Bohl sees ‘greatness’ in young roster, plans to hang a banner soon
LARAMIE -- Media day in Laramie has never looked quite like this.
During the COVID-19 era, masks were required. Only a handful of players trickled into a vacant, spacious indoor practice facility for interviews. In 2019, it looked much the same, minus the face coverings.
In other words, this day has never been billed as an actual event.
That all changed Wednesday.
Bacon-wrapped jalapenos, the Bronze Boot and plenty of optimism was on full display as Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl took center stage just moments after a 2021 highlight reel played on a pair of large white video screens on both sides of the stage.
Cowboy Joe Club members and corporate sponsors were in attendance. So was the entire football roster, coaches included. A section of Western Thunder Marching Band blasted "Ragtime Cowboys Joe." A portion of the spirit squad was there, too.
Players sat with fans -- and the media. The spread was nothing short of gourmet: shrimp, barbecue and even a watermelon carved in the shape of a UW football helmet, Steamboat and all.
It was quite the production.
And rumor has it this was all Bohl's idea.
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It was also a chance for Bohl to take the mic and give his take on the season ahead. While the league's media isn't high on his Pokes -- UW was picked to land in the fifth spot out of six teams in the Mountain Division -- he "begs to differ." A confident Bohl directed his words to the back of the room. They were intended for the guys in white jerseys, who are currently in the midst of Week 2 of fall camp.
"There's greatness here. I'm convinced there's greatness. For us to raise that bar, as we're all talking about, it's going to take a concerted effort by everybody," Bohl said, before pointing to the northwest corner of the building. "So you look up at those banners over there -- we need to be hanging up a Mountain West Conference championship banner up there, guys.
"That's going to be right around the corner."
UW hasn't claimed a conference title since 1993. It shared that honor with Fresno State and BYU. The Cowboys won a division title in '96 and again in 2016.
Before the 2021 campaign, a veteran-laden lineup was slated to finish second in the division behind only Boise State. Wyoming limped to a 2-6 record in MW play and finished fifth. Now, this is the third youngest roster in the nation. Only conference foes, Hawaii and Nevada, are less experienced.
While title talk hasn't been a theme during the offseason, Bohl pulled out a line we've all grown accustomed to.
"We're lying in the weeds," the ninth-year head coach said. "... I see great optimism here. So, I'd like our players to know that the bar is high and we're pushing you hard because we see greatness."
If the preseason rankings aren't enough to ruffle some feathers in the locker room, Bohl said he has another trick up his sleeve when the Cowboys open the season Aug. 27 at Illinois.
Apparently Bret Bielema can't enunciate the name of our state, Bohl said.
“The University of Illinois coach made a statement that they are playing Week 0 and they’re opening up against Wyami. And I went, ‘Wyami?’ He said it. It's going to go up on the bulletin boards.
"Football is not too far away."
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