Return to the Desert: 2010 Wyoming Cowboys Preview

Bumped. Thanks, kriess! Good stuff. Hook 'em!  --PB--

Last year we took the trip to Laramie, Wyoming and left with a 41-10 victory, although the game at halftime was very indicative of our usual "slow starts".  We had to get accustomed to the altitude, the poor special teams play, and all around poor play in general.  Fast forward to a year, and a BCS MNC loss later, and we're in the same boat of some sorts.  Against Rice, we got out to a slow start, had poor special teams play, and the running game never got off like we would have hoped.  What can we expect from Wyoming this year? Well for one, at least we know who their starting quarterback will be.  Thats always a plus.  

Wyoming is coming to Austin on Saturday with a heavy heart, from a fallen Cowboy, who passed away last Monday due to injuries from a car accident in Colorado.  Ruben Narcisse, a freshman LB, will be honored by the Wyoming Cowboys all season for the next 4 seasons by wearing his initials on their helmets, and each week a player will get to wear # 12 in memory of Ruben.  DKR will hold a moment of silence in memoriam and the Band will play a tribute to the Wyoming Cowboys.  For those who are planning to be at DKR, make sure your horns are up, and your heads bowed.  Further information can be found at this link.  

Preview of our home opener after the jump

Now, lets talk some football.  Dave Christensen, 2nd year head coach for Wyoming returns after he sends the Cowboys to a victory in the New Mexico Bowl by besting Ryan Matthews and the Fresno State Bulldogs in double overtime.  It was one hell of a game to watch in early-mid December, and the Cowboys return most of their team from last year.  The last time Wyoming went to a bowl game was in 2004 when they went 7-5 and beat out UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl.  In 2005 they went 4-7 and didnt have a winning season since last year.  Can Dave Christensen escape the sophomore slump and return his team to prominence ala a winning season?  Well, he certainly has the pieces to do so again.


Last Saturday, Wyoming scraped out a 28-20 victory over FCS opponent, Southern Utah.  While the running game was paltry to say the least (Alvester Alexander with only 41 yards or 13 carries), QB Austyn Carta-Samuels had an outstanding day en route to 26/32 for 319 yards, a career high.  The defense left much to be desired as they allowed a poor FCS team to control the clock by power runs, and the offensive line left ACS running for his life in the backfield as pressure was on him all day long.  That doesn't bode well for Wyoming as they come into Austin with our elite pass rushers.  Wyoming controlled the game, but left alot on the table.  I expect a better game from them this week.

Offensively, we know what to expect, and that will be huge for Muschamp.  Unlike last week, where Rice could have started any 1 of 3 QBs with 3 different skills sets and 3 different offenses to run, Wyoming WILL start Austyn Carta-Samuels who is a Dual Threat QB but isnt expected to run zone read.  The man can drop back and pass, yet is elusive enough to make something out of nothing.  Think poor mans Colt McCoy.  He took over for Robert Benjamin in the 4th quarter against us last year and never relinquished the starting gig since then.  

On the ground, expect Alvester Alexander and freshman Nehemie Kankolongo to split duties toting the ball against our front 4.  Alvester got most of the carries against us last year, while Nehemie tore up the HS scene in Canada to a tune of 55 TDs his last 2 years up there.  Both of these back have speed and quickness, but they lack power and strength, which they will need against our boys this Saturday.  Also expect to see AA on some kickoffs tomorrow.

ACS does throw the ball around to alot of different guys, but expect Zach Bolger to have most of the looks.  Bolger is a slot guy, who is reliable, and has great hands.  He's a poor man's Shipley.  Just slower.  Last week he went 134 yards with 2 TDs in the air. David Leonard is their main target in the red zone as he is about 6'4 and close to 210 lbs.  He has good speed and his size is a great asset against the smaller than usual DBs in the MWC.  

In the Trenches, Wyoming will have most of their problems.  Their offensive line against Southern Utah was downright offensive.  They laid out zero holes for AA to burst through and they let So. Utah run wild in the backfield.  Our offensive line worries are pale in comparison to what Wyoming is dealing with.  Expect Kheeston to be tackling the RB as soon as he is handed the ball a couple times tomorrow.  On the Defensive front, they will be better than the offensive line, but not by much.  John Fletcher leaves, and Gabe Knapton beefs up from his LB spot to become a DE.  He was 2nd on the team last year with 128 tackles and is very quick, yet undersized.  Ironically that spells trouble for Kyle Hix.  Expect a revolving door on the rest of the line.  

At linebacker,  this unit will be a year.  They have a playmaker, and by far the best on the team in Brian Hendricks.  The man is only 6'1 and maybe 230 lbs, but is incredibly strong beyond his size.  Thats what being a top state wrestler will do to you.  He has the range and speed to play sideline to sideline and will be a factor in this game.  Also there is Ghaali Muhammad, whom is the player who got the TD from the blocked kick last year.  He is undersized but quick and hits like a beast.  Also keep in mind that Wyoming has switched to a 4-3 base defense to stop the run.  So far, the players havent gotten the hint as they gave up over 195 yards on the ground against a team who is known for its passing in Souther Utah.

Defensive back is where Wyoming has the best promise for this season.  You have the Gipson brothers who are from Texas and will be starting at the corners, with Shamiel Gary and Chris Prosinski starting at safety.  They are all returning starters with loads of experience and many expect them to be the best secondary in the MWC this year.  They are very quick and all have great fluid hips, with the exception of Shamiel Gary (who was recruited to be a TE).  This is a great secondary when it comes to being the last stop of defense, as they all load up on stats, but they have issues when faced with a dominant passing team. I'll be interested to see how Greg Davis challenges them, if he even does.  

All in all, I think we have this one in the bag; however, Wyoming will come into Texas with a heavy heart and will probably play out of their minds for the first quarter.  In that regard, don't be surprised if we dont have the lead after 15 minutes of play.  After the dust settles, and we regain our composure, I expect us to dominate the LOS and FINALLY get the running game going under Tre Newton.  This will open up the passing lanes in play action and we will cruise to a comfortable 25-35 point win.  

47-13 Texas

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