LARAMIE -- Jay Sawvel is confident Wyoming will have a much more productive pass rush from its defensive ends this season

That shouldn't be too difficult.

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The Cowboys got to the quarterback 24 times in 2023. Just 11.5 of those came from the edge, including four each from DeVonne Harris and Braden Siders. Sabastian Harsh landed three.

Wyoming finished 86th in the FBS in this category and tied for eighth with San Jose State in the Mountain West Conference. Colorado State led the way with 33 takedowns (in just 12 games), followed by Boise State (36), Air Force (30), Fresno State (30), Utah State (29) and UNLV (26).



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Sawvel, who served as the team's defensive coordinator over the previous four seasons, said health played a major role in those statistics last fall.

"Siders didn't have a spring a year ago and was injured for a lot of fall camp last year," Wyoming's rookie head coach said last Saturday. "Sabastian was coming off an injury a year ago. I think inside we've got some guys that can move, so I think we have the capability of having a good pass rush."

Harsh, who was the unquestioned MVP of the offseason a year ago, missed the entire 2022 campaign with a broken left knee cap. Setbacks followed, including having a wire removed from that same surgically repaired patella.

Harsh, a 6-foot-3, 245-pound Scottsbluff, Neb., product, appeared in 12 games, missing the Fresno State tilt with an undisclosed injury. Siders was also limited during that 24-19 upset win over the No. 24 Bulldogs.

Siders was sidelined completely in the late September victory over New Mexico. The fellow junior, according to Sawvel, was never fully healthy.

Harsh capped his season with 50 total tackles, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup. Siders, a Thornton, Colo., native, finished with 26 stops and batted down two balls.

Harris was the only end to play in all 13 games, registering 35 tackles. He also broke up four passes and recovered a fumble.

Tyce Westland and Kevin Sjogren (SHOE-green) were forced into action late in the season. Those two combined for 21 stops and half-a-sack. Eighteen of those, including the helper on the QB, belonged to Westland.

Sawvel repeated time and again after the team's Saturday workout in Laramie that this is a one-day-at-a-time operation, but with a clean bill of health -- along with offseason gains in the weight room -- this unit could finally live up to the billing.



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Couple that with the return of veteran interior players like Jordan Bertagnole, Gavin Meyer, Ben Florentine, Caleb Robinson, and others, opposing offensive coordinators and signal callers could have their hands full this spring.

"We're grinding a little bit," Sawvel said. "I think we have the capability of having a pretty good pass rush. Braden Siders, where he's at right now, is 245 pounds. Sabastian Harsh is over 240. Compared to where those guys were a year ago ... Just overall, I think the energy to everything is really good."

The Cowboys will take part in practice No. 7 this afternoon in Laramie. Next Saturday's workout is again open to the public.

University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players

During the summer of 2021, counted down the Top 50 football players in University of Wyoming history, presented by Premier Bone & Joint Centers, Worthy of Wyoming.

The rules are simple: What was the player's impact while in Laramie? That means NFL stats, draft status or any other accolade earned outside of UW is irrelevant when it comes to this list.

This isn't a one-man job. This task called for a panel of experts. Joining 7220's Cody Tucker are Robert GagliardiJared NewlandRyan Thorburn, and Kevin McKinney.

We all compiled our own list of 50 and let computer averages do the work. Think BCS -- only we hope this catalog is fairer.

Don't agree with a selection? Feel free to sound off on our Twitter: @7220sports - #Top50UWFB

Gallery Credit:

- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players

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