College Football Preview: The 2014 Wyoming Cowboys
Craig Bohl looks to turn around Wyoming football in 2014.
2014 College Football Preview
Former North Dakota State head coach Craig Bohl brings three straight FCS Championships to the Wyoming Cowboys.
Overview: Wyoming hasn't been a household name in the football arena but with what Bohl has done at North Dakota State is hopefully a blueprint for success in Laramie. There will be growing pains for certain and his first order of business will likely be getting the defense to play at a respectable level.
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Offense: The first thing Bohl's offense needs is to find a replacement under center for Brett Smith who threw for over 3,300 yards and ran for another 700+. Colby Kirkegaard and Sam Stratton (among others) appear to be the leading candidates but this position likely won't be settled soon. Leading rusher Shaun Wick (166-979) gave the Cowboys almost six yards per touch but depth at running back is an unknown. Robert Herron and 927 receiving yards have departed but Dominic Rufran (75-970) returns Tanner Gentry and Jalen Claiborne becoming the second and third options. The line features six players with starting experience and should be fine.
Defense: The defense wasn't good in 2013 but has loads of experience. The defensive line gets back five of the top six including ends Eddie Yarbrough and Sonny Puletasi who combined for 22 TFL and eleven sacks. All seven linebackers return with Jordan Stanton and Mark Nzeocha logging ten TFL apiece with Stanton logging a team high 101.5 tackles. Both starting safeties have graduated but seven of the top nine are back. The defense has plenty of returning players but the opposition had no problem moving the chains against this group in 2013.
Special Teams: Ethan Wood averaged 42 yards on 69 punts while Stuart Williams was 4-7 on field goals. Jalen Claiborne was the primary punt and kick returner but his performances were less then average.
Outlook: The offense should be better then the defense but Bohl is a defense first guy and we'll see if he can turn this unit around. His time at North Dakota State says he will at some point but will it be this season? That's a definite maybe.