What will Wyoming’s offense look like in ’21?
LARAMIE -- What will Wyoming's offense look like in 2021?
Craig Bohl, along with new offensive coordinator, Tim Polasek, and offensive line coach, Derek Frazier, joined by newly appointed passing-game coordinator, Mike Grant, attempted to answer that very question during an introductory press conference Tuesday afternoon from Laramie.
"I can't say it enough, we've got to be more explosive on offense," the head coach said. "It cannot be three yards and a cloud of dust, but we can't forget who we are. I mean, we're the University of Wyoming. We're the Wyoming Cowboys."
There's always a "but" isn't there?
Bohl is not going away from a power-running game. That run-first mentality, yeah, that's not going anywhere either. When Montana State and its new head coach Brent Vigen show up inside War Memorial Stadium on Sept. 4 and the Pokes run it right up the gut on first down, don't be surprised.
That part of this program won't change.
What will, these four coaches claim, is efficiency through the air. Ridding this team of the label "one dimensional." Xazavian Valladay staring over the line of scrimmage at 10-man boxes. Heck, converting a third and long, though Polasek said he hopes the Cowboys see very few of those.
There will be elements of the west-coast offense. The pro-style schemes will still be there. They say they will leverage the athletes they have, reinforcing the pocket and adding plenty of play-action passing.
Throwing the ball 40-plus times per game isn't happening. Or as Bohl likes to say, his offense won't resemble Mick Leach's anytime soon.
Let's look back at some of the Leach-less passing numbers from 2020's six-game COVID-19-shortened campaign. Warning, it's not pretty:
* Third-down conversions: 27 of 89 - 118th in the nation out of 127 teams)
* Completion percentage: 62 of 134 - 123rd
* First downs: 111 - 111th
* Passing offense: 153.3 yards per game - 113th
* Passing efficiency: 98.94 - 122nd
* Red-zone offense: 0 pass TDs, 12 rush TDs, 11 field goals, 23 opportunities - 33rd
* Sacks allowed: 16 - 95th
* Tackles for loss allowed: 6.17 per game - 63rd
* Scoring offense: 26.5 points per game - 83rd
Your move, Polasek.
"There's got to be an element of option football," he said. "There's got to be an element of empty (sets) and there's got to be an element of your overall personality.
"... We're going to be predictably unpredictable, as coach likes to say. We're going to make people defend all of our personnel groupings, all of our formations, and hit the whole 53 (yard width of the field). I mean, in my mind, that's what I keep coming back to the run game and pass game, we've got to be able to take advantage of the 53 yards and make people understand that we are going to create angles and leverage in the run game."
Sound a tad different from what we've witnessed around here of late?
How will the tight ends be involved?
"We rely on them so much during the blocking phase of it," Grant said. "... Our tight ends are very athletic and get involved in the passing game can stretch a linebacker. Very few linebackers in our league are going to be able to cover a Treyton (Welch) down the field."
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By the way, what is the new passing-game coordinator's vision for this offense?
"I think things can be spread out a little more," Grant added. "I think that we can also run the ball with fewer people in the box. That also requires the wide receivers to be dangerous on the outside so that maybe they need safety help and that they need to be outside more. That can open up some more lanes on the inside with various formations and those kinds of things so we can go down the field with the football."
Did he say spread?
All four of these guys agree on one thing -- it all starts with the front five.
Frazier comes to Laramie after a two-year stint with the New York Jets. Bohl called him an "offensive line expert."
Frazier knows the cupboard isn't bare.
"Tell you what, you don't get much better than that," he said of returning the entire offensive line, including their back-ups. "We have that type of experience, and with the depth of the of that unit, I have to do a good job and make sure they do the right thing and not screw them up."
Frazier said last year's unit has a chip on its shoulder. It's not difficult to see why. Did you see the sack numbers above? How about the tackles for loss? The Cowboys' line is imperative in what Bohl likes to refer to as "re-engineering" this offense.
"It all comes back to being tough," Frazier said. "Being fundamentally aggressive and playing with fanatical effort, you know? So, that's what's going to be put forth."
Bohl said he is confident in this offensive transformation because he believes he has the players currently on the roster to execute it.
Grant spoke about the emergence of wide receiver Isaiah Neyor on the outside. Frazier spoke about the grit and toughness of guys like Keegan Cryder, Logan Harris and Eric Abojei. Polasek, so far, likes what he sees from quarterbacks Sean Chambers and Levi Williams.
Bohl seemingly likes it all.
"We're excited about this next year, but we have a lot of work to do," Bohl said. "But, I had a message I sent out to our fans, the calendar got turned from 2020 to 2021 ... You know, our players have a great look in their eye. We need to take another step forward.
"Many years ago, we set out to win a conference championship. A couple of times we kind of knocked on the door. We need to kick that door down this year."
Watch Tuesday's press conference right HERE.
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