Better blocking key to get UW’s run game going

Third-year Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl took a lot of questions during Monday’s news conference, and one of them was about UW’s run game and its lack of production in its 27-24 loss at Eastern Michigan and at other times this season.

Junior running back Brian Hill has averaged 115.8 yards per game, but in the Cowboys’ two losses he failed to reach 100 yards. Hill said he needs to do a better job of breaking arm tackles at or close to the line of scrimmage.

Craig Bohl

Craig Bohl

Bohl said the offensive line also can do a better job.

“We need to stay on blocks, finish off blocks,” he said. “If you’re not maintaining blocks on the line of scrimmage by one of your players up front, you can X and O all want and it doesn’t matter. Those guys have to maintain and execute blocks and we’ll work hard on that this week.”

I will have more on that in Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and online at wyosports.net.

The Cowboys’ depth chart for their Border War game with Colorado State Saturday didn’t change from last week, but here it is:

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Junior cornerback Robert Priester (concussion) will be back this week, and UW will be healthy — assuming nothing happens in practice this week — for the CSU game.

UW hasn’t opened Mountain West play against CSU since 2002. That year, it lost 44-36 in Fort Collins and went on to finish 2-10. Coming off a disappointing loss at Eastern Michigan, I asked players if they thought this was a good time to play their biggest rival.

Brian Hill

Brian Hill

“It’s a big game because it’s the next game,” Hill said. “We have to focus all of our attention to this game. We can’t go back and we can’t look ahead. We just have to focus on the Rams and get ready to beat the Rams.

“A litlte rivaly never hurt anything,” Hill added with a wry smile. “I know fans are fired up, and our players are fired up, especially those from Colorado. We’re going to go out ther and try to get to 3-2.”

There was a five-year stretch from 2007-11 UW and CSU played on the last week of the regular season — when a lot of college football’s biggest rivalry games were played (Ohio State vs. Michigan, Auburn vs. Alabama, etc.). I always thought that was cool, but that time of year was bad as it often fell over Thanksgiving weekend and crowds for the games were not great.

Not sure I like opening league play with your biggest rival, but I like the time of year. October is a good time and history shows that some of the biggest crowds in the series history has occurred when games are played during this time.

What are your thoughts on this?

Curt Mallory

Curt Mallory

I asked UW safeties coach and defensive pass game coordinator Curt Mallory about the defense’s effort at Eastern Michigan. Four interceptions — two returned for touchdowns — was great. He said there were chances for more interceptions.

But 500-plus yards of total offense, including a 50-yard touchdown run and the defense’s inability to get a stop late in the game (despite a short field) that allowed Eastern Michigan to score the game-winning touchdown with 1:35 to play overshadowed the positives.

“Consistency. We go into points and do some realy good things, then we do things we can’t do. Can’t give up big plays. One thing I’ve been encouraged about is being able to stop long runs for touchdowns, but that happened at Eastern Michigan and it can’t happen any more. We need to continue to to be more consitent.”

See the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and go online to wyosports.net for more UW sports coverage.