SI.com 2003 College Football Preview




SI.com's College Football Team Previews - from Athlon Sports

  Wyoming Cowboys

 
The Lowdown
Coach: Joe Glenn (1st year)
2002 record: 2-10
Mountain West finish: 8th
2002 offensive stats:
Rush: 100.0 ypg
(7th in Mountain West, 107th in nation)
Pass: 279.8 ypg (2nd, 18th)
2002 defensive stats:
Rush: 205.8 ypg (8th, 104th)
Pass: 285.1 ypg (8th, 114th)
Projected Starters
Offense (6 returning starters in bold)
WR   85   Ryan McGuffey   Sr.  
WR  Jovon Bouknight  So. 
WR  88  Malcom Floyd  Sr. 
LT  73  Chase Johnson  Fr. 
LG   66   Isaac Morales   Jr.  
C   70   Trenton Franz   Jr.  
RG   76   Henry Randle   Sr.  
RT  77  Dan Fisher  So. 
TE  42  Aaron Robbins  So. 
QB   14   Casey Bramlet   Sr.  
RB   28   Derek Armah   Sr.  
Defense (7)
DE  43  John Flora  So. 
NG  62  Jacob Bonde  Jr. 
DT   55   Zach Morris   Jr.  
DE   91   Brandon Casavan   Sr.  
WLB   29   Guy Tuell   Jr.  
MLB  30  Randy Tscharner  Jr. 
SLB   47   Tyler Gottschalk   Sr.  
CB   8   Chris Dixon   Sr.  
CB   2   Roderrick Jackson   Sr.  
FS   7   Jacque Finn   Sr.  
SS  26  Tom Vincent  Sr. 
Special Teams
37  Scott Parker  So. 
46  Luke Donovan  Sr. 
KR  Jovon Bouknight  So. 
PR  20  Ivan Harrison  Fr. 
2003 Schedule
Aug. 30  Montana State 
Sept. 6  at Oklahoma State 
Sept. 13  Kansas 
Sept. 20  at Air Force 
Sept. 27  at Boise State 
Oct. 11  at Utah State 
Oct. 18  BYU 
Oct. 25  at San Diego State 
Nov. 1  Colorado State 
Nov. 15  at Utah 
Nov. 22  New Mexico 
Nov. 29  UNLV 
Joe Glenn has won at Doane (Neb.) College, Northern Colorado and Montana during his remarkable 18-year head coaching career. The enthusiastic, charming and likeable head coach expects to win at Wyoming, too.

"It may take a little bit, but whatever it takes, we're gonna get it done," says Glenn, who has won national championships at the Division I-AA and Division II levels and has not once endured a losing season. "We are bent on getting this thing right, I'll tell you that."

Undoubtedly, Glenn is facing his greatest challenge in Laramie, where turnout for home games has dwindled so severely that empty seats have routinely outnumbered occupied ones over the past three seasons.

Not only has attendance slumped, so have the Cowboys. Since 2000, Wyoming is 5-29 overall and 1-20 in the Mountain West. The arrival of Glenn, however, has made an immediate impact. The players appeared revitalized during spring drills, feeding off the energy of Glenn and his highly positive coaching staff.

OFFENSIVE KEYS:

Once again, Wyoming has the makings of one of the best passing offenses in the nation. If only the Cowboys could find a running game.

Quarterback Casey Bramlet, who showed considerable improvement last season while leading the Mountain West Conference with 3,290 yards and 24 touchdowns, is back at the controls of a passing offense that has ranked among the nation's top 20 in each of the past two seasons. In addition to his aerial abilities, Bramlet has displayed a knack for escaping the blitz and gaining yards on broken plays that appeared headed for disaster. Plus, Bramlet's leadership skills evolved last season as he gained confidence.

Wide receivers Ryan McGuffey, Jovon Bouknight and Malcom Floyd figure to share the majority of Bramlet's passes.

If the Cowboys can figure out a way to sustain their ground game for the first time since Ryan Christopherson anchored the backfield 10 years ago, they'd really be in business. Wyoming will once again rely on Derek Armah, who averaged a respectable 4.8 yards per carry and scored six touchdowns last season. Although he lacks great speed or strength, Armah takes good care of the football, blocks well and has pass-catching ability.

DEFENSIVE KEYS:

It was a forgettable 2002 for the Cowboys, who allowed 30-plus points in nine of 12 games, ranked No. 114 nationally in total defense and were seemingly unable to stop any third-down play.

Although new coordinator Mike Breske promises a more aggressive approach, Wyoming returns many of the same starters and doesn't appear to have the talent to match up in the rugged Mountain West Conference.

Watch out for Tyler Gottschalk, a fierce linebacker who ranked second in the conference in tackles (125) and forced fumbles (3) last season. The safety position is in good shape, led by returnees Jacque Finn and Nate Young, but the cornerback position is especially thin.

End Brandon Casavan is the anchor on a defensive line that managed only 10 sacks and was routinely manhandled last season.

SPECIAL TEAMS:

After Lou Groza Award candidate J.D. Wallum was lost to a season-ending knee injury last September, the Cowboys' kicking game became an adventure. Scott Parker, who made half of his eight attempts in Wallum's absence, figures to be better with experience.

The punting game, though, should be mostly free of headaches. Luke Donovan, who hasn't had a kick blocked in two years as a starter, averaged 43 yards per punt last season.

FINAL ANALYSIS:

The arrival of Glenn and his coaching staff has energized the Cowboys' slumping program, spiked season ticket sales at War Memorial Stadium and led to talk of a winning season. Some fans even expect Wyoming to earn its first bowl bid since 1993. Realistically, the Cowboys will only go as far as their defense takes them. Many of the same players from one of the nation's worst defenses in 2002 will fill starting spots, and depth at nearly every position is a concern. If the defense enjoys a resurgence, the Cowboys figure to score enough points to win most of their games. Wyoming returns seven starters from an offense that ranked 18th nationally in passing. The team's schedule, which has included the likes of Tennessee, Washington and Texas A&M in recent years, appears more forgiving.

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