Don’t pin Pokes’ passing woes strictly on Andrew Peasley
LARAMIE -- The final stat line left little to be desired.
The eye test, flunked.
Andrew Peasley completed just five of his 20 pass attempts in a 38-6 loss to Illinois last Saturday in Champaign. He threw for a grand total of 30 yards and added an under-thrown interception in the third quarter.
It could've been worse if the Illini defensive backs could catch.
It was a forgettable Wyoming debut for the junior, who transferred from Mountain West rival, Utah State, last winter. The final numbers prove that.
"There were a couple other throws that could have been intercepted," Bohl said, adding that the pick by Devon Witherspoon was "not a good throw." "He's going to need to reel that in. Then, I think early in the game we didn't get in a rhythm."
Early. Middle. Late.
But it wasn't all Peasley's fault, according to Bohl, who pointed out dropped passes by Titus Swen, Wyatt Wieland and tight end Treyton Welch, who failed to bring down a "50-50" ball in the end zone late in the first quarter that could have led to a 7-7 tie.
Speaking of Cowboy pass catchers, did Bohl see separation after reviewing the film?
"Not a lot," he bluntly said. "I mean, I can go show you the tape ... we've got to separate better."
There's another reason, too.
"I think the Illinois defense is good," Bohl said. "... I thought they had some good players on the back end. So, I do not want to take away anything from Illinois' play. I thought they played well. We have to play better."
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The praise for the Fighting Illini secondary didn't stop there, either.
Bohl, who served as the linebackers coach at Nebraska from 1995-99, then added the title of defensive coordinator from 2000-02, compared Illinois' back five to the ones he had in Lincoln.
"I can tell you this, what they did was very similar to some of the really talented defenses that we had," he said. "It was always kind of easy on Friday nights because, you know, this guy's got that guy that guy's got that guy, we'll see you on the bus at the end of the game. And that's what they did."
Routes were disrupted by the amount of press-man Illinois deployed Saturday. Bohl added that the strategy didn't take the UW staff by surprise, but it was not what they had seen from the Illini on film with regularity.
"If we had to do it over again, yeah, there's a lot of things that we would have done differently," he said.
The Cowboys next chance comes this Saturday when Tulsa pays a visit to War Memorial Stadium.
The Golden Hurricane features a first-year defensive coordinator in Luke Olson, though he has been on the staff for the previous 11 seasons. This will be TU's opener, but Bohl said he has a good feeling head coach Philip Montgomery will be dissecting the Illinois' film as he prepares to bring his team to the High Plains.
Do the Cowboys need to get more creative in the passing game?
"We've got to have some things to answer some of those challenges that we got," Bohl said.
Peasley's name is atop the depth chart this week. He will be under center Saturday in Laramie. Bohl said he met with his quarterback Monday afternoon. What will he tell him?
"I think we need to get him in rhythm better," he said. "... Between the guys running the routes and their catching ability, Andrew's accuracy needs to improve and it needs to improve significantly."
Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Mountain Time.