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Wyoming Preview from CFN

Wyoming was seemingly on the verge of big things a few years ago, and looked like a possible Mountain West sleeper going into last season, especially after a dominant 23-3 win over Virginia to open things up. But things fell apart and now it’s likely win or walk for head coach Joe Glenn.

Head coach: Joe Glenn
7th year: 26-33
24th year: 184-92-1
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 21, Def. 22, ST 1
Lettermen Lost: 19
Ten Best UW Players
DT John Fletcher, Jr.
2. DT Mitch Unrein, Jr.
3. LB Ward Dobbs, Sr.
4. CB Marcell Gipson, Soph.
5. RB Devin Moore, Sr.
6. RB Wynel Seldon, Sr.
7. OT Kyle Howard, Sr.
8. FS Quincy Rogers, Sr.
9. OT Ryan Otterson, Jr.
10. LB Mike Juergens, Sr.

20087 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2008 Record: 0-0

Aug. 30 Ohio
Sept. 6 Air Force
Sept. 13 North Dakota State
Sept. 20 at BYU
Sept. 27 Bowling Green
Oct. 4 at New Mexico
Oct. 11 Utah
Oct. 18
Oct. 25 at TCU
Nov. 1 San Diego State
Nov. 8 at Tennessee
Nov. 15 at UNLV
Nov. 22 Colorado State

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2007 Record: 5

Sept. 1 Virginia W 23-3
Sept. 8
Utah State W 32-18
Sept. 15 at Boise St L 24-14
Sept. 22
at Ohio W 34-33
Oct. 6 TCU W 24-21
Oct. 13
New Mexico L 20-3
Oct. 20 at Air Force L 20-12
Oct. 27
UNLV W 29-24
Nov. 3 at SDSU L 27-24
Nov. 10 at Utah L 50-0
Nov. 17
BYU L 35-10
Nov. 23 at Colorado St L 36-28

Two seasons ago, the Cowboys suffered an early four-game losing stretch with some heartbreakingly close losses before closing out strong. Last year was the opposite as UW started out 4-3 with the potential for a big finishing kick.

And then … clunk.

The Cowboys were better than San Diego State and Colorado State, but lost both games. They were better than they showed in ugly games against Utah and BYU losing by a combined score of 85-10. They’ll also be better this season.

The big problem was an inconsistent offense that almost never, ever came up with the big play against a defense with a pulse once the season started to go south. The expected emergence of QB Karsten Sween into a major player never happened, the passing game struggled to get off the ground, and the points were tough to come by.

The defense should be the strength throughout the year with Mitch Unrein and John Fletcher leading the way up front, and a promising back eight with a good-looking secondary that should be far stronger. All in all, this is the type of defense that could do some major damage against the top Mountain West teams. But the lack of a steady attack will keep UW from being in the race.

Sween, if he wins the job, has to be better. The good running backs need holes to run through, and the athletic receiving corps has to play beyond its experience.

There will be a big win over one of the big boys, like there is every year. Now can the Cowboys do enough to be one of those top contenders? This will be an interesting team to keep an eye on, and it could be a sleeper if everything comes together. And if it can put together a full season.

What to watch for on offense: More of a reliance on the ground game. Devin Moore and Wynel Seldon form a talented, veteran running back tandem that deserves decent blocking for the first time. Moore is the speedster, and a strong kickoff returner, while Seldon is a banger. These two have to be the offense until more production and more consistency comes from the passing attack.

What to watch for on defense: John Fletcher and Mitch Unrein. Fletcher is 280 pounds and Unrein is 270, and together the two will wreak havoc on opposing backfields. The ideal linemen for the 3-4, these two should be unstoppable for stretches and could be the breakout names in the Mountain West season. They’ll be strong against the run and could combine for 20 sacks.

The team will be far better if … it can score. Against Boise State, New Mexico, Air Force, Utah and BYU, the Cowboys scored a total of 39 points. The offense didn’t go anywhere for long, painful stretches, and there was little to no explosion late in the year. The offense went over 30 points twice with one time coming against a hapless Utah State and the other in a 34-33 shootout at Ohio. The defense might be good, but it needs the offense to help the cause.

The Schedule: In a make-or-break year for head coach Joe Glenn, holding serve at home is a must and getting off to a hot start is vital. Beating Ohio and Air Force would be tremendous confidence boosters, but don’t look past a North Dakota State team more than good enough to pull off the upset if the Cowboys are looking ahead to the trip to BYU. There have to be at least two home wins against Utah, San Diego State and Colorado State, but the big key will be getting plenty of rest in the mid-October off week. After healing up, UW gets three road games in four weeks, including a trip to Tennessee.

Best Offensive Player: Senior RBs Devin Moore and Wynel Seldon. OT Kyle Howard has NFL potential and Sween could make a big turnaround and become a star, but it’s Moore and Seldon who’ll carry the offense on a regular basis and will be the ones the team will turn to when things get tough. These two have been around long enough to know exactly what they’re doing.

Best Defensive Player: Junior DT John Fletcher. He blew up last season making 60 tackles, 10.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss as one of the Mountain West’s premier interior pass rushers. Now he’ll be a marked man, but that’ll only mean more opportunities for Unrein and tackling machine Ward Dobbs

Key player to a successful season: Junior QB Karsten Sween … or sophomore Dax Crum, or senior Ian Hetrick. The Cowboys desperately need steady quarterback play after finishing 110th in the nation in passing efficiency with 12 touchdown passes and 19 interceptions. The running game is good enough to carry the offense through rough spots, so it’ll be the job of the quarterback, whomever that might be, to simply be serviceable. If one of them is great, UW will go from potentially good to a contender.

The season will be a success if … the Cowboys go to a bowl. It’s been three years since the supposed breakout win over UCLA in the 2004 Las Vegas Bowl in what was the program’s only post-season appearance since 1993. There are expectations in Laramie, but they’re not unrealistic. A 13th game is more than fair to ask for out of a veteran team with so much promise.

Key game: Oct. 4 at New Mexico. With road games at BYU and TCU, the Mountain West road slate isn’t fun. A win over a good New Mexico team could all but cement a winning season as long as the Cowboys don’t clunk in a big way at home. This would be the mid-season confidence booster needed before a key home date with the Utes.

2007 Fun Stats:
– Second quarter score: Opponents 115 – Wyoming 30
– Penalties: Opponents 87 for 721 yards – Wyoming 73 for 638 yards
– Fourth down conversions: Opponents 12 of 22 (55%) – Wyoming 4 of 18 (22%)


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