Brandon targeted by Illinois

Wyoming offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon could soon hold the same job at Illinois, and if so it would make sense. See this story for the details.

Brandon had not heard from Illinois prior to the New Mexico Bowl. If he took the Illinois job, Brandon’s salary could double or even triple. A source told me the offensive coordinator at Illinois for former coach Ron Zook made $525,000 per year.

After last Saturday’s 37-15 loss to Temple in the New Mexico Bowl, UW defensive secondary coach Alex Grinch confirmed he was leaving to coach safeties at Missouri.



UW-Temple postgame thoughts

Tough way to end a good season for Wyoming with a 37-15 loss to Temple Saturday in the New Mexico Bowl.

Just wasn’t in the cards for the Cowboys and the Owls were better in every area. Temple scored touchdowns on its first three drives. Just when UW looked to get some momentum with a touchdown late in the second quarter on a pass from Brett Smith to Josh Doctson, Temple answered with a 61-yard TD pass after cornerback Marqueston Huff slipped and fell on the play.

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Christensen agrees to new contract with UW

University of Wyoming athletics director Tom Burman said Saturday morning that football coach Dave Christensen has agreed in principal to a new five-year contract that will include a raise in salary.

“It’s not formalized in writing, and that will happen on Monday or Tuesday when we get back to campus,” said Burman prior to UW’s New Mexico Bowl game with Temple. “He’s thrilled and his family is thrilled, and we’re thrilled to keep him.”

“I really don’t want to talk about dollar figures until we get it done, but there is a significant raise. We want to keep him here, and we knew we had to up the ante.”

Christensen made about $843,000 this season, and Burman said with his new contract he will “make significantly more than that. For Wyoming, it’s a big step.”

Reports surfaced Friday night that the University of Houston was very interested in Christensen, who is 18-19 in nearly three full seasons at UW and led the Cowboys to their second bowl appearance in the last three  years.

Reports also linked Christensen’s name to jobs at Washington State, Illinois, Kansas and Memphis in recent weeks, although Washington State, Illinois and Kansas already has hired new coaches.

“We had to do move something quick. We had to do something in about a 12-hour window,” Burman said.

Burman said two weeks ago UW was in talks with Christensen about a new contract and raise, but didn’t think it would happen here at the bowl game.

“The president, the (UW Foundation) board, the trustees were all great,” Burman said. “In a place like Wyoming where we have a smaller market, a smaller student body it takes everybody to make something like this happen.”

Burman also said UW will add $100,000 into the assistant coaches pool for Christensen’s nine assistants. Burman added he’s unsure at this time when that will take effect.

Smith breaks down Temple’s defense

Here’s what Wyoming freshman quarterback Brett Smith had to say about Temple’s defense in the days leading up to Saturday’s New Mexico Bowl.

“They run really well side-to-side. Unless you’re hitting it up the field you’re going to be in trouble because they have great team speed. They have numerous coverages and blitzes and they disguise them well. It’s kind of tough to see what they’re doing and when they’re doing it. But like any other week, we have to game plan as best we can and hopefully come out with a victory.”

For more New Mexico Bowl coverage, see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang.

UW-Temple key to the game

My number one key for Wyoming in Saturday’s New Mexico Bowl is an obvious one:

Slow down the run: Wyoming won’t stop Temple’s running game, that averages 256.7 yards per game and has a potential NFL player in junior running back Bernard Pierce. But the Cowboys need to get stops in key spots, like on third-and-long situations, and also force some turnovers.

Any thoughts?

I have four more, and they will be in Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune-Eagle and Laramie Boomerang — along with more New Mexico Bowl coverage.

A tour of University Stadium

Paul Swaney, co-founder and president of gives his preview of University Stadium in Albuquerque, site of Saturday’s New Mexico Bowl between Wyoming and Temple.

A lot of Wyoming fans have been there, but it gives an interesting take of the facility. I’ve always liked that stadium: quaint, easy to get to, natural grass field. Would be curious of your thoughts.

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Addazio has high praise for Smith

First-year Temple coach Steve Addazio spoke to the media Monday on the Mid-American Conference bowl teleconference and he was asked about Wyoming true freshman quarterback Brett Smith, who was recently named the Mountain West Freshman of the Year and was a First Team All-Freshman selection by

Addazio spent the previous six years as an assistant at Florida where he was a part of two BCS national championships teams with quarterback Tim Tebow, now the starter with the Denver Broncos.

“(Smith) is a really great competitor, and I think there are a lot of ‘it’ factors to him,” Addazio said. “He does not play like a freshman, and he reminds me of a guy I had in Gainseville (Tebow) that had that kind of feel about him.”

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UW football award winners

The Wyoming football team held annual football senior banquet the day after the win over CSU last Sunday. Here are the individual winners: 

Gabe Knapton earned the Iron Man Award for the second consecutive year as the Pokes’ top performer in the weight room.

The Brian Lee Scholar-Athlete Award went to junior strong safety Luke Ruff.

Tashaun Gipson was the Defensive Back of the Year.

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