Dave Walsh: The Brown and Gold Spring Game A UW Sports Annual Rite Of Passage

Dave Walsh writes: “It’s technically the final practice of the spring for the Wyoming Cowboys football team. Saturday’s 15th and final practice of the spring session is a bit more than that."

Dave Walsh

April 27, 20234 min read

Dave walsh Uw
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

It’s technically the final practice of the spring for the Wyoming Cowboys football team.

Saturday’s 15th and final practice of the spring session is a bit more than that. Let’s call it “practice-plus.”

The Brown and Gold Game is right there in legendary War Memorial Stadium. Kick-off is 2 p.m. on Jonah Field.

This is a chance for the Cowboys to play in game-type situations and take the next step in the long preparation process for the upcoming 2023 season.

It’s also an opportunity for Cowboys football fans to get a look at the Pokes in person and on the football field.

There will be some evaluations going on. The entire event will be taped, and then perused for hours by the coaches. Of course, that’s the normal process. Every second of every practice is recorded.

But this final event of spring drills is truly a practice-plus.

Add in the game situations, an offensive unit versus a defense, on the field playing football — all in front of a live audience — and you’ve got something special called Cowboys football.

The sport itself, like most I suppose, can be very monotonous. Practices consist almost entirely of drills and conditioning. In a typical week of preparation, there are few moments of lining up 11-on-11 and playing the game.

And playing the game is what players, coaches and fans covet the most.

The games are the ultimate reward for all concerned and are the ultimate judge of just how effective all of those hours of practice have become.

That includes the spring game.

It is a big event, but this one is always a little different as it’s Cowboys vs. Cowboys. That can take a little time to get used to. It’s Brown vs. Gold, and that’s different.

In this game, each play will most likely play-out in its entirety. Defenders will be allowed to take a player to the ground. They are allowed to complete the play, a little more so than in practice.

In this game, all of the physical aspects are included. The whistles won’t come so early in a play. Blockers will be allowed to carry out their blocks, and tacklers will be allowed to take their shots. Again, at least a little more so than in practice.

The Brown and Gold Game will mark the conclusion of a very important phase of the 2023 season for the Cowboys. It also signals the start of another.

Spring Drills are so important for all College Football teams. The camaraderie that is built among the players is evident, especially in new and young players. And the lessons learned in the spring are invaluable.

It has often been said that starting positions are rarely won in the spring. The two-deep lineups after spring drills usually strongly resembles the two-deep going into the spring.

But impressions can certainly be made.

Players can come into the spring looking to make an impact. They will be anxious to show their willingness to work hard, get better and win the Wyoming Way.

The spring game is the culmination of a time meant to teach what Cowboys football is all about.

And after the spring game is played, the Pokes will enter a different phase of preparations for the upcoming season, the “off-season,” which has always been a term that is somewhat misleading. It’s true that there are no games being played, but this is anything but “time off” for the Cowboys.

At the conclusion of Saturday’s Brown and Gold Game, the Cowboys will immediately begin off-season conditioning. And really, the Cowboys will simply continue to physically prepare for a season that draws ever closer.

The countdown begins Saturday afternoon.

Just 125 days until the Cowboys host Texas Tech in the 2023 season opener.         

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Dave Walsh

Sports Columnist