Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Robert Gagliardi
WyoSports 

Possibility turning into reality for UW's Ebbesen

 

August 16, 2016

SHANNON BRODERICK/Wyo Sports photographer

Du'Ryab Ebbesen (60) pushes against a UW player during Wednesday's practice.

LARAMIE – In the spring, there was the possibility.

Less than week into fall camp, all signs indicate it's going to become reality for Du'Ryan Ebbesen.

Ebbesen, a fifth-year senior walk-on, is slated to be the starting center when the University of Wyoming opens its 2016 season Sept. 3 at home against Northern Illinois.

"I wouldn't say he's dominant, but he's holding his own," third-year UW coach Craig Bohl said. "Du'Ryan is showing he's a guy we can count on."

Ebbesen is from St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, but graduated from Cheyenne Central High. He walked on at UW five years ago, and most of that time was spent as a defensive lineman.

Ebbesen moved to center prior to spring drills this year, and received the bulk of the reps with the No. 1 offense because the projected starter, junior Charlie Renfree, was out with injuries.

Renfree's football career appears to be over due to those injuries. Ebbesen said the start of fall camp has been "a little shaky" in terms of getting back into football mode from the spring. But knowing he is being counted on to be the starter, Ebbesen's mindset and approach have changed.

"In the spring, I was competing. I wanted to earn what I got," he said. "Now that I'm getting it, it's a tad scary and a little nerve-racking. I'm just trying to get everything down so when the games come I'm not scared or worried."

More in-depth film study and coaching, work with the quarterbacks in terms of getting the snaps right, and learning the playbook better all have increased in intensity for Ebbesen since the end of spring drills.

Another thing that has increased for Ebbesen is the pressure. But when asked about that, he answered with a big smile on his face.

"There's definitely a lot more pressure just knowing it all starts with me," Ebbesen said. "That snap has to be good or nothing happens. Plus, there's me being the guy and not having played in forever.

"I'm liking the pressure because I think it's helping me improve as a center and as a player."

One thing that has helped Ebbesen is playing next to senior left guard Chase Roullier, a preseason All-Mountain West pick and a second team All-MW selection last season.

"I'm definitely more comfortable having a high-caliber player like him next to me," Ebbesen said. "If I mess up, I know he will tell me. And on the off chance he ever messes up, I can tell him. All of the guys along the line have been great about those kind of things."

Roullier is UW's back-up center as of now. Roullier said he's taken a lot of center snaps in practice during his UW career. Roullier started one game at center as a redshirt freshman in 2013, and also played a game at center in 2014.

Roullier said he's comfortable playing center if he's asked to, but he's also confident in Ebbesen's abilities.

"He's made many big strides since he started playing center in the spring," Roullier said. "He understands the offense much better, and I'm feeling more and more comfortable with him.

"For how big (6-foot-2, 305 pounds) and strong his is, he has very quick feet and is good with his hands. I noticed that when he was a defensive lineman going against him in practice."

Other O-line news

UW offensive line coach Scott Fuchs said he's fine moving Roullier from guard to center, but only if there is a viable option to put in at guard.

Junior Kurtis Stirneman and true freshmen Gavin Rush and Jace Webb have emerged as the top options early in camp.

Fuchs likes to have options along the offensive line. Early in fall camp, other guys who have taken reps at center include Stirneman, redshirt freshman walk-on center Boyd Draeger and sophomore guard Cole Turner.

Unfortunately, UW doesn't have a lot of options in terms of depth at the two tackle positions. The starters are solid, with sophomore Zach Wallace on the left side and junior Ryan Cummings on the right.

Sophomore Brinkley Jolly has been getting some snaps behind Cummings and Wallace. Two in-state walk-ons also have been getting some snaps in fall camp: senior Eli Moody from Lovell and Pahl Schwab from Afton.

"Zach and Ryan have improved, but we need to develop a third guy," Bohl said.

Practice report

The Cowboys went back to work Monday after enjoying the first off-day of fall camp Sunday.

Bohl said it took a little while for the team to get back into the swing of the things.

"I would have liked to see our football team come out with a little more bounce," he said. "I think it's an indication of a younger, immature football team that when you have a day off, it's harder to get that wheel cranked sometimes. Veteran teams learn how to start the right way."

Monday was the start of the second week of fall camp, and Bohl said now is when the focus of practices start to change a bit.

"It's important because it's where the rubber meets the road," Bohl said. "We're going to still install things, but there's more reinforcing exactly what you've been teaching. But more so it's just mentally (right now).

"This is where you're body tells you (that) you don't want to go today, and guys find a way to either get off the field or stay on the field. This is where you start to grind a football team."

The Wyoming coach said several starters were either limited or held out of practice due to minor injuries, including senior wide receiver Tanner Gentry, junior cornerback Robert Priester and sophomore safety Andrew Wingard.

None of the injuries are considered serious, and all three are listed as day-to-day. Bohl also added that through the first week, no concussion issues were experienced by any members of the team. Last year at this time, Wyoming already had a couple of concussion injuries.

Wyoming will practice twice today – at 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. UW's first scrimmage, which is closed to the public and media, will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

Robert Gagliardi is the senior editor of WyoSports. He can be reached at rgagliardi@wyosports.net.

 
 

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