Wyoming Football: News and Notes Ahead of Arizona Bowl
TUCSON, Ariz., -- Who will be calling the offensive plays in the Arizona Bowl now that former coordinator Tim Polasek is the new head coach at North Dakota State?
"It's a national secret," Craig Bohl joked Thursday before leading his Wyoming team onto the practice field one final time. "If I tell you I'd have to kill you."
It was that kind of day in the desert. Dare I say, jovial?
Some players donned brown-and-gold checkered sweatpants (in honor of the eclectic defensive end DeVonne Harris). Bohl even wore a black bath robe, saying that's what coaches in this program receive when the end is near.
He even let the media watch the opening part of workouts on a sun-spanked day in Tucson.
That just doesn't happen.
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The veteran head coach has been in no mood, though, to reminisce since announcing his retirement earlier this month. He wants to keep the focus on the field, the way his mentor Tom Osborne did before riding off into the sunset at Nebraska back in 1997.
He left with a national championship.
Bohl can cap his four-decade career with another postseason trophy, his fourth in 10 seasons on the high plains.
"I joke with coach (Jay) Sawvel, 'I'm still the head coach -- and he'll laugh,"' he said of his defensive coordinator, who was named the 33rd head coach in UW football history the same day Bohl announced he would be stepping down. "So, everything's pretty much operating somewhat normal right now."
Easton Gibbs agrees.
"I wouldn't say he's been different but, you know, he's definitely lightened the mood," the Cowboys senior middle linebacker said on Thursday. "You can tell he's kind of getting excited to hopefully go out with a win ... We're excited for him, as well."
Jokes aside, Bohl said he didn't think about the fact that this would be his final practice as a college head football coach. He did admit, however, he has been taking in some elements of this game that one might never think about.
"There are things that you may not appreciate, but being on grass, hearing the buses roll, all that stuff is special," he said. "But today is about preparation to get ready to beat Toledo."
Here are some other news and notes from the Pokes' workout in Tucson:
* Eric Rhodes, VP of Communications for the Arizona Bowl, said today that roughly 28,000 tickets have been sold for this matchup between the Cowboys and Rockets, which will take place Saturday at 2:30 p.m. inside Arizona Stadium. That's roughly 3,000 more than last year's attendance. He said a spike in ticket sales from Wyoming came in the wake of Bohl's retirement announcement. He also expects some walk-up sales when Arizona fans return from the Alamo Bowl, which takes place tonight against Oklahoma in San Antonio.
* The legendary Paul Roach coached the final game of his career in this very city back in 1990 Copper Bowl. Wyoming lost to Cal that day, 17-15. Bohl was stunned to hear from a local media member today that Roach also capped his career here in Tucson. "Wow," he said. "I did not know that ... Coach Roach meant the world to me." Roach, who led the Cowboys to three bowl appearances from 1987-90, died Sept. 3 in Pullman, Wash. He was 95.
* Aaron Bohl last week was named the new defensive coordinator at Wyoming, replacing Sawvel, who held that post for the previous four seasons. What does his old man think about his promotion? "I tried to stay out of his way," Bohl joked. "You know, I coached linebackers for 17 years, so sometimes the old man don't know what the hell he's doing. But just to see him grow -- and, you know, this was Jay's choice -- Aaron earned this. He's staying on his own two legs. As you guys know, that seat, I told him, is going to get a little hot, but he's a bright coach and I'm very proud of him."
* Some teams around the college football landscape are utilizing speakers in helmets and iPads on the sidelines ala the NFL during this postseason. Wyoming will not be one of them, though Bohl did say his team practiced with that technology leading up to this bowl game. "Yeah, we were," he said, referring to his disappointment in not being able to use speakers during this game. "But you know, that's got to be mutually agreed upon by the two different teams." Bohl also added he wouldn't be surprised to see all teams across the country start to use this method in the near future thanks to Michigan's sign-stealing scandal. "It's completely preventable," he said. "I would be shocked if we don't have that in full-blown implementation next year."
* Bohl said he hasn't begun to think about the foundation he built during a decade in Laramie. That will come another day. "Maybe after this is all over and done, and I'm sitting by a fire, having a cigar and a Manhattan, I'll probably reflect on some things," he said.
* Peny Boone, the MAC Offensive Player of the Year, announced Dec. 26 that he will be entering the NCAA Transfer Portal. The Toledo running back rushed for 1,400 yards and found the end zone 16 times while leading the Rockets to an 11-2 record and a regular-season conference championship. "They rotate quite a bit," Gibbs said, referring to Toledo's running back unit. "So, we have film on the other guy, too." The "other guy" is Jacquez Stuart, who rolled up 475 yards on the ground while averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Boone is listed at 6-foot-1, 242 pounds. Stuart is 5-foot-9, 178. "Maybe we'll feel a little bit better after the game and won't be as sore," Gibbs joked.
* This will be Wyoming's fifth postseason game in this city and the third over the last five seasons. The Cowboys are currently 1-3, the lone victory coming against Georgia State in the 2019 Arizona Bowl. Bohl's bunch lost to Ohio 30-27 in overtime last December.
* The Pokes and Rockets have met twice before on the football field, each winning in the other team's home stadium. Wyoming claimed a 20-15 slugfest inside the Glass Bowl back in 2010, and two seasons later Toledo came away with a 34-31 victory inside War Memorial Stadium.
* This game will be televised on The CW and streamed at barstoolsports.com
University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players
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- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players