‘We really want to beat these guys’
LARAMIE -- Craig Bohl stated once again Monday that he has not made a final decision on who will start under center for the Cowboys at the Arizona Bowl.
He praised Tyler Vander Waal for being a competitor when other quarterbacks might scoff at the thought of a young signal caller entering the fray. He added that Levi Williams has been taking meaningful reps with the first team and even started running the two-minute drill for the first time in his young college career.
Does the true freshman from Canyon Lake, Texas, want the starting role? Sure.
Is it a must? Not even a little bit.
"I really don't care at all," Williams said Monday. "At the end of the day, it's all about winning for the state, the school and the program. I don't care if we win with him playing or with me out there, I really don't."
Why the lax attitude about taking the reins of the Cowboys offense? Well, Williams said he didn't even know if he would get into a game this season let alone start. He has played in the Pokes final two regular season games, one a 17-7 win over Border War rival Colorado State, the other, a 20-6 setback in Colorado Springs against Front Range rival, Air Force.
Bohl said Williams was inserted to help in the run game. Xazavian Valladay was the lone scholarship running back on the roster the last month of the season.
Bohl was asked Monday where Williams' progression at this time compares to quarterback Sean Chambers, who started the last three games of the 2018 season as a true freshman.
"I would say pretty similar," Bohl said. "Levi came in earlier than Sean. It is significantly different when you're here during the spring. Sean had some experience during fall camp, but he ran the scout team all that time. With the 15 practices in spring ball, (Williams) is a little further along."
Bohl calls the current quarterback battle "pretty even."
Williams, who stands 6 feet, 5 inches and weighs in at 208 pounds, has completed just 8-of-13 passes for 109 yards and an interception as he has rotated quarterback duties with Vander Waal. Where the freshman has really impressed is with his legs, gashing, running over and past defenses to the tune of 128 yards on just 28 carries. He also scored his first career touchdown from a yard out against the Rams on a frosty November night in Laramie.
Despite the in-game experience, Williams said he knows he still has plenty to work on. He is taking full advantage of the 15 additional practices that come with a bowl invite.
"Getting reps with the first team is super important," he said. "I'm getting on the same page with the wide receivers and finding gaps the offensive line makes, as well. This time is crucial. We really want to beat these guys and dominate them up front and through the air."
These guys, of course, are Wyoming's Arizona Bowl opponent, Georgia State. The Panthers (7-5) feature on of the worst rush defenses in the nation, allowing nearly 212 yards per outing. That ranks them 116th in the country.
Georgia State's pass defense hasn't exactly been great, either, giving up 238 yards per game.
Williams is well aware of the task at hand. And he's confident the Cowboys can exploit some things on offense.
"Air Force left a sour taste in our mouths. We want to get back on the field as soon as possible," he said. "We are locked in and focused, ready to play these guys. We want to dominate them in all facets of the game -- running, passing, kicking, defense -- it doesn't matter.
"We are excited to beat up on these guys and win a bowl game."