UW-Temple postgame thoughts

Tough way to end a good season for Wyoming with a 37-15 loss to Temple Saturday in the New Mexico Bowl.

Just wasn’t in the cards for the Cowboys and the Owls were better in every area. Temple scored touchdowns on its first three drives. Just when UW looked to get some momentum with a touchdown late in the second quarter on a pass from Brett Smith to Josh Doctson, Temple answered with a 61-yard TD pass after cornerback Marqueston Huff slipped and fell on the play.

Another unfortunate thing was Smith played like a freshman. He was picked off three times. One was on a Hail Mary pass, but two others resulted in 10 Temple points. He was very disappointed with his effort. But you know for as good as he’s been this season, he played more like a true freshman in this game. Temple had a lot to do with that. It was unfortunate Smith had a game like he did on this stage, but it happens. He will learn from it and I have a feeling he will bounce back.

As expected, UW’s defense couldn’t stand up to Temple’s run game. That was as physical a team UW has faced this season. They were big, physical and experienced. Sophomore quarterback Chris Coyer was impressive, and was named the game’s Outstanding Offensive Player.

Was disappointed to see the game get chippy near the end. Unfortunate for junior defensive tackle Mike Purcell to get ejected in the second half.

There was a lot of disappointments in this game, but this wasn’t a disappointing season for the Cowboys. It was 8-5 with a team made up of mostly freshmen and sophomores. The future looks good, and coach Dave Christensen agreed to a new five-year contract Friday night. Work needs to be done, improvement can be made in a lot of areas (both lines come to mind off the bat).

Received some comments and Twitter messages from fans expressing their frustration, and that’s OK because it shows they care. But before you think Smith shouldn’t be the starter next season and that it was a good thing that defensive secondary coach Alex Grinch leaving to coach safeties at Missouri (those were some of the crazier comments I received), just take a deep breath and realize the program as a whole is in a pretty good place and things look good in the future.

  • greg f

    The trouncing aside, somebody needs to explain the destruction of our logo on those helmets. As you know sports illustrated once had it listed as one of the top ten helmet logos in the country but now we can’t get our beloved bucking bronc right for national tv. One football Blogger from Florida posted “what is that blob on wyoming’s helmets”? what’s next, ragtime cowboy moe?

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone

    • rgagliardi

      It was the Steamboat logo that normally goes on the brown helmets. Still think you could tell what it was.

      RG

  • stymie

    from what i saw was a team that thought because they had been here b4 they could rest on their laurels and past experiences. This team was flat from the beginning and looked very ill prepared. I understand Temple had big uglies on the front line and their RB and QB were sharp, there’s no reason after scoring a TD giving up that big play to go into the half down 21 again. Coaches were unsure of what to do and can see that they did not prepare this team that well, something that’s happened on a few occassions. I am proud of this team for the season they had and getting something done to keep DC from jumping ship, now that it’s mostly DC’s recruits let’s see what we have here, and the sky’s the limit here, fun time had in ABQ just wish the team coulda given us a bit more to cheer for!!! NOW it’s on to BBALL and time to come out and support Larry and the kids at the AA!!!! GO POKES

  • Marv

    I question the offensive play calling. How many times can we run HB draws and screens? They knew it was coming 80% of the time!! Just because Smith threw a few picks doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try for intermediate range passing. I think the conservative play calling also mentally got into Smiths head giving him no confidence.

    I wish our play calling was more cutthroat and aggressive. Reminded me of the days under our previous OC.

  • Michael Sawyer

    Disappointing game, no doubt, but losing has a way of getting a team (and coaching staff) focused on areas that need improvement. Physicality at the point of attak has been an area that Wyoming has been lacking for a while now. Size matters as well as strength and conditioning. But the bottom line to playing physical football, when all things are equal, is playing with attitude. Not the kind of attitude that got Purcell tossed, but the kind of attitude that comes with thorough preparation and the willingness to receive as well as dish out pain. Temple had that attitude in abundance yesterday and the Pokes got trampled.

    The good news is that such things like that are adjustments that can be made and a good coaching staff will do so. In addition, Wyoming has the tools to make the adjustments….good players who want to win. Given this off-season to ruminate on the pounding they got from the Owls, I think they’ll giv every effort to address that short-coming. Time will tell.

    All in all, a great season for the Cowboys. And for all you Pokes fans that want to moan and complain about how the season ended, be glad you weren’t in Knoxville this November. We lost to a VERY bad Kentucky team…the first loss to Kentucky in twenty-six years! Now there’s something to cry and complain about! And, there was a whole lot of both. My son had never seen Tennessee lose to Kentucky, to put that one in perspective.

    So, don’t take it too hard. Wyoming had a very good season…an unexpectedly good season…and next year is looking even better. So, enjoy the show. Merry Christmas to all you folks in Wyoming!

  • Ted LeBlunt

    RG-

    Was this a bowl game that Christensen and staff needed for a rebuilding program, or an excuse with a sub .500 record to get a pay raise? I’m sure there are a lot of people, hungry and talented that feel slighted in the US right now about earning a living. Christensen- is not one of those individuals.

    Do I believe Houston had an offer on the table, or Memphis wanted him? Absolutely, he has talent and has done a decent job of retooling a program left in disrepair by Glenn and Co. I’m a progressive thinker and a reasonably good businessman. in this day of big payday and selling athletics down the river in spite of what it does to the geographic rivalries and college athletes involved; I was hoping that big Dave would have squarely said “We’ll talk, after we kick Temples ass- I’ve got a ball game to get prepared for”…essentially putting his program in front of his personal aspirations. It appears that this was leveraged, and that in my opinion sucks.

    You see in Wyoming, that is the way Cowboy’s work. It’s part of our brand, its in the way we talk or don’t talk for that matter. Sorry to see the boys of Wyo yesterday get their ass kicked in every facet of the game. The seniors deserved better, this game was on National Television if you didn’t know- we looked like we never played a lick of football all year. Sure Temple was big, fast, could run- but, really are they 4 touchdowns better? It was the first game a lot of Wyoming fans that don’t have the Mtn could even watch a game and we show up and throw up on ESPN, whom has zero respect for the MWC anyway….on and on this thing really was a disaster.

    Proud of the Pokes, not sure on this pivotal financial thing. Oh well, maybe next year DC wins a championship; the pressure is on now. I also hope Burman considers the consequences of a long term arrangement with any athletic department colleague. What seems in the best interest of the UW does not always work that way. Remarkable year in spite of the debacle yesterday, RG…I realize you and the tight media circle are limited in the market to say what you feel, I hope I didn’t breach any sacred ground that others would openly express.

    Go Cowboys.

    • rgagliardi

      Burman indicated to me that Wyoming had to act fast with Christensen’s contract the way it did or risk losing him. It may not have been the Cowboy way but its the way of the business of college athletics.

      RG

    • Matt

      Ted
      First off let’s praise the Pokes for the year they had and actually 2 of the last three they have had.
      You say you are a reasonably good businessman but one would really have to wonder about that when you then complain about a long term deal, 5 five years is that long for a quality coach. Wyoming has long been considered a stepping stone program and has been hurt financially and psycologically because of it. In business you cannot be completely short sided and cheap because those who don’t want to invest in their future great trampled by those who do.
      As a former UW football player and a Cowboy Joe member I’m extremely excited Mr Burman and the University of Wyoming has finally made this investment for the future.

      Please keep on mind institutions like Boise State and TCU haven’t sat back thinking small and look what it has done not only for their Sports programs but also for their Universities and alumni base!

      • Matt

        “5 years isn’t that long for a quality coach.”

      • Ted LeBlunt

        Good points, Matt- nothing personal at all and everyone has their right to opinions. Joe Tiller was a winner, and I’m no Lee Moon fan. I support the UW monetarily to the general fund. I’m inspired by the direction of the two major programs and like what Burman is doing. Time will tell in this latest development at the administrative level, I sincerely hope we give the staff the right level of financial inspiration to get the job done.

        As an alumni and former athlete, I believe the University comes first regardless of what may seem unpleasant in written discourse. Read my comments a little closer and you will find that I like our direction and will continue my loyalty to our alma mater.

        • Timmy Jack

          Wow, if we lose Brandon- aka as the Offensive Force of our gameplanning/ this thing could unravel. Interesting timing no doubt, I think Ted’s got some merit here.

          Big City Poker in the Gem City via ABQ. This is the first year we’ve shown some flashes of the “Spread” and without the detail our OC provides it could be another rebuilding project takes on a new dimension.

          I’m not going to say much about our display down in New Mexico, because there was not much going on with guts or glory being displayed on either side of the ball. I don’t like the timing of the contract extension, my sense is these things leak. A buddy of mine whom was contracted to do the team photo indicated it was called off for more practice time. So, lack of preperation may not be the target. But somehow we played undisciplined, uninspired football.

          Hoping for a Championship soon. Glad the Cowboys rose their competitiveness in 2011, RG. It was in the context of DC a decent “body of work”.

          Merry Christmas Big Fella, and Cowboys everywhere.

  • Sean

    Ted must have been with the crowd that ran Tiller off too.

  • DMC

    Just returned from the New Mexico Bowl and wanted to share with those who did not make the trip what a excellent showing by Wyoming Fans. From the evening at the Dirty Bourbon and the turnout at the pregame festivities and ultimately the game, a really impresssive showing. Its a reflection of how passionate our fans are for the program to turn the corner and put some competion on the field. Unfortunately, I wittnessed the opposite of that at the New Mexico Bowl. Our defense against the run needs some real improvement. We saw it against Utah State and again against Temple. We need to find some size to stuff the run and I don’t see any coming. What works best the 3-4 or 4-3? Is Chris McNeil going to be our only clutch receiver? Dropped passes stalled drives on several occasions. We have good youth on the team and yes they hopefully are all coming back…who has got the speed on defense to play tighter coverage? Man we give up yardage on pass plays. The team seemed flat and unprepaired in all phases and out coached today. Looking forward to next year, Go Pokes

  • MJS

    It was obvious after watching the game that Temple wanted to win more than the Cowboys. Cowboys did not seem up to playing the game. Need to recruit bigger and stronger defensive linemen. We continue to be over-powered by strong running teams, esp. up the middle. Need to find a kicker that can kick the ball deep. Would like to see Wyoming use a TE , it would help open up the offense even more. Can’t wait for next year, I think we can win the conference.

    Glad the Broncos lost so sick of the Tebow talk.

    • rgagliardi

      I think Wyoming wanted to win, Temple was just better. You and many others think the same about more need up front. Wyoming doesnt herbal true tight end in its spread offense but it would be nice to have a big and reliable Target to work the middle of the field.

      RG

  • Brian

    Robert,
    Just got home after the long drive and yes was a very disappointing end to a good season. First off, not that it has any affect on the game play, but I don’t care to see those god awful uniforms. The helmets logos looked more black than brown. Yuck and that’s what was displayed on national tv no less.

    Your other commentors are spot on, the Pokes were completely flat-footed and not prepared to play a bowl game. I hope this is a side effect of a really young team. Temple was prepared and disciplined and I truely believe that’s why they won. A very bad trend was taking shape at the CSU game with all of the personal fouls, and then Purcell gets ejected at the bowl. That’s not acceptable, that’s Wyoming Chump not Wyoming Tough!

    I think Ted has a good point about the timing of the DC contract re-working. By no means am I saying that Wyoming, ala Burman, doesn’t need to make sure DC’s compenstation keeps him here lest he be given a great offer elsewhere, but the eve before a bowl game in which Wyoming laid a big egg? That means the bowl game counted for nothing and you just have to get to the postseason, not actually win the bowl game. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but if I was being paid $700k to do the job that I love, and I know my employer WILL sweeten the deal to remain competitive with other job offers, then I’d say let’s relax, get through the next couple days. If Houston REALLY wanted DC, then they would wait. I don’t think anyone can rule out if the DC contract issue was or was not a distraction.

    Okay, next season. I’d like to see a cleaner playing team, less personal fouls. The cupboards are being stocked, we have an awesome QB, a lot of young talented players returning, I’d like to be in the top three of the MWC (if not win it!). Wyoming has a lot to look forward to!

    • rgagliardi

      I thought Wyoming was prepared but that Temple was just better. Certainly not UW’s best game.

      I think if UW thought Houston would wait or anyone would wait for that matter that’s what would have been done. But sometimes that doesn’t work out. Was this a distraction? Maybe but how do you think speculation or flat out losing a coach the night before or day of the game would have done.

      A good season with a tough ending. Lots to build on.

      RG

  • Steve

    My thoughts on the TE is this… if we had one they would be matched up with a LB.. when we have 4 -5 recvrs on the field its the same match up in most cases… just need to separate. What happened to TJ Smith…he was showing some early signs last year and I did see him on the side lines in the bowl..he has good size if I remember.

    • rgagliardi

      Smith is still there. Just not progressing like the coaches had hoped.

      RG

  • dutchgunz

    I was one of those crazies that tweeted that I am happy Grinch is leaving. And I hope the entire defensive staff follow him one way or another too. RG, wgat has this defense done to garner such loyalty by you. Gipson should have been the best cover guy in the MW. 50 games under his belt!!!! He was above average at best all season. The defense.was very ill prepared for this game. Nevertheless I am very excited DC was signed on for another 5 years. I just hope he revamps the defense completely. I think DC is doing a great job other than the aweful defense he has allowed. He has it going in the right direction. Looking forward to supporting our Pokes this bball season. Also, couldnt have been more proud of our fans, and the impressive turnout for the game. Go Pokes!!!!

    • rgagliardi

      I actually was talking about someone else. You are definitely not one of the crazies.
      The defense can and needs to be better, no doubt. Could go in a lot of directions in terms of improvement. I just don’t see a house cleaning among the defensive staff. But I would like to see adjustments in one way, shape or form. I will say I think losing Grinch will hurt. Great young coach and recruiter.

      RG

      • Josh

        I never understood why Breske was not kept on. If there was one thing during the Glenn era you could count on, it was a very stiff defense. He was able to get some big guys up here (like Unrein and the gang) as well as recruit guys like Gipson out from under Big 12 schools. No offense to English, but it just seems like Breske had a better handle on overall defense and recruiting than the current group does.

  • Andy S.

    I stayed at the team hotel, and I could tell on Friday night that the team was not focused. I commented to my traveling caravan that, “we might be in for a long game tomorrow.” Body English speaks volumes. Needless to say, I don’t want to talk about the game itself, because everyone here has conveyed what I would have said also.

    Albuquerque once again did an excellent job as hosts. My only qualm was that the ‘Dirty Bourbon’ was not the right venue for our crowd. The line out the door was ridiculous, and the way the door guys were treating Poke fans was unacceptable.
    We ended up at Lucky’s and Houligans with the Biezuns family. The staff at Lucky’s (all three of them) did an EXCELLENT JOB for as many WYO folks that showed up in that place.

    With that being said, I’m hoping for a different bowl next year, and definitely, a much better outcome.

  • jimj gunter

    I bitched all year when we lost some quality guys on defense early this season, we took some of our better kids and put them on offense. Daves a offense guy first. He kind of left Marty a little short handed .One last note please quit srewing with the uniforms. Should of worn the brown tops yellow pants brown helmet with complete logo, we were the home team I guess. Away games either yellow pants white tops white helmet or all white uniforms. Anybody know how much they spend on all the uniform combo’s.We need a mean old ball coach like mine in high school on defense Vince Guinta you wrap up on defense or he’d put a boot in you a–.that guy was intense believe me.

  • Doesn’t Matter

    I watched this game up close. The defense really sucks, kids are out of position, the linebackers are small, don’t read well or attack, they don’t take on blocks. The def. line is just
    @#$%@##. The two starters again just like all season long get pushed around and end up on the ground. They don’t provide any pass rush pressure, on running plays they always end up on the ground, I dont know what the def. line coach or def. corrd. see in those two. When ever you’re in the red zone/goal line you need aggressive big guys in there. I saw one big guy #58, he was hard to move and plugged holes. There was a series when Temple was backed up in which #98 and #58 were on the field they provided what a def. line should play like, it put Temple in a pressure spot then as usual the %^$#@$ coaches put #50 and #15 back in which resulted in Temple continuing to drive the ball and score on different occassions. Please tell me why would you put small guys on the field play goal line def. when all season they end up in the back of the endzone or on the ground with 6 points added to the score board. #98 and #58 should be the starters. Lastly, look at D-line coaches across the country they are really intense and hyped coaches not the guy in the eye drop comercial “dry eye” you cant play players who you like or who kisses your @#$ this is a business.

  • jimgunter

    Look in all fairness when you lose quarter of you starting defense because of all kinds of reasons like MERTAINS,SCROBER,GARY ,GHALLI, STRONG. it don’t.help. Then they take LANGE. BRINKNESS put them as H-Backs like we need a couple more of them . For christ sakes they could’nt find someone to block every once in awhile.That BRINKNESS kid was a tuff D.E. last year. How about putting some of those kids at linebacker have a little size for a change How about PELATASI,WILLS as out side linebackers 6-4 230-240 lb kids with a little size and speed..Go find a couple quarterbacks in highschool make safeties out of them. around 6-3 200 lbs. There out there we don’t need them as quarterbacks just hard nose smart kids ain’t scared to come up and tackle someone.Find some kids like Brett ,PROSINSKI,WELDING quarterbacks in highschool.YOU CAN’T HAVE 5-10 185 lb kids as safeties in D-1 football now a days. I guess they’ll get it figured out they know and make a hell of alot more then me.