Wyoming Football: News and Notes Ahead of Hawaii
LARAMIE -- "So, what do you guys think of the Mountain West right now?"
Craig Bohl asked the local media that question at the conclusion of his weekly press conference Monday afternoon in Laramie.
Too soon, coach.
If the Cowboys would have beaten UNLV last Friday night inside Allegiant Stadium, fans would be feeling pretty good after what transpired Saturday.
Wyoming needed Fresno State to lose. That happened.
Not only did San Jose State rout its in-state rivals 42-18, it took out starting quarterback Mikey Keene. That injury could loom large down the stretch, though the Bulldogs have lowly New Mexico and San Diego State remaining on their schedule.
Still, that loss would've thrown Fresno State into a tie with the Cowboys in the standings. Bohl's 'Boys own that tiebreaker thanks to a 24-19 win in Laramie.
Air Force, for a second straight week, was handled easily, too.
The league's frontrunner turned the ball over four times in a 27-13 loss to Hawaii Saturday night in Honolulu. Now, because of the Rebels victory over the Cowboys, UNLV is tied with the Falcons in the standings.
Those two will meet Saturday in Colorado Springs.
Boise State still needed to tack on another setback. That is definitely in the cards with a trip to Utah State on the horizon and a meeting with Air Force in the season finale. Not to mention the school Sunday axed head coach Andy Avalos. You never know how teams will respond after something like that.
So, how do we feel about the Mountain West? Not great if you're a Pokes fan.
Here are some other news and notes from Bohl's presser:
* Bohl said his team sustained a lot of bumps and bruises in that 34-14 loss in Sin City, though he doesn't expect anyone to be ruled out for Saturday's high-noon tilt with Hawaii. "As far as injuries, our pride is hurt," he said. "We have to lick our wounds ... It was a physical game, as you saw, but all those players will be able to play this week. Now, they may have some limited practice time as we go in at the beginning of the week, because it was probably one of the more physical games that we've played. I knew it would be. So, we got beat by, I think, a really good team, and it's also an indication of the parody in our conference, as well."
* Barry Odom is already receiving a vote for National and Mountain West Coach of the Year. Bohl publicly casted it Monday, referring to UNLV's impressive -- and unexpected -- 8-2 overall record and 5-1 mark in league play. The Rebels only losses came at No. 2 Michigan and on the road at Fresno State. If it wasn't for a muffed punt and a late touchdown drop, Odom's team could very well be unbeaten in the conference. That's not all, according to Bohl. "If you look at their game against Michigan, and the running back Michigan has, Start doing the research and see how many long runs popped out," he said. "Not very many." The Wolverines rushed for 179 yards during that 35-7 win in Ann Arbor. The longest run of the day was 26 yards.
* Some of the shotgun snaps in Las Vegas were not hitting its intended target. Multiple times, quarterback Andrew Peasley had to go low for the ball and he was even forced to jump on the loose change a couple of times. What gives? "We talked to (Nofoafia Tulafono) about that and he said his hands got sweaty and were slipping," Bohl said. "It's difficult for a quarterback to counter the ball when it's low."
* Peasley connected on just 11-of-22 passes for 144 yards and a crucial interception at the goal line with 12 seconds remaining in the first half. He also led the team in rushing, rolling up 69 yards on 14 carries, including scoring on a 32-yard jaunt in the second quarter. I thought Andrew played as gutsy of a game as what I've seen him play," Bohl said, adding Friday night that the senior was throwing up in a trash can on the sideline after taking a hit. "It wasn't one of his best games. He's disappointed. But I think a lot of things led into that, you know, being off kilter a little bit."
* It's the official "goodbye" part of the season. The number of players who are actually out of eligibility who will play their final game inside War Memorial Stadium Saturday sits at 10. Middle linebacker Easton Gibbs and defensive tackle Jordan Bertagnole have one year remaining but both have said they plan to move on after the season. There could be more, but Bohl Monday wasn't naming names.
* Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the eligibility lines are still blurred with the extra season granted by the NCAA. Bohl said Monday he has already started having discussions with players who have an upcoming decision to make. "It's their choice if they want to be introduced," he said. "They don't have to make a final decision now."
* The NCAA Transfer portal will open on Monday, Dec. 4 and close Tuesday, Jan. 2.
MORE UW FOOTBALL NEWS VIA 7220SPORTS:
* The NCAA's early signing day begins Wednesday, Dec. 20. Bohl said Monday the team has 14 verbal commitments from high school prospects. Does he like the trajectory? "Yeah, I am," Bohl said. "I think we've worked really hard and Gordie (Haug) has done a great job leading that department. You know, there's a guy that we offered in state -- we scour the state, so we're in hopes that we're going to get a positive response there -- that's always important to us and heartwarming to me. But yeah, we've been out and you know, what you're seeing is, what are schools trying to do? Are they trying to revamp their roster with transfers? Are they going to stay developmental? Are they going to go with a hybrid model? We're still choosing to build our program through a developmental model and supplement ... I think we're in a good place right now. We're going to have a couple visits this weekend again and, you know, I think usually we garner some commitments off that. So, we're in a good place."
* Bohl was asked Monday if QB Evan Svoboda is the frontrunner for the starting job heading into 2024. While the head coach failed to outright answer that question, he did compliment the sophomore's progression, whether it be foot work or "from the shoulders up." Bohl said again Svoboda can throw it a "country mile" and the game is slowing down for him. "The future looks really, really bright," he said.
* Will Bohl be a part of that future. Ryan Thorburn of the Casper Star Tribune asked the longest-tenured head coach in program history what his plans are beyond this season, especially with his current contract set to expire after the 2024 season. He also didn't answer that outright, but said he is excited about the future of Cowboy football. You can read my column about Bohl's future right HERE.
* Will any youngsters see action over the final two weeks of the regular season? Bohl mentioned cornerback Ian Bell has gotten some snaps on defense. Fellow DB Keany Parks has been a mainstay on special teams as he makes the transition from running back to corner. Bohl said the opportunity could present itself, but his focus is on one thing. "I think the biggest thing is we're trying to do whatever we can to win the next game," he said.
* While the ultimate dangling carrot -- a Mountain West title -- is over, left tackle Frank Crum said Monday this team can still accomplish something that hasn't been done around here in a long time -- win nine games. The last time that happened was 1996 when Joe Tiller's Cowboys won 10 games during the regular season. The Cowboys can also remain perfect at home with a win over the Rainbow Warriors and with a victory at Nevada in the season finale, snap a six-game losing skid outside of War Memorial Stadium.
* Wyoming leads the all-time series with the 'Bows 16-11 and knocked off Hawaii 27-20 last November in Honolulu.
*These two teams, oddly enough, have a traveling trophy. The winner claims the Paniolo Trophy, a bronze statue of a Cowboy preparing to lasso a calf. The hardware was donated to the two schools by the Wyoming Paniolo Society, a group of Hawaii residents with Cowboy State roots. Definitely unique.
* The Cowboys (6-4, 3-3) and Rainbow Warriors (4-7, 2-4) are set to kickoff from Laramie at noon on Saturday. The game will be televised on Spectrum Hawaii PPV.
University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players
Gallery Credit: 7220Sports.com
- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players