3 quick takes: UW’s passing game takes another step back
LARAMIE -- Four completions.
That's how many balls were caught today by Wyoming receivers. That's how many balls were right on the money from redshirt freshman quarterback, Sean Chambers.
One of those was a simple, two-foot shovel to wide receiver, Dontae Crow.
Yes, the passing game has been on the minds of many through three weeks of football, and it should be.
Just let the numbers speak for themselves.
Through three games, Wyoming's passing attack -- if you can call it that right now -- has completed 18-of-46 passes for 245 yards to go along with zero touchdowns and an interception.
You have to go three pages deep on the NCAA's statistical page to find Wyoming. The passing offense is ranked 127th out of 130 teams.
Yes, there's three teams that have gotten off to a rougher start -- Army, Georgia Southern and Air Force.
Those three teams feature an option-attack offense.
"We have to take a hard look at what we are doing," Wyoming head coach, Craig Bohl, said about his passing offense after a lackluster 21-16 win over FCS-member Idaho Saturday afternoon in front of 28,814 in attendance at War Memorial Stadium. "We're charting everything in practice. I think (Chambers) has a good delivery, but right now, we are way out of sync.
"... No doubt we have to improve the passing game. We've got to find out what things we can throw and what things we can catch, because right now, we aren't doing either of those things well at all."
Need some more perspective?
Jeff Cotton, Idaho's senior receiver, who caught six passes for 91 yards today, has snagged 28 balls for 319 yards and two touchdowns in three games.
Chambers was in no mood to chat about his rough outing against the Vandals. He spent all of 1:50 at the podium during his post-game press conference.
His words were filled with coach speak. He was clearly upset. He expects more of himself, he's said that on numerous occasions.
"We didn’t run the ball particularly well today," Chambers said. "Obviously, we didn’t throw the ball very well. It was a lot of stuff. We just have to watch the tape, go back to the drawing board and do better."
Is his confidence rattled?
"No, not at all," he said bluntly. "Talk to coach (Brent) Vigen and coach Bohl. The guys in there believe in me."
There's a good reason, too.
Despite the struggles, misfires, dropped balls and all-around inconsistencies in the passing game, Chambers moved to 6-0 as a starter Saturday afternoon in Laramie.
He also rarely puts Wyoming in a bad spot and doesn't turn the ball over. Those are recipes for success.
Bohl, like always, is reserving plenty of judgement until he watches film, but he started the press-conference parade of giving the simple answer tonight -- "We're 3-0."
Chambers said it. So did Trey Smith and Logan Wilson.
It's true. It also doesn't take Nick Saban to realize that this won't last when the competition gets tougher down the line. It's a tight-wire act. Wyoming hasn't fallen over the side yet, but it almost feels inevitable, doesn't it?
But, for now, no one can deny that Chambers has the "it" factor when it comes to getting in the win column. And like all four who stood at the podium tonight eluded to, that is really the only stat that matters.
Racking up sacks
Man, it almost feels like Wyoming lost this one, huh? Let's get to some positive things that happened Saturday. There were a few things the Cowboys did well.
Though the pressure on Idaho quarterback Mason Petrino actually played to his strengths in some cases -- throwing on the run -- Wyoming defenders did plant him into the turf four times in the win.
That's nine sacks in six quarters of football, dating back to last Saturday night in San Marcos.
Garrett Crall is getting into the act. The speedy defensive end was credited with 1.5 sacks in week three. Victor Jones, Josiah Hall and Solomon Byrd also got to Petrino.
The Cowboys also had nine tackles for loss and gave up just 93 rushing yards on 40 carries. Aside from a 15-yard touchdown run in the first Roshaun Johnson, Wyoming held the Vandals in check all afternoon.
This morning, Craig Bohl and the Cowboys had breakfast with the surviving members of the Black 14, who made their way to Wyoming this weekend for a plaque unveiling -- and more importantly -- an apology.
They got both, plus letter jackets, Wyoming football jerseys with their old numbers and a standing ovation from more than 28,800 fans, who were crammed into War Memorial Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Tom Burman spoke. So did former U.S. Senator, Al Simpson. It was a touching moment. It also brought closure, and for the players, maybe a new opening.
From a personal standpoint, seeing those guys wearing jerseys and pumping their fists and waiving at the crowd brought one thing to mind -- it was time. Maybe they feel like they found a home here again?
Burman offered an official apology from the University of Wyoming Friday.
It was a nice gesture and one many think is long overdue.
Great moment to witness.