Notes and quotes

I went though my notebook and recorder to find some quotes from Wyoming’s 30-6 loss to No. 9 Utah this past Saturday in Laramie.

–“The coaches mixed it up and did a lot of different things this week. We threw them at Utah, and some worked and some didn’t. Either way I think we were excited about what they were calling and what they were doing. We do what we were asked to do. We went out there with that intent and the result was the result. I guarantee there was 100 percent out of all of our players.” — sophomore quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels on the play calling in the game.

–“We knew how good of a returner Shaky was. We worked extremely hard on in it (in practice), had players in position and didn’t make plays. We need to get that corrected.” — coach Dave Christensen on UW’s special teams play on Utah senior return specialist Shaky Smithson, who had 111 yards on four punt returns and one kickoff return for 11 yards.

–“It would have felt better if we won.” — senior cornerback Marcell Gipson on his first-career interception. That came in his 37th game with the Cowboys.

–“In practice Marcell and Tashaun help me out a lot. They’re brothers, but I feel like one of their brothers because they look out for me and let me know about my mistakes.” — true freshman cornerback Marqueston Huff, who had his first-career interception in the game after Marcell Gipson left the game with an injury.

–“In my mind it’s all overshadowed by throwing three interceptions. There were a lot of positives out of the game, but our turnover margin this year has been abysmal.” — Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. The Utes’ turnover margin is minus-6.

–“You deal with what you’re dealt. The coaches didn’t want me in there, or they wanted Dax in there. It was my opporutnity to learn from that and go watch. I did what I could do. I always like to be on the field. That was the coaches decision and I embraced the decision and did the best for my team by watching and learning what was going on out there.” — Carta-Samuels on being benched in the fourth quarter with UW down 30-0 for senior backup Dax Crum.

Carta-Samuels also was asked if he was frustrated about throwing a towel on his last series of the game after a sack. He said he was frustrated that he was sacked, but the towel he picked up belonged to a Utah player and once he realized that he threw it away.

See Monday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle www.wyomingnews.comon a story on Huff, who bounced back from a rough game at TCU with a solid game against Utah. Also see how I voted in this week’s Harris Poll.

UW-Utah post-game thoughts

Honestly, I thought the score would be more lopsided than 30-6.

Wyoming hung in there early, and in the ultimate “what if” what if the Cowboys had scored on those first two offensive possessions where they moved the ball pretty well? Especially that second one where they had the ball at the Utah 11-yard line.

I know a lot of fans out there don’t like the offensive play-calling, and I will admit there are some that make me scratch my head. But I like the fact the Cowboys are trying some things on offense and special teams to try and create some yards and points. Yes, it doesn’t always work and maybe early on UW got a little too fancy for its own good.

But that tells me the coaches aren’t content with being base and vanilla. They’re trying, which has to mean a lot to the players.

Even though senior backup quarterback Dax Crum led UW on its only scoring drive in the fourth quarter, there is no quarterback controversey or secret injury to sophomore Austyn Carta-Samuels. Coach Dave Christensen wanted to give Crum a shot with UW down 30-0 in the fourth quarter. Carta-Samuels didn’t seem too happy about it, but it was more of him being a competitor than anything else. He wasn’t bad in his first game after missing the TCU game, I thought.

Noticed a few times where UW had its defensive linemen all standing at the line of scrimmage trying to confuse Utah. The Utes burned a timeout on one of those occasions.

Sophomore defensive tackle Ben Durbin recorded the first sack against Utah’s No. 1 offensive line this season, and only the second overall. Nice job young man!

Nice to see the Gipson brothers each get an interception. Marcell went out with what looked to be an ankle injury, but he’s confident he will be OK. He was in a protective boot after the game.

Liked the play of true freshman cornerback Marqueston Huff, who replaced Gipson. He made an nice interception in the end zone. I think this kid is going to be good. More on him in the coming days.

I was disappointed in the kicking of sophomore Ian Watts. Two missed field goals, technically one, on that second UW possession. One was negated by a Utah penalty. Maybe he’s rusty. Those were only his fourth attempts in a game this season.

Christensen was asked to compare Utah, TCU, Boise State, Texas and Air Force — all teams that were are currently are ranked with UW played and lost to them. Christensen refused to, but I think Utah is better than Texas and Air Force. It might be just a slight notch below Boise State and TCU.

See Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang for more game coverage.

Similar and familiar QBs

Wyoming’s Austyn Carta-Samuels and Utah’s Jordan Wynn have a lot in common:

–Both are starting quarterbacks for their respective teams.

–Both are true sophomores.

–Both are from California. Carta-Samuels from San Jose, Wynn from Oceanside near San Diego.

–Both are similar in size. Carta-Samuels is listed at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds. Wynn at 6-1, 195.

–Both will go up against each other Saturday when UW (2-4 overall, 0-2 Mountain West Conference) hosts No. 11 Utah (5-0, 2-0) Saturday in Laramie.

“Jordan Wynn is not a close friend of mine, but we’re very fond of each other,” Carta-Samuels said earlier this week. “We were recruited to some of the same schools. “Jordan’s a hard worker and has done a great job. He’s been put in a position where he can be extremely successful.”

Wynn wasn’t made available for an interview this week. But after missing two games with a thumb injury, he’s missed on just 12 passes in his last two games.

“I think the way he runs their offense this year compared to last year is much more efficient,” said UW coach Dave Christensen of Wynn. “He looks like a veteran football player now.”

In three games, Wynn is 58 of 85 for 732 yards with seven touchdowns and two interceptions. In five games, Carta-Samuels is 71 of 109 for 803 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions.

Wynn’s first-ever college game was in the second half against UW last season in Salt Lake City. He led a 13-point fourth-quarter rally in Utah’s 22-10 win. Carta-Samuels scored UW’s only touchdown as he caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Robert Benjamin on a trick play.

This will be Carta-Samuels’ first game back after missing last week’s game at No. 4 TCU with an injury. He also said playing Utah means a lot to him because the Utes heavily recruited him and he likes coach Kyle Whittingham.

Carta-Samuels practices well

Just got done watching Wyoming’s Wednesday football practice. It was a pleasant fall afternoon in Laramie, but one the sun started to set it got a little chilly.

Sophomore quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels practiced as UW gets ready to host No. 11 Utah Saturday. He didn’t show much rust after missing last week’s game at No. 4 TCU due to an injury.

“He looked good today,” coach Dave Christensen said. “He hit on some deep balls. He looked like he might even have better touch on the ball. He made one bad throw on a fade route, then I saw make four or five nice deep-ball throws.

“He practiced well (Tuesday), and practied well today.”

Saw a couple of nice catches from junior receiver Jonathan Aiken, and some impressive pass break-ups from the Gipson brothers at cornerback.

Even saw a “spirited” exchange between some offensive and defensive linemen during one of the sessions.

“We haven’t had any issues with the effort we get out of practice,” Christensen added. “We practice physical and we practice with speed. I have no complaints whatsoever with the work ethic of our kids.”

See Thursday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.comfor a story on football scheduling. It covers what the immediate future looks like, which is uncertain, and on the possibility of playing Utah once it is a member of the Pac-10.

Also see my analysis piece on the first half of the season for the Cowboys, and a look ahead to the second half.

And, don’t forget to join me at 3 p.m. Thursday for my weekly live chat. We can hit on football and even basketball as the MWC had its men’s and women’s media days this week. Just come to this blog and look for the link.

Carta-Samuels speaks

I posted earlier today that Wyoming sophomore quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels was cleared to play this week against No. 11 Utah. Carta-Samuels didn’t make the trip last week to No. 4 TCU, where UW lost 45-0.

Here are some quotes from Carta-Samuels that didn’t make my story for Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang

On watching UW on television lost at TCU:

“I’m a competitor and it’s hard not to be on the field, and it’s hard to watch what happened to our team happen. For me I’m very excited to get back out there.

“A week off like any injury week, or anything that you have to deal with, is a week to take a step back and watch. You realize how important college football is to your life and how awesome everything has been so far. It gives you a renewed sense of enthusiasm, pride and work ethic that I want bring out this week.”

Carta-Samuels also said there was nothing more to him missing last week’s game other than an injury. Speculation swirled, including on my live blog from the TCU game, that there was more to that.