Wyoming football players enjoy short vacation before beginning of fall camp

Today’s news from the Associated Press was selected by Media Writing student Stacy Haigler.

By Mike Vorel, Star-Tribune Staff Writer —

It’s the deep breath before the plunge.

Before fall camp starts on Aug. 5, the Wyoming football team has eight days off — eight days to visit family, sit on the couch and try (and fail) to stop thinking about football.

It’s eight light days, followed by four grueling months.

With two-a-days looming overhead like a storm cloud, each player chooses to spend the free time in his own way.

“I am going home. I’m a big time momma’s boy,” defensive lineman Eddie Yarbrough said. “So I’m just going to get TLC (tender loving care) the whole time before camp. When camp comes, it’s time to hit it. But for eight days, it’s home cooking, couch potato, maybe go swimming a couple times, break out a couple cannonballs. I’ll definitely enjoy my time at home.”

Uso Olive’s plans are similar. The big defensive tackle will be heading home to Washington to spend time with family. It doesn’t really matter what’s on the agenda, he said.

Simply enough, being there is what really counts.

“I’m a family man, so I take them with me onto the field,” Olive said. “Just to be with them before I go into fall camp, to get their blessings, it means a lot to me.”

Freshman running back Joshua Tapscott will hardly feel the difference between last week’s workouts in Laramie and this week’s schedule back home in Virginia.

Besides the elevation, he said, little will change.

“I’m going to train when I’m home,” Tapscott said. “I’m not just going to go, lay around and eat the whole time.”

Thursday morning’s weight lifting represented the final summer session for the Cowboys, who have been stationed in Laramie, running sprints and raising dumbbells, for months now.

You’d think it would resemble the last day of grade school, with kids sporting wide smiles as they anxiously push out of the doors, ready to head home and be free of the rigorous schedules and routines.

You’d be wrong.

“You’ve had this day in your mind,” Yarbrough said. “‘This is the end.’ But at the same time, I’m still ready to go. I’m still in game mode. So it’s bittersweet, but you definitely need that time off to go home … It’s only eight days, but I’m going to miss it.”

For many players, the waiting is the hardest part. They know that fall practices will be tiring, as UW’s coaches push them to the limit.

But it’s also what they live for, and it’s why they’re here. To know it’s so close but not to be able to touch it, for these guys, can be beyond frustrating.

“You can’t not think about it,” running back Brandon Miller said. “I try and do things to take my mind off football, but you’re always thinking about it.”

And so, the week will crawl by, fun and relaxing but also agonizingly slow. Wyoming’s players have been preparing for the season all summer, enduring daily workouts and conditioning tests in search of a larger goal.

For cornerback Blair Burns, eight days off isn’t a vacation. It’s a speed bump on the road to Lincoln, now barely a month away.

“This next week is going to be a slow week because I’m ready to get back on the field.”

I got this week off. But all that’s on my mind is this season. So excited to prove these doubters. #gowyo — Shaun Wick™ (@ShaunWick_26) July 29, 2013


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