UW seniors prep for emotional exit
TUCSON, Ariz., -- Austin Conway turned away from the media horde, looked to his right and stared into his coaches eyes.
"It's going to be different because I love these guys," the senior said about the realization of this being his final game in a Wyoming uniform. "I love Coach. I'm grateful for the opportunity he gave us and I'm truly, truly blessed to be here. So it's going to be hard."
Conway, along with 15 other Wyoming seniors, all give speeches to the underclassmen after the team's final practice before Tuesday's Arizona Bowl against Georgia State.
It's become a team tradition.
Sunday, Conway tried to impart wisdom on the youngsters. He told them it goes by too fast, enjoy the moments. Monday afternoon at Wyoming's final press conference of the season, he showed in his eyes and words what this program means to him.
The emotion was felt by the guy on his right, too.
"I always have a hard time because these guys, you see them when they first come in, they're young guys trying to find their way," Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said, voice cracking. "They don't have whiskers -- and the next thing you know -- they're gone. And the words that they say to our younger players are really powerful.
"So, like Austin said, he has a great deal of emotion. College football is special, and these guys are special for our program."
Senior placekicker Cooper Rothe joked that some players grumbled about having such a short winter break.
Rothe wasn't one of them.
"One last time with the teammates, that's pretty special to us," he said. "... For us, we're grateful for it. We've been with these guys for four years. They're our family. It's another two weeks to stay with family.
"In my speech, I said I came in with one brother, and I'm leaving with 100-plus brothers. So it was great to spend more time with them."
Logan Wilson was a lightly recruited defensive back from Natrona County High School. His body was undersized, he's shown time and again his heart isn't.
Asked if he is surprised to be in this position, playing in his third bowl game in four seasons, the three-time team captain also shook his head. He didn't see this coming, but the fact that it is here, he said, is not by chance.
"I just put my head down and worked," Wilson said. "That’s kind of how I was raised by my parents -- just put in the work and do all the things the right way. Like I said, I don’t think it happened by chance, but I am maybe a little surprised that I’m in the position I’m in right now."