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

By Robert Gagliardi

New quarterback nothing new for Gentry, Maulhardt


August 11, 2016


Quarterback Josh Allen participates in a drill during Wednesday's practice.

LARAMIE - Tanner Gentry and Jake Maulhardt enter their fourth season catching passes for the University of Wyoming football team.

And, for the fourth consecutive season, they will have a different starting quarterback throwing them the ball.

Both senior wide receivers started their careers catching passes from Brett Smith in 2013. Smith left UW after his junior season to pursue a career in professional football.

In 2014 redshirt senior Colby Kirkegaard was the quarterback. Last season, three different quarterbacks took snaps, but senior Cameron Coffman took most of them.

This season, its redshirt sophomore Josh Allen. Allen started UW's second game of the season against Eastern Michigan, but after 13 plays was lost for the season with a broken collar bone.

Despite the constant rotation of starting quarterbacks, Gentry and Maulhardt have combined to catch 195 passes for 2,492 yards and 16 touchdowns.

"It's been really tough not being able to keep the same guy two to three years and have that chemistry built up," Gentry said. "But I think we've done a really good job with every quarterback we've had."

A lot of the chemistry and timing between quarterbacks and receivers is done during the summer, as well as during spring drills and fall camp. Both receivers said their rapport with Allen is solid, and more will be developed as fall camp progresses.

But for Maulhardt, who throws the ball or how they throw it is an overrated aspect to analyze.

"When you're in high school you go to camps and you're catching balls from 50 different quarterbacks that you've never seen before," he said. "You just get used to that as a receiver, and you focus mostly on yourself, not who is throwing the ball.

"I care more if they put the ball in a place I can catch it. It doesn't matter how hard the ball is thrown. My dad told me in high school if the ball touches your hands - no matter how hard the ball is thrown - you better catch it."

Still, there has been a lot of adjustments Gentry and Maulhardt have made over the last four years.

All four of UW's starting quarterbacks were right-handed. Smith and Allen are similar in terms of their athleticism and ability to make something happen when a play breaks down. However, Smith ran a spread offense for former coach Dave Christensen. UW now runs a pro-style offense under third-year coach Craig Bohl. The offensive philosophies between the two are like night and day.

Kirkegaard and Coffman were mostly pocket-passers, and Maulhardt said they threw softer balls than Allen. Gentry said it's hard to compare all the quarterbacks he's caught passes from, but added all have been different.

So what do they think about Allen?

Both like the fact the 6-foot-5, 230-pounder has a run element to his game. They like that he has a strong arm, and that he's worked hard making throws that require more touch than just zinging the ball as hard as he can.

"It's fun to catch balls form Josh," Gentry said. "He makes some throws that are crazy - NFL-type of throws."

Perhaps Maulhardt had the biggest complement about Allen when he said: "His abilities will speak for itself. He's our offensive captain and he's done a good job of handling that."


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