Cowboys begin preparations for Cornhuskers

Labor Day was no holiday for Wyoming football and the people who cover the team.

Coach Craig Bohl held his weekly news conference Monday afternoon, and the team began its preparations for its next game Saturday at Nebraska.

Here is the link to Bohl’s entire news conference.

No significant changes to the Cowboys’ depth chart this week. Take a look for yourself.

Wyoming depth chart vs. Nebraska

Wyoming depth chart vs. Nebraska

The Cowboys came out of their 40-34 triple-overtime win over Northern Illinois healthy. There were a lot of positives from that win, but Bohl also pointed out some things that must improve. Some of the biggest were:

— The defense getting off the field late in the game. Northern Illinois drove 77 yards in 10 plays to score the game-tying touchdown with 1:13 to play in regulation. On that drive, the Huskies converted a 4th-and-10 play into a first down. They also completed passes of 11, 17 and 19 yards to cap off the drive.

— The offense finishing drives late in the game. Twice in the fourth quarter UW went 3-and-out with a 27-20 lead. A third drive resulted in only one first down.

— Penalties. 10 for 100 yards won’t get the job done.

— Doing a better job defensively along the perimeter, especially with the fly sweep plays (also known as jet sweeps). Nebraska has some fast guys who can really exploit that this week.

I talked with UW wide receivers coach Mike Grant about how his two senior guys — Tanner Gentry and Jake Maulhardt — combined for 13 of redshirt senior quarterback Josh Allen’s 19 completions for 210 yards and a touchdown. Granted, Gentry and Maulhardt are UW’s best and most experienced receivers, but Grant said during the spring and fall camp he’d like to get the ball to more guys. That didn’t happen in the opener. Here’s what Grant said about that.

“A lot of that falls on me,” he said. “If I can take away 8 to 10 snaps apiece  from those guys I’d like to do that because it’s a long season and those kind of plays for 12 to 13 games will wear you down. Teams look at us and know you have to stop (Gentry and Maulhardt), but if we can get a couple more in mix, that changes things.”

There are a lot of ties to the current UW football program and Nebraska — both the state and its football program in Lincoln. One of the bigger ones is with Bohl, who grew up in Lincoln, played at Nebraska and coached at Nebraska as an assistant from 1981-83 as a graduate assistant and from 1995-2000 as a full-time assistant. In 2000 he was the Cornhuskers’ defensive coordinator.

Bohl downplayed those ties Monday.

“Any college coach will tell you it’s about the players and so you focus on the game at hand and our players here,” he said. “I’m excited about coaching these guys. It will be a big challenge going over and playing a Big Ten team.
“It is a business trip. My parents still live there, I’ve got a daughter that lives there. As coaches you travel around in the profession and a lot of guys end up coaching against the school you played at. It’s about our players.”
I will have more on that later in the week, along with some other cool ties to the current UW team and Nebraska. Be sure to check out the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, along with And, of course, check back to this blog.