More from UW’s new football coaches

Had a chance to speak with new offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Gregg Brandon and defensive line coach Danilo Robinson today.

As you would expect, both were excited for the opportunity, and for Brandon this opportunity came up fast. On Wednesday when UW announced its 2011 signing class, there was no indication a change was coming. Offensive coordinator and QB coach Marcus Arroyo introduced the players he recruited, and also talked to me about working with more young quarterbacks (a previous blog post http://wyomingcowboysblog.com/2011/02/02/arroyo-knows-young-qbs/).

In case you missed it, Arroyo is now at California, who was looking for an offensive coordinator after Andy Ludwig took a similar job at San Diego State.

You would think if this was in the works for a while Arroyo wouldn’t be talking about these recruits, or there at all on Wednesday. Then again, if he wasn’t there would be some suspecion.

Nonetheless, Brandon described the whole process to me as “bang-bang.”

Brandon was the receivers coach at UW for Paul Roach from 1987-90, and the Cowboys won WAC titles in 1987-88 and played in three bowl games during that time. He knows what it’s like in Laramie and all that. His connection with coach Dave Christensen was the biggest factor, having helped Christensen implement a spread offense at Missouri early in the 2000s, and their relationship goes back the better part of a decade.

Brandon was the head coach at Bowling Green from 2003-08, and his 2008 Bowling Green team embarrased UW 45-16 in Laramie — coach Joe Glenn’s last season. He said what’s impressed him the most about Laramie since he was a coach here is the facilities. He said the indoor practice facility is a heckuva upgrade from practicing in War Memorial Fieldhouse. He also was impressed with the Rochelle Athletics Center and the new Wildcatter suites.

“Wyoming wants to win and it shows with the upgrades in facilities,” he said.

Brandon said the task of finding a starting quarterback among redshirt freshman Emory Miller Jr., and true freshmen Adam Pittser and Brett Smith is “scary” based on their inexperience, but also exciting. Brandon added he will have the biggest learning curve because he needs to learn the terminology. He said the offense Christensen brought here is basically the same to the one he taught him at Missouri. There are some tweaks and changes that Brandon said he likes. But for the players, they will continue to learn what they’ve been learning.

As far as recruiting goes, Brandon said he recruited the Chicago area when he was at UW and said he still has ties there. He expects to recruit in the Houston area, where Arroyo recruited. He also said he has recruiting ties in Colorado.

Like I said in my previous post this morning, the timing of this seems odd since this all went down less than 48 hours after Wednesday’s signing day, but that’s how college football works sometimes. I like the fact Brandon, 55, brings more experience to the table. Not a knock on Arroyo, but it’s nice when your coordinators are the senior members of your offensive and defensive coaching staffs. Arroyo was only 31.

Robinson, 36, came to Laramie as an assistant at Louisiana-Monroe and twice as one at Utah State and lost to the Cowboys when Glenn was the coach.

He told me schemes don’t matter to him in terms of a 4-3 or 3-4 defense, but has worked mostly with the 4-3 which is what UW runs.

Robinson said he’s recruited all over the country in his career and feels comfortable where ever Christensen puts him. He came off as a young, enthusiastic and confident coach, much like Montgomery. This hire didn’t come as fast as Brandon’s. Montgomery’s been gone for nearly a month now. This was in the works for a while.

One last thought from this latest coaching shake-up. I know fans don’t like to see coaches leave UW for bigger and better things — even assistants. But this is a good sign for UW. If coaches are leaving for jobs in conferences like the Pac-12 (Arroyo to Cal) and Big Ten (Montgomery to Indiana and then Michigan) then that means UW is bringing in good coaches and Christensen knows where to find good coaches.

If assistants were leaving for lsimilar jobs at lower division schools then that would be a problem.

For more on UW’s two new assistants in Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle www.wyomingnews.com and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.com.

Also see my mid-season analysis piece on UW men’s basketball.

Coaching shuffle for UW football

On Wednesday Wyoming announced the addition of 24 new football players.

Friday it announced two new assistant football coaches.

Gregg Brandon is the new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, and Danilo Robinson is the new defensive line coach.

Reports broke late last night that former offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo was going to Cal. Arroyo didn’t hint a change was coming when I talked to him Wednesday during signing day activities.

Robinson replaces Jerry Montgomery, who after a quick cup of coffee at Indiana is now the defensive line coach at Michigan.

In the release sent by UW this morning, coach Dave Christensen, who is in Arizona right now, said when he was at Missouri and decided to go with a spread offense he contacted Brandon to teach the staff. Both have a long relationship, and it doesn’t hurt Brandon coached at UW from 1987-90 for coach Paul Roach. Brandon also has coached for Urban Meyer at Bowling Green, and was the head coach at Bowling Green from 2003-08. In 2009 he was the offensive coordinator at Virgina and was on the staff of the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League last season.

In 2008, Brandon’s Bowling Green team won at UW 45-16 and his offense rolled up 388 yards (101 rushing, 287 passing and no turnovers).

Brandon will be 55 at the end of this month. He has coached nine teams to bowl games. His experience in the game, along with the good working relationship he’s had with Christensen, are huge pluses in my opinion. Not to say Arroyo, 31, was in over his head despite being one of the youngest coordinators in college football. But with a new QB yet to be determined for UW — and a freshman at that — it’s nice to have some more experience there.

Robinson has been a college coach for 11 years, including stops at Navy, Louisiana-Monroe, Utah State (his alma mater) and last year at Southwest Minnesota State.

Ironically, UW will play at Bowling Green and Utah State — two places where these two new coaches spent a lot of time at.

It’s always tough to lose coaches, but both will have about a month to get used to what UW is doing before spring drills begin. And, it says something when you lose coaches to the Pac-12 and Big Ten. At least is they are moving on, they are doing something right. Better than being fired or leaving for smaller schools.

Thoughts and opinions on these two guys?

Arroyo knows young QBs

Now that signing day has come and gone at Wyoming, what’s next?

First, here’s the link to the official UW release on the signees: http://www.wyomingathletics.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/020211aac.html

How about trying to figure out who will start at quarterback. Right now redshirt freshman Emory Miller Jr. and true freshman Brett Smith will get the first look when spring drills begin March 5.

True freshman Adam Pittser, UW’s highest touted recruit, comes in later this summer. In fact, some recruiting services rate Pittser as the highest-rated recruit UW ever signed. He is the fifth-best QB in the nation according to Rivals.com in terms of arm strength, and 19th-best dual threat QB in the nation.

Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks cocach Marcus Arroyo knows what it’s like to work with young quarterbacks. He helped Austyn Carta-Samuels emerge as the starter in the fourth game in 2009 when Carta-Samuels was a true freshman.

Arroyo himself played as a true freshman when he was at San Jose State.

Arroyo said his ability to know what it’s like to play as a young quarterback and coach them were factors in why coach Dave Christensen hired him three years ago.

“I’ve coached one senior in eight years now,” Arroyo said. “I’ve never had a guy longer than two years. Building a guy and helping mold him into what we need in a quality athlete and a competitor (is what I need to do).”

So what approach will Arroyo take with his three young QBs moving forward? Will it change based on the fact Carta-Samuels left the team for personal reasons after the 2010 season after being a two-year starter?

“The same approach we took last year,” he said. “These guys and are coming in fresh. We know a lot about their character and who they are because we recruited them. We haven’t seen them on the field yet, but we’re excited about that.”

UW is only a month into off-season workouts, and coaches have been busy recruiting up until nonw. They won’t have a lot of contact with their players until spring drills. Still, Arroyo likes what he sees in Miller Jr. and Smith.

“Both are good workers. Both have some skills that we believe fit the system,” Arroyo said. “We’ve seen Brett for four weeks now. He’s been working out and running. He is what we thought it he would be. He’s athletic, a good-looking kid, solid and wants to be great.

“Emery is athletic and does some real good things in the spread system. He’s very comfortable back there in it. We will see what they do in the spring.”

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Christensen started off UW’s signing day presentation by giving out some rankings about this year’s class from Rivals.com.

He said the Cowboys had the top linebacker class in the MWC, and that Pittser and LB/DE Eddie Yarbrough from Colorado are two of the highest-rated recruited to ever sign at UW since the inception of Rivals.com.

Christensen said the kicking class was the 10th-best in the nation, and that long snapper Zach Ewen was the only UW signee to ever have played in the Under Armour All-American game.

The linebacking class was 26th nationally and the receiver class was 38th — all according to Rivals.com.

And, the eight three-star recruits signed was the most in school history. UW inked six last year.

But all that matters to Christensen is this: “Is the guy good enough to win and win at a high level, and are they a good fit?”

In his mind, this class is all that.

For more from signing day, see Thursday’s Wyoming Tribune-Eagle www.wyomingnews.com and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.com