First off, Wyoming football coach Dave Christensen answered questions about this year’s Air Force team — the one the Cowboys play Saturday night at Air Force to open Mountain West play.
But you knew questions would soon follow about Christensen’s obscenity-laced tirade toward Air Force coach Troy Calhoun after last season’s 28-27 Cowboys loss to the Falcons in Laramie.
Christensen, who was suspended one game and fined $50,000 for the incident, answered the questions with class and calmness. But one could tell he didn’t want to spend all of Monday answering questions about it.
“I am not playing one snap, and I don’t think Troy is, either,” he said. “Our focus is on execution and being ready to play Saturday night. My behavior is going to be much better. I will watch my Ps and Qs.”
Christensen wants the focus to be on the game, not he or Calhoun. But the questions will keep coming. And, the game is on national television on ESPNU and it could be brought up again there.
National exposure on any of ESPN’s networks is good for UW, but it would be good for both Christensen and the school if this subject was avoided.
The tirade was based on frustration due to a close loss that dropped UW to 1-5. It also was based off what Christensen thought was a dirty tactic of Air Force faking a player injury late in the game.
The way Christensen went about expressing his feelings about that was wrong, but it made an impression on his players in a positive way, even through it happened nearly a year ago.
“Coach C is a guy I know would go to bat for me,” senior free safety Marqueston Huff said, who also is one of four team captains this season.
“He put his neck out there on the line defending us. I am going down there and taking this one seriously. I am playing with a chip on my shoulder to get this win for my coach.”
Look for more on this later in the week.
Here are some other news and notes from Monday’s interview session with players and coaches:
– Christensen said out of 89 plays UW ran last Saturday against Northern Colorado, 32 had “execution flaws.” Execution will be a big emphasis once again this week in practice.
– Junior starting quarterback Brett Smith’s right ankle is fine, and he will start at Air Force. See Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and the video interview I did with him at wyosports.net and this blog.
– Christensen said redshirt freshman guard Chase Roullier did a good job starting on the left side for senior Tyler Strong last week. Strong is questionable this week with an injury.
– No one was listed as out for UW in terms if injuries Monday, but redshirt freshman starting outside linebacker Lucas Wacha, and junior backup receivers Trey Norman and Keenan Montgomery join Strong as being questionable.
– Air Force sophomore quarterback Jaleel Awani ran for 107 yards and threw for 99 in the Falcons’ 42-20 loss at Boise State last Friday. Christensen said Awani is different than past Air Force quarterbacks based on his ability to throw the ball.
– Christensen was asked about UW’s kicking game and if he was concerned about any part of it. He said no. Christensen thinks junior kicker Stuart Williams, who is 0-for-2 on field goals with misses from 50 and 35 yards, is fine. He liked that true freshman walk-on punter Ethan Wood kicked the ball into the end zone last week at Northern Colorado, but thought a couple of his line-drive punts in that game hurt the team.
For more on UW and Air Force, including comments from Smith on his ankle, more injury news and how one UW player is back with the team and one assistant coach is not, see Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.