LARAMIE -- "Sam Scott looks like Christian McCaffrey."

That's a statement I sent in the direction of Jay Sawvel.

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Wyoming's rookie head coach grinned, agreed and said his new-look offense needs to find ways to get Scott the football in a variety of ways just like San Francisco does with their star utility running back.

"I'm a big fan of Sam Scott," Sawvel said. "One thing that we've got to do is utilize him maybe in multiple, different things. So, that's something that we've talked about. He's got to learn quite a bit of stuff."



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McCaffrey, a 5-foot-11, 205-pound Mr. Do Everything out of the 49ers' backfield, ran the ball 272 times for 1,459 yards last fall. He also caught 67 passes and added 564 yards. The Colorado native found the end zone an eye-popping 21 times while leading his team to Super Bowl LVIII.

Wyoming has a logjam in its running back room.

Harrison Waylee will likely be the starter when the Cowboys open the regular season Aug. 31 at Arizona State. The senior fell just 53 yards short of eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark. He also missed three games and parts of others with injury.

Dawaiian McNeely and North Carolina transfer DJ Jones are also in the mix. So is last year's opening-day starter Jamari Ferrell.

Where does that leave Scott?

"We're going to have a lot of weapons, especially in the running back room," the 6-foot-2, 228-pound junior said. "So, for me to be willing and able to play more than just running back and step into some new things, will be better for me. One of my strengths is, obviously, I'm a lot bigger, and the ability to catch shined this last season.

"So, that's kind of been what they've been telling me, like, OK, learn running back, but we're also going to want you to learn these other things on the side. Eventually just know them all together so they can put me anywhere."

Scott rushed for 237 yards and two touchdowns on 49 carries last fall while helping lead Wyoming to a 9-win season and an Arizona Bowl championship. The Omaha, Neb., product also hauled in 11 throws for 77 yards.

Does new offensive coordinator Jay Johnson see a McCaffrey-type role for Scott in 2024?

"I think so," he said, adding that he is still learning the roster and getting caught up with everyone's strengths. "... From what I've been told, he's obviously a very athletic young man. I think he has a really good skill set for running the ball and, I understand, catching the ball and doing a lot of things. So, you know, that's kind of that toolbox guy that you can use in a lot of different ways."

When Scott arrived on campus back in 2021, he was a linebacker prospect. In fact, he played that position for nearly two full seasons until the team needed an emergency running back during the 2022 Arizona Bowl.

Scott landed the assignment.

He did rush for 684 yards on just 62 carries during his senior season at Skutt Catholic, so the move wasn't completely foreign. That night in Tucson, he finished with just 11 yards on three attempts, but he did enough in bowl preparation to make the switch a permanent one.

Sawvel said Wyoming's offense will look a tad different this season. Ground and pound will still very much play a major role, but getting the ball into the hands of playmakers is the priority.

"This is all about utilizing our players, you know? That's really what it is," he said. "I told the offense yesterday, one of the things that we're going to do at the end of the spring, we're going to rank out all of our skill players 1-10. We better have those guys that are 1-5 on the field a whole lot more than guys that are 6-10. That's just the way it is. So that's what we evaluate every day."

Johnson said there is no name for his scheme. He's looking for players who can execute at a high level.

"We try to be multiple, but simple," he added.

Scott could be that guy -- the Cowboys' Swiss-Army knife on offense.

"This is a guy that can run well, he catches it well, So, yeah, there's some things there that we're kind of ... he's a good looking athlete," Sawvel said.



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Lined up for the game-winning two-point conversion in the second overtime, Wyoming quarterback Andrew Peasley hauled in the shotgun snap and put the ball directly into Scott's belly. He veered to the left as the seas parted. Untouched, he cruised into the end zone to give the Cowboys an improbable 35-33 opening-night victory over visiting Texas Tech.

With both arms extended in the air, guard Jack Walsh lifted him off the ground as his teammates -- and the entire student section inside War Memorial Stadium -- swarmed.

"It's still great," said Scott, who also scored his first-career touchdown from 16 yards out late in the third quarter. "I'm absolutely grateful for that opportunity and to be written in history like that.

"It's awesome, but that's in the past."

More importantly, confidence grew.

"It really changed a lot of things internally for me," Scott added. "You know, going into last season, you really didn't know what to expect, especially for me, because it's my first time ever playing running back. I didn't know the first game of the season that it was going to turn out the way it did. Then, going forward through the rest of the season, I learned a lot. I took some dips, I had some ups and downs and that's just kind of how the game goes. But through it, I think I became stronger."

Scott, aided by heaps of pasta, pancakes, protein shakes and any other carbohydrate he can get his hands on, is in the best shape of his life this spring. Already dubbed one of the fastest players on this roster by his coaches, he's added even more bulk and power.

That should only benefit him whether he's lined up in the backfield ... at tight end ... out wide or in the slot. He'll even continue to run with multiple special teams' units, he added.

What can't he do?

"The sky's the limit," Scott said with a smile.

Just The Facts: Size Doesn't Matter For Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium

Did you know it would take the populations of Gillette (32,857), Laramie (32,381), Rock Springs (23,319), Sheridan (17,844) and Wright (1,200) to create a sellout inside Michigan's famed 107,601-seat Big House, the largest college football stadium in the nation?

For those of you not familiar with the Cowboy State, those are Wyoming's third through sixth most inhabited cities, along with the small mining town in Campbell County.

Gallery Credit:

- Just The Facts: Size Doesn't Matter For Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium

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