#100 Wyoming Football 2016 Preview

Wyoming Cowboys
Overall Rank: #100
#9 Mountain West

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Coach Craig Bohl is building Wyoming the right way. He is not picking up a bunch of transfers in an effort to rejuvenate the program right away. As a result, last year’s roster was full of underclassmen and the 2-10 record reflected that. This year, that group is a year older, although this is still a young squad that has a long ways to go.
2015 Record: 2-10, 2-6
2015 Bowl: None
Coach: Craig Bohl (6-18 at Wyoming, 110-50 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Brent Vigen
Defensive Coordinator: Steve Stanard
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Brian Hill, RB, 1,631 yards
Passing: Nick Smith, QB, 245 yards
Receiving: Tanner Gentry, WR, 678 yards
Tackles: Andrew Wingard, S, 122
Sacks: D.J. May, LB, 1.0; Carl Granderson, DE, 1.0; Kevin Prosser, DE, 1.0
Interceptions: Marcus Epps, S, 2
Other Key Returnees: WR Jake Maulhardt, TE Jacob Hollister, OL Chase Roullier, LB Lucas Wacha, CB Robert Priester
Key Losses: QB Cameron Coffman, DE Eddie Yarbrough
The offense has potential thanks to explosive running backs Brian Hill and Shaun Wick. Wick was supposed to be the featured back for the Cowboys, but an injury brought his senior season to an end after four games. In his absence, Hill took over and rushed for 1,681 yards and six touchdowns on 281 carries. With Wick back to have another go at his senior season, Wyoming has a dynamic duo in the backfield that they can build around. The skill positions get better with a slew of talent returning at wide receiver. Jake Maulhardt and Tanner Gentry and tight end Jacob Hollister are all seniors and the team’s top three receivers from a year ago. The problem will be getting them the ball. Cameron Coffman is gone after passing for 1,951 yards and 18 touchdowns in nine games. When Coffman missed a bit of time with a knee injury, Nick Smith came in and was inefficient. He is still the experienced option though, but will get a run from redshirt sophomore Josh Allen. 
The secondary was full of freshman last year and they are growing up. Free safety Jalen Ortiz comes from UCLA to add another option. The unit was not particularly good last year, but they will be better with that year of experience under their belt. However, that may only be true if there is any sort of a pass rush. Last year the Cowboys tallied just ten sacks on the year. Eddie Yarbrough accounted for 7.0 of those sacks and he is now gone, leaving a huge hole on the line. Coach Craig Bohl does not want to send out a lot of blitz packages and will continue to play his suffocating, conservative style of defense, but it will not work again if nobody can get to the quarterback. Sophomore ends Carl Granderson and Kevin Prosser will feel the pressure. Linebackers Lucas Wacha and D.J. May are pretty good at getting into the backfield and combined for 10.5 tackles-for-loss. Stopping the run in general though was a problem and Wacha and May need some help in that regard.
The Bottom Line:
On the whole, Wyoming’s defense should be better as long as there is some sort of pass rush. That would lead to more turnovers and make things easier for the offense. Meanwhile, the offense can be much improved if they can find a quarterback. Aiming for bowl eligibility is probably a year or two off, but for now Wyoming can keep making progress, win a few games and prove that they are heading in the right direction under Coach Bohl.
Projected Bowl: None
2015 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 173.4 (62nd in nation, 9th in conference)
Passing Offense: 187.3 (101, 7)
Total Offense: 360.7 (100, 10)
Scoring Offense: 19.0 (115, 11)
Rushing Defense: 225.2 (113, 10)
Pass Defense: 196.9 (26, 5)
Total Defense: 422.1 (91, 8)
Scoring Defense: 34.0 (102, 10)
Turnover Margin: -0.92 (113, 10)
Sacks: 0.83 (126, 11)
Sacks Allowed: 2.58 (99, 10)