Q&A with Wyoming passing-game coordinator Mike Grant
LARAMIE -- Wyoming hasn't scored a touchdown since the end of the first half of a 24-14 road loss to Air Force.
That game was on Oct. 9.
That was 19 days ago.
That was 10 quarters ago.
What the Cowboys' offense has done in that timeframe is turn the ball over eight times -- five interceptions and three fumbles. The punt team has been busy, too. Ralph Fawaz has gotten off 12 kicks. Wyoming has also turned the ball over on downs three times, including twice in a 14-3 loss to New Mexico last Saturday in Laramie.
So, what gives?
Wednesday, you heard from first-year offensive coordinator Tim Polasek. If you missed that Q&A, you can find that right HERE.
Today, we chat with passing-game coordinator and wide receivers coach Mike Grant.
7220sports: If you were to make a phone call to your best friend after the New Mexico game and he said, "what's going on with the offense, Mike?" What would you say -- in layman's terms?
Grant: I think the easiest answer is kind of like the obvious one -- we're struggling a little bit right now trying to put all the pieces together. I think that guys are working hard. Guys are motivated. You sense that on the sideline there's a little bit of like we all are -- human nature -- a little bit frustrated as to, you know, wanting to get it done. I don't see or sense any kind of negativity. I think it's more motivational for them because we're putting in the work. Now, we just have to see the results.
7220sports: Mike, we saw UConn kind of go to a hurry-up offense, we saw Air Force throw the ball and New Mexico really went to its triple-option stuff. Does your offense need a radical shake up like that? And can they do that?
Grant: I don't think so. You know, we play a certain style -- the pro-style offense -- kind of what you see on Sundays. That's kind of what we've recruited to and what we're developing our young men to do and, you know, it's a process. You also you have some senior leadership. You have some veterans here. With the incoming of a new coordinator, and all those things, we have the capability of doing some of those things. In fact, we, we do a lot of tempo -- believe it or not -- and one-word (play calls) and those things. So, we're mixing it up and being as diverse we as we can. The thing that you don't want is to come out and be one dimensional and that's all that a team has to stop for you to be really unsuccessful. So, we're trying to be a whole lot more diverse than we have been around in here in the past. I think that we are.
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7220sports: It seems like the team has been one dimensional the last few years, but the running game has been so good. Why do you think that hasn't been as consistent this year?
Grant: Well, I just think defenses are presenting new challenges for our run game. When you see something -- you start getting into a lot in conference play -- where teams will try to mix up, teams are blitzing us a lot more or doing a lot of line stunts. When they think that all you're going to do is run the ball, or if that's your reputation, then you're going to see a lot of different things to prevent that. So, it's kind of like when you watched Tom Brady and the Patriots. When he went back to (New England as a member of Tampa Bay) he struggled because Bill Belichick knows him. So, when you get to the situation, like right now, while we're in conference, sometimes it just becomes man against man and, when people know what you do and who you are. So, we just got to kind of find a way to tweak some of the things that we've been doing that that we've kind of maybe got away from in the past.
7220sports: Does it seem like it's closer to clicking than it might seem to somebody like me and the fans?
Grant: I think it is ... I think we're moving in the right direction with this but, you know, everyone was kind of upset about running the ball 80 times a game, as well. It's hard to please everyone, but what we're trying to do is win football games. I think the kids are really motivated to do so. I think they're hurting, but I don't sense any kind of give-up mode or what are we doing out here? So, I think things are coming along in the right direction and we need to move forward versus some wholesale change.
7220sports: So, you guys talked in the offseason about really wanting a CEO of this offense? Do you feel like Levi Williams can spark this offense?
Grant: Well, I think that they are sometimes -- you know, I played the position -- so, as always, the quarterback gets the lion's share of the credit and the lion's share of the blame. But there's a lot of other things that go on that, you know, the fan might see an errant throw, but they don't ever stop to think, 'well, did the tight end run the right route? The wide receiver, is he in the right place? You just see the ball being thrown wrong or something happening. So, I think (Sean Chambers and Williams) are capable of controlling our offense and, you know, leading our football team. It's going to come down to who's performing the best at any given time. I've got confidence in both of those guys will be able to make it work and they've proven that in certain games and certain times in their careers. They just got to kind of get back to that. We all have to.
7220sports: Like finding some consistency? That seems like the elusive things right now.
Grant: Yep. That's it.
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