Wyoming-TCU Q&A swap

TCU beat writer Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and myself exchanged five questions on Saturday’s UW-TCU game. I will start with the questions I had for Stefan and his answers, then post the questions Stefan had for me and my answers.

Should make for some good talking points leading up to the game, and for today’s live chat at 3 p.m.

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Video: Gregg Brandon

I know I post video interviews with Brandon a lot, but he had some great stuff to say this week about the San Diego State game last week, comparing the first half to the second half. Brandon also talks about going against TCU’s 4-2-5 speedy and athletic defense this week, and the continued progress of true freshman quarterback Brett Smith.

Would love to hear your feedback and comments on what Brandon has to say.

Notes and quotes from MW Media Day

Been a crazy day talking to players and coaches here at MW Media Day in Las Vegas, but nice to talk some football.

Here are some notable notes and quotes I wanted to throw out there from today’s interviews:

— “This defense has the potential to be one of the best defenses I’ve been a part of here.” — Wyoming senior defensive end Josh Biezuns, the only UW player named to the preseason all-conference team by the media.

–San Diego State coach Rocky Long described his senior quarterback, Ryan Lindley, as a “NFL guy.”

–UNLV coach Bobby Hauck said there’s a chance four of his five starters along the offensive line will be freshmen. YIKES!

— A story posted by the Idaho Statesman late Tuesday afternoon stated it can’t wear all blue uniforms in any of its MW home games. Boise plays on blue field turf. … interesting. Here’s the link: http://voices.idahostatesman.com/2011/07/26/ccripe/heres_boise_states_updated_preseason_depth_chart

–New Mexico coach Mike Locksley said the goal for him heading into his third year is to win six games and become bowl eligible. New Mexico is 2-22 the the past two seasons.

–TCU coach Gary Patterson said his second-team linebackers could “play for a lot of people.” He’s right.

–TCU’s seniors have won 36 games going into this season. The previous senior class set a school record with 44 wins.

–Most of the media here think the Nov. 12 TCU at Boise State game will determine the MW championship, and perhaps a BCS bowl berth. However, Boise State opens against Georgia in Atlanta, and TCU plays at Air Force Sept. 10 — two early and possible losses.

–Back to San Diego State’s Long, he said there will be some differences between him and former coach Brady Hoke. One of the biggest? “Brady was a hugger, I’m not.”

–But the quote of the day came from Patterson when he was talking about TCU jumping its fifth conference going back to the old Southwest Conference around 20 years ago: “It’s kind of like getting remarried, you have to find a new set of friends.”

See Wednesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle www.wyomingnews.com and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.com for more coverage from MW Media Day, including stories on UW’s defense hoping to force more turnovers this season and why the Cowboys will scrimmage a lot early in fall camp. And, follow me Wednesday morning on Twitter from MW Commissioner Craig Thompson’s state of the MW address. My Twitter feed is @rpgagliardi.

UW football captains named on a weekly basis

Wyoming coach Dave Christensen said during Tuesday’s Mountain West Conference spring football teleconference that team captains this season will be named on a weekly basis. In Christensen’s first two seasons, captains were named before fall camp.

Christensen said he liked the leadership he saw during spring drills, and thinks there are more leaders on this team than on his previous two.

Christensen said there are no plans as of now to move players to different positions heading into fall camp, and when asked if the starting quarterback job was any where close to being resloved, he said: “not even close.”

Here are some other quotes from other MWC coaches from the teleconference:

“We’ve got a quarterback, but we have a lot of holes, too.” — San Diego State coach Rocky Long, speaking mostly about holes at the wide receiver spot.

“I think they ought to get rid of that blue turf, I think it’s unfair.” — Long on Boise State’s blue artificial turf.

“The only thing I can say is we’re on it every day and see it all the time. We don’t think it’s any different than when we go to a green field. Maybe that’s because we see it every day. When we go into our indoor facilty and the field is green we don’t think it’s any different.” — Boise State coach Chris Petersen.

“I feel this team is built to go to a bowl game.” — New Mexico coach Mike Locksley, who is 2-22 in his first two seasons but returns six starters on offense and nine on defense.

“He has as strong or a stronger arm, and he runs faster.” — TCU coach Gary Patterson on sophomore quarterback Casey Pachall, the likely candidate to start for departed senior Andy Dalton.

“You look back at teams that made a move to a new conference and that first year no matter who good a team is supposed to be doesn’t do that great. The only time we didn’t win the WAC was our first year there.” — Petersen.

Note: In TCU’s first year in the MWC in 2005 it won the regular-season title with an 8-0 conference record and 11-1 overall record. It finished ninth and 11th in both polls.

All-MWC football team released

Here is the link to the First and Second Team All-Mountain West Conference football team:

http://www.themwc.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/113010aac.html

I was fortunate enough to vote on this, and was pretty close to how the two teams turned out.

I put Wyoming junior defensive end Josh Biezuns and junior defensive back Tashaun Gipson on my first team. Biezuns made the second team and Gipson earned honorable mention honors. I put senior safety Chris Prosinski on the second team and that’s where he ended up for the second straight year. I also had junior punter Austin McCoy on the second team, but he was honorable mention.

Air Force had the second-best rushing offense in the nation, yet none of its offensive linemen made the first team. I had junior A.J. Wallerstein on the first team, yet he made the second team.

I voted TCU’s Gary Patterson the coach of the year. San Diego State’s Brady Hoke won the award and it’s hard to argue that after the Aztecs went 8-4 overall, 5-3 in the MWC and will play in their first bowl since 1998. Still, to go undefeated like TCU did for the second straight season is also quite an accomplishment.

There was some discussion among the writers about the Defensive Player of the Year. It went to TCU junior linebacker Tank Carder, who was fourth on his own team in tackles. San Diego State junior linebacker Miles Burris led the league in sacks (9.5) and tackles for loss (19). I thought about going with him, but how do you not pick a player on the nation’s top-ranked defense? You could go with any number of guys, but I also went with Carder.

Thoughts?