at all positions, not just the offensive line, will continue, as practice goes on for three more weeks. Wyoming has four down and 11 more to go during 2013 spring drills. They’ll actually go live for around 20-25 plays during Friday’s practice according to head coach Dave Christensen. The first big scrimmage of spring practice is set for next Wednesday, April 10. The Cowboys fifth session of the spring will start at 8 a.m. tomorrow.

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