Chad Muma played safety and wide receiver much of his high school career.
But when the University of Wyoming started recruiting the Legend High School product in Lone Tree, Colorado, they projected him as a linebacker.
Muma said that was the main reason he moved to linebacker his senior season, and despite an injury that cost him half the season, he recorded 77 tackles and eight tackles for loss.
“I love playing linebacker — you get to go hit guys,” Muma said.
Even though Muma played outside linebacker as a senior, UW has the 6-foot-3, 200-pound true freshman at middle linebacker.
“Playing linebacker last year, and even his experience as a wide receiver, has helped him with the conceptual idea of football,” second-year UW defensive coordinator/linebacker coach Scottie Hazelton said.
“When you watch him play, he understands both offense and defense. All of our young guys are good athletes and can run around, but it is different for them to conceptualize things. Chad can do that, and still run and play fast.”
Muma said his experience playing linebacker last year has helped him some as he learns UW’s scheme and adjusts to the college game. The coaches have liked Muma so much that he may compete for playing time this season. Junior Logan Wilson and senior Adam Pilapil are entrenched at middle linebacker, but Muma is right behind them.
“He’s a really good kid, and smart, too,” Wilson said. “For a freshman to pick up all of what we do is impressive.”
Also impressive is the fact Muma is the third generation of his family to play for the Cowboys. His father, Ty, lettered as a strong safety from 1990-91. Ty was from Torrington, but Chad said he was born and raised in Colorado. Chad’s maternal grandfather, Rick Desmarais, lettered as a fullback for UW from 1961-63. Desmarais was from Boston.
Muma is the second third-generation UW football player on this year’s roster. True freshman offensive lineman Frank Crum of Laramie was part of the 2017-18 signing class. His father, Gary, lettered as an offensive lineman from 1979-81, and his grandfather, Earl, lettered in 1940.
Woods, Overstreet return on defense
UW’s two leading rushers from last season — sophomore Trey Woods and junior Kellen Overstreet — participated in their first full-contact practice Thursday. Both were cleared for all activities coming off shoulder injuries from the spring. Both have practiced throughout camp on a limited basis.
“To get hit a few times felt good,” Woods said. “I want to come back and prove I can be the back here. Last season wasn’t what I wanted.”
Woods led the Cowboys with 493 rushing yards. Overstreet had 481, and both combined for five rushing touchdowns.
Both join senior Nico Evans, redshirt freshman Xazavian Valladay and true freshman Jevon Bigelow in the mix to see who will get the majority of the carries this season.
“We’ve got to be able to see what (Woods and Overstreet) can do physically, and see if they can hold up,” UW associate head coach/offensive coordinator Brent Vigen said. “They have experience, and we can go back on that a little bit. But with them back and the three others, we need to come out with a clear plan. This next week is going to be big.
“All of those backs will have a role. Some may be more prominent on offense, and some more on special teams. They’re all good football players, but now we need to start sorting it all out.”
Fifth-year coach Craig Bohl said Valladay and Bigelow were ill Thursday. He also said true freshman running back Theo Dawson will be out for a while with a dislocated shoulder.