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Wyoming running game will be a bigger part of offense next season under new coach Craig Bohl

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LARAMIE, Wyoming — The run game will be a big part of the University of Wyoming football team's offense this season.

Shaun Wick and D.J. May can't wait.

A lot goes into a successful run game, but first-year coach Craig Bohl likes what he sees from one aspect of it.

"Our running backs are looking strong," Bohl said after Friday's second spring practice. "We haven't put the pads on yet, but there's enough ability I've seen where I'm encouraged by that running back spot."

Bohl said in his pro-style offense he would like to have two running backs have equal carries and production. The Cowboys have three running backs with game experience, a redshirt freshman and a sophomore who have never carried the ball in a game for UW, and two true freshmen coming in for fall camp.

Wick, a junior, and May, a redshirt sophomore, are the two leading candidates to be UW's 1-2 duo this season.

Wick led the Cowboys last season with 979 yards and nine touchdowns as a true sophomore. The yards were the most by a UW back since 2008. Wick ran for 350 yards and four touchdowns as a true freshman in 2012.

May was UW's leading rusher in 2012 with 374 yards as a true freshman. He redshirted last season after he tore a pectoral muscle during summer workouts.

Others in the mix are:

—Sophomore Omar Stover, who had 10 carries for 37 yards last season as a true freshman. Bohl said Stover tweaked a hamstring early in Friday's practice.

—Sophomore Oscar Nevermann of Sweden, who played last season, but on special teams.

—Redshirt freshman Joshua Tapscott, who has yet to practice this spring due to injury.

The true freshmen who will join the team for fall camp are Brian Hill (6-foot-1, 210 pounds) and Nico Evans (5-9, 177).

"It doesn't matter. Everyone is getting their share of carries," Wick said. "We're all going to play. One thing right now is we are competing during practice and making sure we have each other's backs."

Wick said he and the rest of the running backs are adapting well to Bohl's pro-style offense, compared to the spread scheme the past few years under the previous coaching staff.

So far, Bohl agrees.

"Overall, (as) I look at their size and movement, they look like pro tailbacks," he told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle (http://bit.ly/1f6DXA9). "Not from the standpoint they are ready for the NFL, but a pro-style running back. That's something that has exceeded my expectations. We will see how spring goes, but I think we have some good players there."

In Wick's first two seasons, which featured 258 carries, he lost only 32 yards. He also has matured physically.

Wick was around 185 to 190 pounds as a true freshman. He was listed at 204 last season, and he said he is up to about 210 now.

May was about the same weight as Wick as a true freshman. Even though his injury prevented him from doing a lot of upper-body conditioning last year, he also is around 210 pounds, with most of that weight gained in his legs.

"When (the injury) first happened, I wasn't going to sit here and cry about it," he said. "I was going to deal with it, get better and do what I could to help my teammates."

Wick said he is "proud" of how May handled his injury and what he did for his teammates last season — even if it was just with words of support.

That kind of bond among the two — and the other running backs — seems to have carried over to the spring.

"We're going to keep on pushing each other every day," May said. "If someone is hurt, they are out there coaching us up. Josh has been doing that. We all know what we're supposed to do, but we're not perfect. We're going to make mistakes, but we're going to keep each other accountable.

"No one is selfish in this running back group. Whoever plays, plays. But guys behind them have to be ready."


Information from: Wyoming Tribune Eagle, http://www.wyomingnews.com

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