Tim Polasek looking for ‘CEO’ of Cowboys offense
LARAMIE -- Tim Polasek is looking for a CEO this spring.
In the corporate world, that guy makes the big decisions. He manages the entire operation. He's the face of the franchise.
It's not all that different when it comes to finding a quarterback.
Wyoming's new offensive coordinator wants a leader. Someone to make the right choices. A guy who can be leaned on under any circumstance.
"We're talking a lot about being a CEO of the offense," Polasek said Thursday, following the Cowboys eighth practice of the spring. "Being a good businessman means you find a way to take a profit every day."
It's a two-horse race right now, according to Polasek, who also serves as the team's quarterback coach. Sean Chambers, who is taking plenty of reps with the first team, and Levi Williams, a young quarterback who played in all six games last fall, have started to separate themselves from the pack.
That's not exactly a surprise.
Chambers has started 12 games in his UW career and boasts a 9-3 overall record. He has proven to be a major threat with his legs, racking up 896 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. However, three straight leg injuries have derailed Chambers, ending his season. Last fall, Chambers was swarmed under on the third play from scrimmage in Nevada and suffered a broken left leg. UW head coach Craig Bohl has said Chambers isn't operating at 100% yet this spring.
Williams earned his first career start in the Arizona Bowl in 2019. That day in Tucson, the freshman completed 11-of-26 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 53 yards and another score as he led the Cowboys to a 38-17 win over Georgia State.
Battling a shoulder injury sustained in Week 2 against Hawaii, Williams struggled throughout the 2020 campaign, completing just 49.6% of his passes and tossing just one touchdown compared to three interceptions. In four of his six outings, Williams failed to complete 10 passes in a game. He was just 3-for-13 for 45 yards in a 17-9 season-ending home loss to Boise State.
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Polasek has said numerous times since he arrived on campus in February that the slate is clean. Sure, he's watched the film on these two, but he wants to see for himself. So far, he's liking what he's seeing.
"I think Shawn and Levi both have communicated and verbalized the information very well," Polasek said, adding that experience, coupled with execution, have set them apart. "We don't read off the cards anymore at practice. They have to take it from me and show an understanding of the system. Their command has been good."
Polasek said he has been pleased with the way his signal callers have deciphered coverages and made quick throws. It's the deep balls and throws out of a five-step drop, he said, that need the most work so far in camp.
Polasek said he likes Chambers' mechanics and quick release. It's balance, Polasek said, that will lead to more accuracy for the redshirt sophomore, who has completed less than 50% of his passes at the college level.
One thing he does want to see Chambers do this year is take less hits.
"We keep talking about situational football and knowing when the journey is over," he said. "If you get an eight-yard run, you don't have to cut back against the MIKE Linebacker. Eight-yard plays are pretty good. We got to know when the journey is over and be smart and stay healthy. That's a big part of it."
As far as Williams goes, Polasek said he likes his awareness and football IQ. There are a couple things he hopes to clean up this fall though.
"The more I work with him and the more we watch tape, it really comes down to his lead foot and his lead shoulder just being on his target," Polasek said. "So that's what he's working on."
Before the 2020 campaign, Bohl said both quarterbacks would play. Chambers would be the starter, but Williams would get in every ball game at some point.
Any chance that happens again this year?
"Well, we're going to take a look at how they perform this spring," he said. "If there's a significant separation, that will alter some of the thoughts that we have. If the competition is such that there's a marginal difference between the two -- very minimal -- then we may play both."
Hank Gibbs, Jayden Clemons and Gavin Beerup are the other three quarterbacks on the Cowboys' roster. Bohl said he likes the competition and those guys will see live rounds this spring, too. Which ever guy gets the call, Bohl knows they all need to be ready.
He's seen this scenario play out before.
"As you saw, we definitely need depth at that quarterback position," he said.