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Christensen ups offensive tempo during spring football practice

Mar 28, 2013 - The Associated Press

LARAMIE -- Tempo. Tempo. Tempo.

It's a common buzz phrase in football.

And Wyoming football -- and by proxy -- head coach Dave Christensen have both caught the fever started by Oregon that's influenced the highest levels of football.

"We're practicing faster," Christensen said. "We want to practice faster than anybody in the country."

While Christensen noted that Wyoming has been a high-repetition team in his previous four seasons, he wants to crank the pace of practice to another notch.

Cowboys senior wide receiver Robert Herron said fast is hardly new, but with Christensen taking over the play-calling duties this year, the offense is moving at a "rapid-fire" pace.

"But I think that's the best thing for us," Herron said.

Wyoming opened spring practice on Tuesday at Wyoming's Indoor Practice Facility and practiced again on Wednesday before taking the weekend off. Outside of the tempo, the biggest change facing the offense is Christensen's role as primary play-caller.

Last year's play-caller, and former offensive coordinator, Gregg Brandon left Wyoming to take the offensive coordinator job at New Mexico State. The move returns Christensen to his roots. He called the plays as offensive coordinator at Missouri.

"I wouldn't do it if I wasn't looking forward to it," Christensen quipped.

Outside of a different voice in the headset, Christensen said there won't be any drastic changes to the program's spread offense.

He mentioned, again, that he wants the offense to play faster and Wyoming will emphasize the running game more.

But with junior quarterback Brett Smith returning healthy and the Cowboys returning depth and experience in the receiving group, Wyoming has the potential to sling the ball around.

Herron said the receivers as a group have familiarity with the offense, it's just a matter of timing.

"I see us, as receivers, getting back in rhythm fast and making plays early," Herron said.

Smith was simply glad to get the spring started.

"It's about time, that's kind of how I feel," Smith said.

"It's tough just throwing routes on air all the time."

Wyoming first-year quarterbacks coach Jason Gesser said there are tweaks to the offensive playbook, some added reads for instance, but it's similar to the past.

Mostly, it's just about playing faster.

After Tuesday's practice, Christensen was displeased with the offense turning the ball over seven times during various live portions. "We didn't throw and catch very well," he said. "But I know we'll improve upon that."

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