Strength vs. strength for UW and Utah State

Wyoming’s offense versus Utah State’s defense.

Those are the strengths of the two teams when both play at noon Saturday at Romney Stadium in Logan, Utah.

Utah State (7-4, 6-1) leads the MW in seven defensive categories, and is seventh nationally in scoring defense (17.6 points per game), 10th in third-down conversion defense (31.5 percent) and tied for 12th in total defense (333.4 yards per game).

UW (5-6, 3-4) is 13th in total offense at just under 500 yards of total offense per game.

This is what UW coach Dave Christensen said about the Aggies’ defense Monday during his weekly interview session with the media.

“Most people haven’t had a lot of success that has played them,” he said. “Every single player plays extremely hard the entire play for every single play. They’re very talented players that have great motors. They have a lot of experience. They can get great pressure on the quarterback. They are tight as can be in man coverage. They pressure, they blitz and they get there. They definitely are the best defense we’ve played this year.”

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VIDEO: Jamar Cain

Wyoming interim defensive coordinator Jamar Cain talks about the Cowboys’ defense and his first game as interim coordinator for last Saturday’s 48-10 loss to No. 16 Fresno State, and looks ahead to UW’s game at Boise State this week. The interview was done on Monday, Nov. 11, 2013 in Laramie, Wyo.

For more on UW football, see Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to

VIDEO: Jamar Cain

Wyoming interim defensive coordinator Jamar Cain talks about his first week in his new role, and about facing one of the nation’s best offenses in No. 17 Fresno State on Saturday. The interview was done on Monday, Nov. 4, 2013 in Laramie, Wyo.

For more UW football and what the sports consulting firm hired to look at UW football and men’s basketball found, see Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to

Young ready to help UW defense any way he can

Bill Young, Wyoming’s new quality control staff member in football, got to Laramie Sunday and was quickly put to work.

“I was up at 3:45 a.m. (Monday morning) because Jamar is a worker,” Young said with a laugh about interim UW defensive coordinator Jamar Cain.

The uniform combination for Wyoming's home game with Fresno State Saturday, which UW is promoting as a "white out" game. Photo by Robert Gagliardi/WyoSports

The uniform combination for Wyoming’s home game with Fresno State Saturday, which UW is promoting as a “white out” game. Photo by Robert Gagliardi/WyoSports

Part of the reason Young was up that early is because UW practices during the morning hours this season. The long-time defensive coach and defensive coordinator at the college level attended UW’s Monday morning practice.

So what exactly does a quality control staff member do?

First, Young is not a full-time staff member. NCAA rules allow colleges to have nine full-time assistant coaches. Even though UW fired defensive coordinator Chris Tormey last week, it promoted graduate assistant Dwain Crawford to full-time status for the rest of the season to help cornerbacks coach Renaldo Hill with UW’s defensive backs.

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Thoughts on the firing of defensive coordinator Chris Tormey

The decision was made late Monday night, and the word came out early Tuesday morning that Wyoming defensive coordinator Chris Tormey was fired.

I am not surprised this was done, but I didn’t think it would happen now. Christensen hasn’t been a guy that has fired coaches during the season since he’s been at UW. But if there was a time to do it, perhaps it was now since the Cowboys don’t have a game this week.

Here is the statement Tormey sent me via email Tuesday afternoon about the decision:

“After a promising start to our season we clearly struggled on defense recently. While there have been a variety of factors that have played into it, as defensive coordinator I am ultimately responsible for what happens on the field on game day. I have accepted Coach Christensen’s decision and thanked him for the opportunity. I will miss the players that I have coached and recruited during my time here. They are a tremendous group of young men. My hope is that the Cowboys will finish strong this season and enjoy much success in the future.”

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D-line learning to play tired

First-year Wyoming defensive line coach Jamar Cain has been trying to teach his guys something from the first day he met them.

“We have to learn to play tired,” he said.

What does that mean? Here’s my video interview with Cain where he explains:

But basically, UW’s defensive linemen need to learn how to maintain their technique and fundamentals when they are tired because once those slip, then bad things happen.

And they get tired fast as there have been only six healthy and/or game-ready guys to play through the first five games.

The Cowboys may get a little help for this week’s homecoming game against New Mexico. Redshirt freshman defensive end Sam Awrabi (foot) is listed as a backup behind sophomore Eddie Yarbrough. Cain hopes to get Awrabi about 10 plays. Awrabi has not played in a game for UW, and has been hurt pretty much the entire time he’s been on campus.

“He will make us better by playing and doing his job,” Cain said. “He’s been doing pretty good in practice. I’ve been keeping him after practice and working with him, and he’s been coming in on his own to watch film with me and our graduate assistant.”

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VIDEO: Cowboys Coaches Clinic: Jamar Cain

This is the fourth of a season-long series of video interviews with University of Wyoming football coaches, and how they teach and coach certain aspects of the game. This one features defensive line coach Jamar Cain, and how he coaches some techniques for his guys to get off of blocks and control gaps. Cain is in his first season at UW.

Check back to this blog and every week for this feature.

VIDEO: UW defensive linemen at spring practice No. 1

Wyoming defensive linemen do some drill work during the first practice of spring drills on Tuesday morning, March 26, 2013 at the school’s indoor practice facility. First-year defensive line coach Jamar Cain is leading the group.

For more on UW’s first day of spring football, including how two of the Cowboys’ assistant coaches began their relationship with a fight, see Wednesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to

VIDEO: Patrick Mertens

Wyoming senior defensive tackle Patrick Mertens talks about the start of spring football, which starts on Tuesday, March 26. Mertens is one of the few experienced defensive linemen that return for the Cowboys this season.

For more on UW’s defense, see Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to