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2013 Record: 5-7 MW Record: 3-5 2014 Returning Starters: 16: 6 Offense, 8 Defense, Kicker, Punter
Coach: Craig Bohl: At Wyoming, 1st year, overall: 104-32, 11 years
Offensive Coordinators: Brent Vigen Defensive Coordinators: Steve Stanard
2014 Wyoming Players to Watch: RB Shaun Wick, WR Dominic Rufran, WR Jalen Claiborne, LB Devyn Harris, LB Mark Nzeocha, DE Eddie Yarbrough, LB Jordan Stanton, CB Blair Burns
2014 Wyoming Strengths:
There’s a buzz of renewed enthusiasm in Laramie with a new coaching staff. Cowboys coach Craig Bohl has a slew of returning starters and he is aproven winner, having dominated at the FCS level with North Dakota State with the past three national championships.
2014 Wyoming Weaknesses:
An offense goes as the quarterback goes, and the departure of record-setter Brett Smith to the NFL a year early left Bohl with an enormous hole to fill. Also, asking veteran players on both sides of the ball to switch to new systems.
2014 Wyoming Offense:
Wyoming returns six starters and other contributors from an explosive attack that ranked 22nd nationally in total offense. But the ringleader, quarterback Brett Smith, left for the NFL a year early. Wyoming also lost the odds-on favorite to replace him when sophomore Jason Thompson transferred to Utah to reunite with ex-Wyoming coach Dave Christensen, now the Utes’ offensive coordinator. First-year Cowboys coach Craig Bohl, who led North Dakota State to the past three FCS national championships, concluded spring drills with senior Colby Kirkegaard atop the depth chart at quarterback. But the competition could continue into August camp. Kirkegaard, a former junior college transfer, was Smith’s backup in 2012, but redshirted last season Last year’s seldom-used second-teamer, sophomore Tom Thornton is back. Senior Sam Stratton also battled in the spring. Despite the loss of graduated Robert Herron (72 catches, nine touchdowns), wide receiver remains a strength, led by senior starters Dominic Rufran (75 catches, eight TDs), Jalen Claiborne (33, nve TDs), and sophomore Tanner Gentry (39 catches). Bohl is switching Wyoming’s offensive attack from the spread to a West Coast attack. That brings tight ends and fullbacks back into play and will enable Wyoming to playa more aggressive and physical style.
2014 Wyoming Defense:
Wyoming will look different on defense, switching from a 3-4 alignment to a 4-3. Bohl coaches a Tampa 2 defense, which is typically zone oriented, with the safeties each responsible for half the neld at the back end. It also requires that the middle linebacker drop back into pass coverage on occasion, which has been an adjustment for seniors Jordan Stanton and Alex Borgs. But Bohl was fortunate to inherit experienced defenders and said he came out of the spring pleased with the effort. The front four, featuring returning All-Mountain West defensive end Eddie Yarbrough and sixth year senior defensive tackle Patrick Mertens, will be a strength. There are few worries at linebacker, with senior Mark Nzeocha manning the strong side and sixthyear senior Devyn Harris having moved from the middle to the weak side. Seniors Blair Burns and DeAndre Jones are savvy returning starting cornerbacks who will be required to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage. The loss of safety Marqueston Huff was softened by the return of senior Darrenn White, who missed the second half of the 2013 season with a shoulder injury.
2014 Wyoming Special Teams:
Last year’s starting placekicker (Stuart Williams) and punter (Ethan Wood) return, and both are dependable. But much improvement is needed with coverage units and in the return game.
2014 Wyoming Football Predictions:
Bohl, a native of Nebraska who had mega success in North Dakota, appears to be the perfect fit to build a successful program on the wind-swept, high plains of Laramie. He should feel fortunate taking over a team with so many returning starters. But if the Cowboys can’t get good quarterback play, all bets are off in his first season.
2014 Wyoming Football Betting Odds:
Wyoming Current odds to win a National Championship: OFF
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