#93 Wyoming Football 2014 Preview

Wyoming Cowboys

Overall Rank: #93
#7 Mountain West

Wyoming Team Page#93 Wyoming Football 2014 PreviewBuy Wyoming Football Tickets

Wyoming made a big splash in the coaching department during the offseason. The Cowboys hired Craig Bohl from North Dakota State after he won three straight FCS titles. Few coaches anywhere know as much about winning as Coach Bohl. Losses for the Bison have been few and far between over the last few years. The Cowboys will need some time to adjust to Coach Bohl’s style on both sides of the ball, but the future looks promising.

2013 Record: (5-7, 3-5)
2013 Bowl: None
Coach: Craig Bohl (0-0 at Wyoming, 0-0 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Brent Vigen
Defensive Coordinator: Steve Stannard

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Shaun Wick, RB, 979 yards
Passing: Tom Thornton, QB, 15 yards
Receiving: Dominic Rufran, WR, 960 yards
Tackles: Jordan Stanton, LB, 134
Sacks: Eddie Yarbrough, DE, 6.5
Interceptions: Jordan Stanton, LB, 2

Other Key Returnees: WR Jalen Claiborne, LB Mark Nzeocha, DE Sonny Puletasi, LB Lucas Wacha

Key Losses: QB Brett Smith, WR Robert Herron, S Marqueston Huff, OT Walker Madden

The Wyoming offense had some amazing games last year. Most notable was the 793 yards tallied against Hawaii in a 59-56 shootout victory. Sure that was against Hawaii, but the Cowboys dropped 602 yards against Nebraska too. Much of those gaudy numbers had a lot to do with quarterback Brett Smith who needs to be replaced. Senior Colby Kirkegaard sits atop the depth chart coming out of the spring, but Tom Thornton, Sam Stratton and Aaron Young will rejoin the fray in the fall. Stratton is another senior and Young has the talent after spending time at the junior college ranks, although he failed to make a splash in the spring. Whoever is under center will have plenty of weapons to work with and while having Smith back would be huge, Wyoming should be fine at quarterback. Dominic Rufran and Jalen Claiborne are a couple of big play receivers who are always a threat to reach the end zone. But the true strength of the offense is at running back. Shaun Wick rushed for 979 yards and nine scores last season and D.J. May is back after a promising freshman campaign in 2012.

But the offense will take a big step back if Coach Bohl cannot fill in the holes on the line. The unit is relatively young, but there is potential if everybody can pick up the new schemes relatively quickly. While Wyoming scored plenty of points, they allowed even more. The Cowboys failed to hold anybody under 30 points during the last eight games of the season. Over the last six games, Wyoming allowed an average of 48.3 points per game. They started bad and got even worse. It is seemingly good news that nine starters are back, but it remains to be seen if that is really a good thing or not. The new 4-3 look will be successful eventually, but it may be a while.

The Bottom Line:
Reaching six wins is going to be a challenge for Wyoming. This is a team that will be looking for progress and potential instead of wins. But with that said, Wyoming can get off to a good start with winnable games at home against Montana and Air Force to start the season. Other winnable games against Hawaii and New Mexico are on the road, so a strong start may be the best chance this group has of even reaching last year’s five win total.

Projected Bowl: None

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 190.4 (41st in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 282.4 (24, 4)
Total Offense: 472.8 (22, 4)
Scoring Offense: 31.3 (51, 7)
Rushing Defense: 220.2 (108, 9)
Pass Defense: 261.8 (104, 9)
Total Defense: 482.0 (111, 8)
Scoring Defense: 36.7 (109, 9)
Turnover Margin: -0.3 (86, 7)
Sacks:  1.92 (71, 7)
Sacks Allowed: 2.25 (77, 9)


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