Bohl addresses some defensive issues

Two issues about Wyoming’s defense was brought up to first-year Wyoming coach Craig Bohl this week.

–The Cowboys have no sacks from their defensive ends, and only one sack from a defensive linemen through three games.

–UW has allowed opponents to convert 51 percent of their third-down chances, including 9 of 11 in last week’s 48-14 loss at No. 2 Oregon.

Craig Bohl

Craig Bohl

Bohl didn’t seem too concerned about the play of the defensive ends. Any sacks or tackles for loss against Oregon and junior Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Marcus Mariota would have been tough.

There were times UW pressured him, but Mariota outran the rush and most of UW’s defense for 71  yards and two touchdowns.

In the Cowboys’ 17-13 win over Air Force on Sept. 6, they had two sacks — one by senior defensive tackle Patrick Mertens. The Falcons threw a lot early, but UW faced more of a run-oriented option offense.

UW had one sack in its 17-12 season-opening win over Montana, but it pressured and hit quarterback Jordan Johnson a lot and kept him out of sync for most of the game. Doing that is just as important as getting sacks, and could be a key in Saturday’s home game with Florida Atlantic.

The Owls have a dual-threat quarterback, much like Johnson and Mariota, in Jacquez Johnson. It would be nice if UW sacked him a lot, but more importantly, not let him get into a rhythm where he can hurt the Cowboys with his legs and his arm — especially the deep pass. Continue reading

UW-No. 2 Oregon postgame thoughts

I don’t think anyone was surprised Wyoming lost 48-14 at No. 2 Oregon Saturday at Autzen Stadium in Eugene.

But there were some surprises that came from the game.

Even though Oregon’s offense is loaded with speed and athleticism, I thought the Cowboys would stop the Ducks at times. But they didn’t.

Oregon rolled up 556 total yards and scored touchdowns on seven of 10 drives. On the ones it didn’t score on, it went 78 yards on the first drive of the game and UW made one of its few stops of the day on a fourth-and-2 play from the Cowboys’ 3. The other two were when the backups were in late. ne drive was at the end of the game as Oregon ran out the clock after UW was held inside the Ducks’ 10-yard line.

The Ducks punted only once — with their backups in the third quarter.

Here is senior outside linebacker Mark Nzeocha, who had a game-high 11 tackles, on the Oregon offense.

Oregon junior quarterback Marcus Mariota showed why he is a leading Heisman Trophy candidate. He was 19 of 23 for 221 yards and two touchdowns, and ran 5 times for 71 yards and two TDs. UW coach Craig Bohl said if the voting was today, he would vote Mariota for Heisman, and urged those in the media who have votes to seriously consider Mariota for the award.

Here’s what Bohl said after the game to the media:

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Wyoming-Oregon Q&A swap

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer swap with Ryan Thorburn, who covers Oregon football for Eugene Register-Guard in Eugene, Oregon, about Saturday’s game with the University of Wyoming in Laramie.

Ryan Thorburn

Ryan Thorburn

Thorburn is a UW graduate and author of three books on UW sports which documents some of the most historical and important moments Cowboys football, baseball and basketball. For links to purchase those books, go to

Follow on Twitter: @rgduckfootball

Look for Q&As with beat writers that cover UW football opponents every week throughout the season.

At No. 2 in the country this week it is obvious that Oregon is among the nation’s elite. But what is it about the Ducks where they can seemingly flip a switch and blow open a game, like last week against No. 13 Michigan State where they scored 28 unanswered points in the second half after falling behind?

Leading up to the game, the Ducks heard about how they can’t get it done against physical teams — the so-called Stanford problem. The old narrative looked to be playing out in the third quarter when they were stuck on 18 points and trailing by nine. Marcus Mariota, who was playing on a partially torn MCL at Stanford last season, was able to make some game-changing plays on the run this time. Oregon’s defense seemed to find another gear as well, which makes this year’s Ducks even more dangerous.

How good is quarterback Marcus Mariota, and despite his obvious outstanding skill set what else makes this guy one of the nation’s best? And, is he the early favorite right now to win the Heisman Trophy in your mind?

Honestly, the kid is too good to be true. In the Register-Guard’s football special section published during fall camp, the theme was: The Mount Rushmore of Oregon quarterbacks — Norm Van Brocklin, Dan Fouts, Bill Musgrave, Joey Harrington, etc. — and what Mariota’s legacy will be. The consensus is that he is already the greatest quarterback in program history, or will be by the end of the season if he stays healthy. Yes, I think he is the favorite to win the Heisman right now because of what he did against Michigan State’s defense.

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Cowboys have plenty to plan and prepare for with Ducks

Even the the least-knowledgeable football fans can watch No. 2 Oregon — on tape, on TV or live — and see it a talented group.

First-year Wyoming coach Craig Bohl echoed those sentiments prior to Tuesday’s practice.

Where do you start if your the Cowboys defense?

Craig Bohl

Craig Bohl

“They have a quarterback that when he runs around makes five guys miss,” said Bohl about Oregon junior and Heisman Trophy candidate Marcus Mariota. “You look at his physical dimensions and he’s 6-4. One of their receivers is the fastest high-hurdler in the country (Devon Allen). … I can go on and on.”

Added Bohl about Mariota: “Beyond his athleticism, which is exceptional, I think he makes really good decisions. He’s been operating in that system for a long time, and he understands it well.”

Senior Sam Stratton and senior-to-be Cameron Coffman, who is sitting out this season after transferring from Indiana, are Mariota on the Cowboys’ scout team this week.

Bohl said UW will work on the crowd noise it will face Saturday at Autzen Stadium, one of the loudest stadiums in the nation. During the early portions of Tuesday’s practice, the offensive line did some work with silent counts.

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Wyoming begins work for No. 2 Oregon

Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl, assistant coaches and players met with the media, and while Bohl recapped the Cowboys’ 17-13 come-from-behind win over Air Force last Saturday, the emphasis now is No. 2 Oregon in Eugene this Saturday.

“No,” said Bohl on if he saw any weaknesses from Oregon on tape. “That’s why they’re No. 2 in the country.”

Here is most of Bohl’s Monday news conference with the media:

Much of the talk about Oregon is its high-powered and fast-paced offense, led by junior quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Marcus Mariota.

But the Ducks can play some defense, too.

Both Bohl and offensive coordinator Brent Vigen said Monday they are impressed with Oregon’s entire defense, but especially the size, speed and athleticism up front. The best example of that is 6-foot-7, 290-pounds junior defensive end Forest DeBuckner.

This will be the second straight game for Wyoming facing a 3-4 defensive scheme. Air Force gave UW fits in the run game last week, holding the Cowboys to 51 yards.

Brent Vigen

Brent Vigen

“We have to know our assignments and put our kids in position to play as fast as possible,” Vigen said. “(Oregon) keeps things pretty simple and their guys play really fast. They have made an effort to beef up along the front, and those kids are not just big lugs out there, they’re very athletic. Their linebackers play extremely fast. Beyond their athleticism they are very well coached and they know where they need to be.”

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