COLUMN: Wyoming finally dipping into transfer portal … Congrats?
LARAMIE -- All Craig Bohl wants for Christmas is a quarterback.
And now, all of a sudden, it's perfectly fine to snag that guy by any means necessary, including dipping into that evil transfer portal where his last two signal callers, Levi Williams and Sean Chambers, bolted right around the time the last potato hit the blue turf in Boise.
Don't stop there, coach.
While Wyoming's eighth-year head coach was jotting down his letter to Santa, I hope he asked for a new speedy, game-changing 6-foot-3 wide receiver with 12 touchdown grabs. Add in a defensive end with 3.5 sacks and a safety with 41 tackles and an interception.
In the 48 hours following that 52-38 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl victory over Kent State -- boy, does that feel like a lifetime ago -- six now-former Cowboys have asked for their walking papers. Keyon Blankenbaker ripped off that band-aid in early December. Williams and Chambers, along with star receiver Isaiah Neyor, Cam Murray, Victor Jones and Rome Weber joined the fray this week.
I'm told there are more to come.
The university Friday posted a help wanted ad to its official social media accounts. Josh Allen on the left side of the graphic, the man in charge on the right.
This written in the middle:
"The college football landscape is changing with the one-time transfer rule and NIL," it reads. "Our staff anticipated this movement and have a clear vision to navigate these uncharted waters. After a successful early signing day, Cowboy football will address the need to sign a quarterback via the transfer portal or junior college. We believe this is a great opportunity for a transfer quarterback to come in and make an impact on our program. We've seen that before when we brought Josh Allen into our program, and we're excited for the next chapter of Cowboy football."
I'm open minded.
I assume this is an attempt to lure in a prospective QB out there and plant the thought of Allen in the forefront of his mind. If he can become a first round NFL Draft pick in Laramie, so can I. That's been the sales pitch to potential gunslingers since No. 17 became the seventh overall selection to the Buffalo Bills in 2018.
You know they throw Carson Wentz's name in the mix, too.
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Bohl is mostly correct in the opening of his statement. Where he's wrong is, the college football landscape isn't changing -- it has changed. Since 2018, players from all over the country have volunteered their services to other programs. They just aren't so hard to track down these days.
Now, it's easier than ever to jump ship. In April, the NCAA introduced a one-time transfer rule. Players can move on and suit up immediately at their new school.
UW cornerback Azizi Hearn did just that after spending the 2018 season at the University of Arizona. All he's done is become one of the top cover corners in the Mountain West over the last three seasons.
Bohl, just last week in Boise -- and the week before on early signing day -- didn't deviate from the script, announcing with pride that Wyoming is a "developmental program."
Yes, we know.
That's his go-to saying anytime the portal is mentioned in a press conference. Bohl says he always keeps an eye on that ever-changing list of talent, but rarely do they pull the trigger. He certainly isn't going to rely on it, like, say, Blake Anderson, head coach of newly crowned Mountain West champion, Utah State.
In his first season in Logan, Anderson turned the Aggies from a cellar-dweller into conference champs. It's no secret how -- he signed 27 players from other schools. Bohl wouldn't dream of such a tactic, and that's fine, the cupboard isn't bare on the high plains -- yet.
Develop away, coach, but sometimes a quick-fix is in order.
My first thought when I saw that post Friday morning was it stinks of desperation. It also reeks of an old-school coach who is out of touch with the intricacies of today's game. I still believe some of that.
Have you ever in your life seen a football program release something like this? It doesn't happen. That story graced the front page of ESPN, Yahoo and other national sports outlets. It was laughable. You're finally going to utilize all the tools at your disposal? Congrats?
On the other hand, maybe it's genius? I have my doubts.
But it's all really a moot point until this archaic, predictable offensive scheme joins the 21st century. What high-caliber passing quarterback in his right mind would want to step under center in this run, run, third-and-long desperation-heave offense?
Wyoming ranked 86th in the country in total offense this fall, averaging 374 yards per game. Nearly 212 of those came on the ground. This team averaged just 25.4 points per game.
This "re-engineered" offense under first-year coordinator Tim Polasek was not-quite 40-60 pass. Sound familiar? By now, I'm sure you have figured out the play caller in this program doesn't always have the final say in the game plan.
I spoke to one of the Cowboys' seven transfers last night. I asked, "Utah State? Is that really an option with all these Power-5 offers you've received?" His response: "They throw the ball."
It's really that simple.
So is taking advantage of every -- and any -- avenue to improve this roster.
Just 10 days ago, this is what Bohl had to say about plucking players from the portal.
"We're cautious," he started. "A lot of times we're looking for guys that have a deep level of commitment. That does not mean a guy that's in the portal does not have a deep level of commitment, but you really got to ascertain why. Why is he in the portal?
"... There's an old saying, you know, a leopard, you can move them spots around, but he's still a leopard. So we're going to be really cautious."
I can think of one leopard that needs to change its spots before it's too late.
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