2009 Wyoming Cowboys Football Preview
2008 Record: (4-8, 1-7)
2008 Bowl: none
Coach: Dave Christensen (First year at Wyoming, 0-0 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Marcus Arroyo
Defensive Coordinator: Marty English
Other Key Returnees: CB Marcell Gipson, CB Tashaun Gipson, DT Fred Givens, LB Weston Johnson, OT Clayton Kirven, WR David Leonard, OT Ryan Otterson, TE Jesson Salyards, G Sam Sterner, WR Brandon Stewart, DE Mitch Unrein
Key Losses: C Tim Bond, LB Ward Dobbs, G Kyle Howard, LB Mike Juergens, RB Devin Moore, S Quincy Rogers, RB Wynel Seldon, QB Chris Stutzriem
Coach Dave Christensen spent eight seasons running the Missouri offense and now he has his own team to work with. Implementing the new spread offense will not be easy, but Coach Christensen has a few pieces to work with. It will not happen overnight, but Wyoming’s awful offense that ranked last in the nation in points per game, could be a dynamic unit sooner or later.
The coaching staff has done a pretty good job updating the talent on the roster. The most pressing need was at quarterback and junior college transfer Robert Benjamin was a decent pickup. However, Karsten Sween won the job in the spring and should be the quarterback. Sween started in 2007, but struggled with his decision making. Time and experience should help in that regard and it has already begun to show during the spring. However, Sween needs some help from the rest of the offense. Receivers Greg Bolling, Brandon Stewart and David Leonard are back, as is tight end Jesson Salyards, so Sween should have plenty of options down field. Coach Christensen traditionally does not rely much on the ground game, but running backs Devin Moore and Wynel Seldon combined to rush for nearly 2,000 yards last year and they will not be easy to replace.
While the offense adjusts to the new system, the defense will have to carry this team. With eight starters returning, the prospects sound promising, but the Cowboys defense needs to replace a few key contributors. Linebackers Ward Dobbs and Mike Juergens will be difficult to replace and that will put a lot of pressure on players like Weston Johnson and Gabe Knapton to step up and be leaders. The biggest problem is on the defensive line where Wyoming struggled to get into the backfield. Tackle John Fletcher is the only player on the team who has proven that he can consistently get to the quarterback and the new staff has to come up with some schemes to get somebody into the backfield. Otherwise the secondary, even though they return three starters, will not rank second in the conference in pass defense again this year.
The Bottom Line for the Cowboys:
The only highlight of Coach Joe Glenn’s last season with Wyoming was the win over Tennessee; and even then the offense struggled to score points. Everybody expects Coach Christensen to turn Wyoming’s offense into Missouri’s offense overnight, but it will not happen. Surely the team will average more than 12.67 points per game, but it would be impossible to do any worse than that. In time, if the recruiting continues to go well, Wyoming could be a player in the Mountain West Conference, but it will take a couple years.
By Joel Welser
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