UW-TCU post-game thoughts

I thought UW’s offense would struggle against No, 5 TCU’s defense, espeically since sophomore quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels didn’t make the trip.

But I thought the Cowboys’ defense would hold up better than they did. UW gave up 297 yards rushing and 281 passing. Five different players scored touchdowns and TCU scored on its first seven possessions.

I knew it would be tough for UW to stop TCU, but I thought it would do a little better job.

TCU’s big, physical and experienced offensive line dominated. TCU’s receivers used some double moves to run past UW’s defensive backs. Sophomore strong safety Shamiel Gary said he got beat three times on those double moves. Two went for touchdowns.

I didn’t think UW senior quarterback Dax Crum was that bad, considering he hadn’t seen meaningful playing time in more than two years. UW had only 191 yards, but it could have had Peyton Manning at quarterback today and it still wouldn’t have made that much difference.

See Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle www.wyomingnews.com and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.com for more on Crum in my column.

As coach Dave Christensen said: “TCU is a great team and we are rebuilding.”

Christensen refused to talk about Carta-Samuels’ condition or status for next week, nor any other injuries. He said he will address them Monday, along with a new policy on injuries.

Saw UW played junior John Hutchins most of the time at left tackle for junior Clayton Kirven. I saw Kirven riding an exercise bike on the sideline. Not sure if he was hurt or Hutchins just played better.

Senior Eric Lawson saw his first-ever playing time for the Cowboys at defensive tackle. Lawson’s a transfer from Colorado where he played on the defensive line, but was moved to offensive line when he came to UW. Expect to see Lawson play more the rest of the season.

Nice to see true freshman Robert Herron get rid of the drops. He ended up with two catches for 43 yards, including a 38-yarder midway in the fourth quarter.

Was really disappointed in the TCU fans. The announced crowd was 38,081, but there couldn’t have been more than 20,000 there. Probably less than that. For a top-five team I was floored by the lack of interest. There were about six other college football games in the area here today, and the Texas Rangers were playing baseball, too.

I imagine there will be a better crowd next week when BYU comes here.

Carta-Samuels out for UW

I’m sure most of you have heard by now that Wyoming starting quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels didn’t make the trip to TCU because of an “undisclosed injury,” according to a UW news release about mid-day Friday.

I learned about it through a source about 20 minutes before I boarded a flight to Fort Worth, and after the news broke UW issues a news release.

Think this was why coach Dave Christensen closed practice to the media this week? Christensen also said, through the release, practice will be closed the rest of the season.

Carta-Samuels’ right throwing was stepped on early last week at Toledo and that appears to be the injury. A source at UW confirmed that to me earlier today.

Christensen nor UW offered any other comment Friday. Christensen has a policy of not talking about specific injuries to players, and also that he is the only one in the program that will address injuries. Hopefully he will elaborate more after Saturday’s game.

So, senior Dax Crum gets his first start since the fifth game of the 2008 season. Coaches have liked Crum’s improvement on the field, and even with his attitude over the last year and a half. We will see how good that is, and for UW’s sake, it better be really good.

Hope you will join me for the live blog of Saturday’s game. We will start at 1 p.m. Should be an interesting one. Log on to the blog for the direct link.

UW-TCU five things to watch

1. Dangerous Dalton: I hit on this more in my game advance, but when TCU’s offense is rolling senior quarterback Andy Dalton plays well. UW needs to somehow slow him down and keep him from getting into a rhythm.

2. Take more chances defensively: I mentioned this last week against Toledo as well. I don’t think UW can get Dalton out of sync with just its base defense. It needs to take a few more chances with blitzes and stunts. The Cowboys don’t need to be wreckless, but mixing up blitzes and sets might help.

3. Possess the ball: Wyoming’s offensive game plan in the first half against Air Force and Toledo the last two weeks worked well. Possess the ball, and last week at Toledo, it finished drives for the most part with points. The Cowboys’ best defense against TCU might be their offense if they can keep the ball and finish drives. It starts with the run and be more effective with the pass.

4. Avoid Kerley: Whether it’s on kickoffs on punts, UW has to make sure TCU senior return specialist Jeremy Kerley doesn’t burn it with a big play. Kerley can’t if he can’t get his hands on the ball. UW’s rugby-style punting should help, and it would be wise to kick away from Kerley or squib kick on kickoffs. TCU often gets rolling after big play on special teams by Kerley.

5. Someone else other than ACS: Before I learned that sophomre quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels didn’t make the trip because of an apparant right hand injury, I said someone other than Carta-Samuels needed to make plays. Well, UW now has no choice since he won’t be here. That puts more pressure on the veteran guys so senior Dax Crum, who makes his first start since 2008, doesn’t have to shoulder the load by himself.

Even though Boise State is ranked ahead of TCU right now (Boise is No. 5 and TCU is No. 5) and beat TCU last year in the Fiesta Bowl, I still think TCU is a better team (maybe not by much). This will be the best team UW faces this season. UW will play hard and have good effort, but without Carta-Samuels the Cowboys went from slim chance to virtually no chance to spring an upset.

Final score: TCU 48, UW 7

Hope you will join me Saturday for the live blog from this game. We will start around 1 p.m. Just log on to this blog for the link.

Gipsons heading home

Hard to believe brothers Marcell and Tashaun Gipson have started 30 consecutive games together at cornerback for Wyoming.

They will make it 31 Saturday at No. 5 TCU and it will be a homecoming of sorts for the Gipsons, who are from nearby Dallas.

Their last game at TCU two years ago was forgetable. UW lost 54-7 and receiver Jimmy Young had a school-record 226 yards and three touchdowns. Young had TD catches of 60, 55 and 39 yards, and also had a 65-yard catch.

“Me and my brother both vowed that will never happen again,” said Tashaun, a freshman back then. “Now we’re going back to the place where it happened.”

Young had only two catches for 25 yards in TCU’s 45-10 victory over UW in Laramie last season.

In the two games they’ve played against TCU together, the Gipsons have combined for 12 tackles and two pass break-ups.

The Gipsons said they don’t know a lot of players on the TCU roster. Marcell, now a senior, said he knew some former players. Tashaun knows TCU junior and starting cornerback Greg McCoy. Tashaun said they played high school football against each other, but McCoy was a receiver back then. Tashaun added that McCoy’s team beat his squad in a playoff game, but added that he “stuck him good” a time or two in that game.

Both said anytime they go back to their home state to play is special, but playing together at UW has been the best part of the deal even though they are a long way from home.

“I couldn’t have asked for anything else,” Marcell said. “A lot of guys don’t get an opportunity to play with a family member in college. Considering we’re a few years apart in age and with the schools that were recruiting (Tashaun) out of high school, I never thought he would come here.

“God just put us together and it was for a reason. We both needed each other, whether it was about stuff back home, with school or with the coaching change a couple of years ago. We helped each other get through those things. Things you could only talk to your brother about.”

For more on the Gipsons, see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle www.wyomingnews.com and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.com.

See Friday’s papers and websites for more on TCU, and how UW’s recruiting efforts in the state of Texas have progressed with this coaching staff.

Hope you will join me for the live chat at 3 p.m. today. Here is the direct link http://wyomingcowboysblog.com/2010/10/06/u-of-w-live-chat-thursday-300/

Talking style points

As No. 4 Boise State and No. 5 TCU battle it out for a possible shot at a national championship game appearance and BCS bowl, the talk of “style points” keeps coming up.

For these two teams from non-automatic qualifying BCS conferences, winning convincingly seems to be more important than simply winning. Both have fallen in the polls in the last couple of weeks because in the eyes of the voters, they weren’t impressive enough.

Here are a couple of stories in today’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram on that.

http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/10/05/2523211/back-to-back-shutouts-would-show.html

http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/10/05/2523254/for-tcu-coach-gary-patterson-winning.html

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Here is an interesting note: TCU is 27-1 in day games over the last six seasons. That loss was a 24-21 setback at UW in 2007.

In the early betting lines I’ve seen, UW is one of the biggest underdogs this week at 35 points. There are only two other teams that are favored to lose bigger than that. Boise State is favored by 39 1/2 at home against Toledo (Boise covers easy) and Nevada is a 39-point favorite at home to San Jose State (Nevada can name its score in this one).

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There won’t be any news or notes from Wednesday’s practice since coach Dave Christensen closed practices to the media this week. But see Thursday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle www.wyomingnews.com and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.comfor an analysis on the change in UW’s offense.

Hope you will join me at 3 p.m. Thursday for my weekly live chat on UW football and anything UW sports. Here is the link http://wyomingcowboysblog.com/2010/10/06/u-of-w-live-chat-thursday-300/

UW offense faces daunting TCU defense

It’s hard to find many weaknesses on the TCU football team. That’s probably why the Horned Frogs are No. 5 in the nation.

Wyoming plays at TCU Saturday and Cowboys coach Dave Christensen was asked numerous questions Monday about the Horned Frogs. And one of its many strengths lies on defense.

TCU enters the game tied for fifth nationally in scoring defense (12.4 points per game) and third in total defense (238 yards per game). And most of that success starts up front in the Horned Frogs’ 4-2-5 scheme.

“They’re whole defensive line is good,” Christensen said. “They’re huge inside and very athletic on the edges. We’ve got to do some things schematically to give us a chance to set and throw the football.

“They’re going to pressure you and they can do it with four guys. They’re also going to blitz now and then. It will be a challenge for our guys up front to give our quarterback a little more time in the pocket that he’s had against some of these top-ranked teams that we’ve faced.”

Against then No. 5 Texas on Sept. 11, UW sophomore quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels was sacked three times and Texas had 10 tackles for loss. Against then No. 3 Boise State, Carta-Samuels was sacked four times and Boise State had 12 tackles for loss.

TCU is coming off a 27-0 win at Colorado State last week and held the Rams to 161 yards of offense. TCU leads the Mountain West Conference with 15 quarterback sacks. Senior defensive end Wayne Daniels leads the conference in both sacks (4.5) and tackles for loss (7.5).

TCU has recorded 38 tackles for loss, and UW has given up 46.

TCU beat UW 45-10 last season in Laramie. The Cowboys scored only three points from its offense, and was held to 178 yards of total offense and five first downs.

See Wednesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle www.wyomingnews.com and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.com for a story on how UW senior receiver David Leonard made up for a mistake in the Air Force loss to help UW pick up a win at Toledo, and for more news and notes from around the MWC.

Don’t forget to join me at 3 p.m. Thursday for our weekly live chat on anything and everything UW sports. Just log on to this blog for more information.

Doing what they can

Wyoming coach Dave Christensen expects accountability from his players, his coaching staff and from himself.

He said as much Monday in his weekly news conference about UW’s offense and the recent change in formations and personnel over last couple of weeks.

“What we were doing earlier, and it was my fault, is we were asking our kids to do things they couldn’t physically do,” he said. ”Where we’re at now, creativity is huge. Finding a way to put players in position to be successful is huge. We’re getting better and figuring it out.”

It’s also tough to figure that out when your team plays five teams ranked in the top 25 over its first six games. The fifth team in that bunch is Saturday when the Cowboys play at No. 5 TCU. You can say six of seven top 25 teams because Utah is No. 10 this week and plays at UW next Saturday. The Utes play at unranked Iowa State this week.

“I’m not frustrated, you just keep going back to work and practice,” Christensen added. “You get frustrated if you’re not geting good effort and it doenst matter to your players. I don’t think we doing that. I’m not furstred. I’m determined and I think my staff is as well.” 

I asked Christensen if there was a specific part of the offense that is the center of the problems and he didn’t single any one unit out.

“I could find issues with every single position on offense,” he said. “The problem is that it’s not all happening at once, it’s one guy at a time. But if it happens to be a key player on that particular play, the play is not going to work.”

I will delve into this more later in the week with offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo and quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels.

Monday is the only day Christensen addresses injuries, and he said senior receiver Zach Bolger and junior linebacker Brian Hendricks both will play this week.

Talking to players and coaches, it was hard for them to see any weaknesses in TCU. That’s probably the case with most top five teams.

See Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle www.wyomingnews.com and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.comfor more from Monday’s news conference, and on UW’s first Mountain West Player of the Week for the season.