Coach: Joe Glenn (3rd season, 11–13) 2004 record: 7-5 (Beat UCLA in Las Vegas Bowl) MWC finish: 3-4 (t-4th) 2004 I-A offensive rankings: Rushing: 82nd (129.3 ypg) Passing: 36th (240.4 ypg) 2004 I-A defensive rankings: Rushing: 81st (179.2 ypg) Passing: 57th (211.5 ypg)
at Air Force
at Ole Miss
at Colorado State
at San Diego State
Depth Chart: Offense
8 returning starters in red
Depth Chart: Defense
8 returning starters in red
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When he took over as Wyoming's head coach, Joe Glenn had an ambitious goal. Go to, and win, a bowl game.
Within two years, almost to the day of Glenn's hiring, the Cowboys achieved their goal, beating UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl last December.
What's Glenn's next goal?
"Same deal," said Glenn, who has led Wyoming's resurgence in the Mountain West Conference. "We want to go to a bowl game, we want to win a bowl game and we'd like to go to the best bowl game offered to our league. What's that tell you? That means we want to win the conference championship. Absolutely, our goal is to win our conference. That will be our goal every year now."
Wyoming has a chance to be No. 1 in the Mountain West this season. Eight starters return on both sides of the ball, giving the Cowboys one of the most experienced teams in the conference.
"I don't see why we can't go play with anybody in our league," said Glenn.
Quarterback Corey Bramlet spent the 2004 season trying to work his way out of the shadow of his brother Casey, the school's career leader in total offense, passing yards, passing completions and touchdown passes.
In Wyoming's 24-21 victory over UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl, Corey cast a shadow of his own, throwing for a career-high 307 yards and engineering a brilliant game-winning drive in the final minutes. Glenn expects Bramlet to be even better during his senior season and has predicted that he'll emerge as one of the country's top signal-callers.
Bramlet might have to carry the Cowboys' offense, especially if young running backs Wynel Seldon and J.R. Moore don't answer the bell. Ivan Harrison and Joe Harris, who accounted for 64 percent of the team's rushing yards last season, both underwent major knee surgeries this offseason and are expected to be out of action until at least mid-October.
At least Bramlet has a fleet of talented receivers, led by Jovon Bouknight, who is on pace to finish his career as the third-leading receiver in program history behind Marcus Harris and Ryan Yarborough, both of whom were selected in the NFL Draft.
It's been years since Wyoming returned such talent on defense, especially in the secondary, where cornerback Derrick Martin and free safety John Wendling lead one of the better units in the Mountain West Conference.
The Cowboys are in good shape up front, too. Three starters return, including sturdy noseguard Dusty Hoffschneider, who helped spearhead a resurgence against the run last season.
Wyoming believes junior college transfers Corey Mace and Fa'aaliga Selesele will both make immediate contributions.
Although Austin Hall, the starter on the strong side, is the only returnee in the linebacking corps, the Cowboys have tremendous depth. Jeff Tatnall and John Prater, two of the toughest players on the team, figure to join Hall in the starting lineup. Ward Dobbs, Sean Claffey and brothers Matt and Luke Chase will all see regular playing time.
Wyoming returns four All-Mountain West selections on its special teams, fronted by placekicker Deric Yaussi, the team's leading scorer the past two years.
Punter Adam Brooks, who averaged 42.7 yards per attempt in '04, is an asset in the field position game. The return game features Hoost Marsh, who emerged out of the blue last season as the conference's best punt returner, and Bouknight, who averaged 22.9 yards per kickoff return.
If the Cowboys hope to achieve their preseason goal of winning the Mountain West Conference championship, three things must happen. One, Bramlet must build upon his MVP showing in the Las Vegas Bowl and emerge as the top passer in the conference. Two, Seldon and Moore must fill a gaping void at running back. Three, Wyoming must figure out how to win away from the friendly confines of War Memorial Stadium.
The Cowboys' mettle will be tested early; they play three of their first four games on the road, beginning with a season-opening trip to Florida, where former Utah coach Urban Meyer will be looking to make a good first impression on the Gator faithful.