‘I feel like I have nothing to lose’
LARAMIE -- Sean Chambers has never made it through an entire college football season.
He has only completed roughly half the passes he's thrown in a Wyoming uniform.
The redshirt sophomore hasn't ever connected on more than 10 throws or surpassed 200 yards through the air in any of the 13 games he's played.
The pressure has to be mounting, right?
"I feel like I have nothing to lose," Chambers said. "I don't think anybody really expects too much of me, so that's even better."
Those facts stated in the first three sentences might lead you to believe Chambers isn't destined to be under center Sept. 4 when Montana State comes to town. And it might not happen. Levi Williams hasn't made the decision easy on Wyoming's coaching staff.
But those words above can also serve as the perfect smokescreen.
Yes, season-ending leg injuries have derailed Chambers' last three seasons and the development that comes with live action. Yes, he has struggled with consistency in the passing game. No one acknowledges that more than the man himself.
But what about the intangibles?
The Kerman, Calif., product has rushed for nearly 900 yards on 149 career carries. That's an average of more than six yards per carry. Chambers has also broke the plane 12 times on the ground.
A one-trick pony, he's not.
Chambers has also thrown for 1,181 yards and 10 touchdowns. He's tossed just three interceptions in 147 attempts.
Here's the stat that matters the most: 9-4.
That's Chambers' record as a starter, including last season's opener in Reno when he played all of three snaps before suffering a broken leg.
Does it ever get tiresome having to prove himself?
"No," he said bluntly. "I've lost some games, too. I mean, there's always room for improvement. It just makes me a little more hungry. You know, I want to go out there and show people that I can do this.
"I can stay healthy. I can play a full season and deliver. So, I'm really excited for that challenge."
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Chambers admitted this spring that the thought of hanging up his cleats crossed his mind. He appeared to be snake bit. The setbacks were taking a toll not only physically but mentally. Standing on the sideline is bad enough. The grueling, extensive rehab sessions also played its part as he prepared to take another run at the job he's only lost in the past because of injuries.
His teammates rallied around him. His roommates urged him to keep going. Turns out, his love of the game never waivered. For the first time in two years, Chambers said he is fully healthy. He feels good, strong.
The night before the Cowboys reported to fall camp in early August, Chambers said a smiled creased his face before he fell asleep.
"I get to wake up and play some football," he said, flashing that wide grin again.
He's not taking a single game, practice or snap for granted.
His teammates have taken notice.
"I would say his confidence," senior wide receiver Ayden Eberhardt said when asked if he's noticed anything different about his quarterback. "... He's able to have confidence and trust his body and what he can do. He knows what he can do. So it's really good to be able to see that."
"He seems more locked in," junior cornerback Azizi Hearn said. "... I feel like he's just becoming a better leader."
"You know, he's always been a confident player, but I feel like that's something he's really increased on," redshirt freshman wide out Isaiah Neyor said.
Noticing a trend here?
Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl raved about Chambers' performance last Saturday during the Cowboys' final scrimmage of the fall. He operated the offense from the huddle to the line. He made all the throws, managed the clock and mastered every situation.
"I was really pleased with how Sean Chambers played," he said. "It was maybe his best outing that I can recall ... He's done some some really good things when he's played with his legs, but he managed (the game) and he looked like a quarterback out there."
There's a reason for that. Chambers is simply enjoying the game again.
"No pressure, just excited to play again," he said. "You know, I feel like a kid again, going out there and just playing football. I'm really excited about that."