Wyoming WR Alex Brown: ‘I Think This Will Be a Big Year For Me’
LARAMIE -- Alex Brown doesn't recall the exact play call, but he did have a good feeling the football was heading in his direction.
"I probably shouldn't have run the go," Wyoming's junior receiver said last week, accompanied by a devious grin. "It was an option route. I could either sit down or go."
Sure, stopping and awaiting a shorter throw would've been the safe thing to do, but this was the Border War.
With the Cowboys trailing 13-7 early in the fourth quarter and facing a 2nd-and-9 just outside Colorado States' 30-yard line, quarterback Jayden Clemons took the shotgun snap, dropped back three steps and glanced in Brown's direction.
The heave that followed will forever be one of those memorable moments in the history of this 123-year-old rivalry:
Brown raced down the left sideline inside Canvas Stadium and blew past a helpless Greg Laday.
The 6-foot-4, 201-pound Texas native, only breaking his stride to high-point the ball, hauled in the throw, cradling it with both arms. CSU's tardy defensive back took care of the rest, gliding Brown right into the end zone.
The raw emotion, coupled with the double fists pumps, told a tale.
"It was kind of like a fever dream, to be honest," Brown said. "I just turned 21 a couple hours later and it was the first game my parents came to all year. It was the first game my sister had seen since, like, 2020, or something like that. So, it was kind of crazy. Honestly, it was kind of a weird feeling after the game because I didn't want it to be all about me.
"It was very much a fever dream for me."
The visitors grabbed a one-point lead. That didn't changed over the final 10:49, giving Wyoming its 50th win over its most-hated nemesis.
The Bronze Boot, for the 10th time in 14 years, was heading north on Highway 287.
There are other reasons, though, that pitch-and-catch was so special.
For Clemons, it was his first career touchdown pass, validation for leaving the University of Utah as a walk-on safety and taking a chance on himself in Laramie. His postgame tears proved that.
That was also Brown's first score since arriving on campus back in 2019. He was a three-star prospect from the Greater Houston Area. Air Force, Southern Miss and Tulane, along with a number of Ivy League schools, wanted his services.
He chose Wyoming.
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With his length and trademark speed came lofty expectations. Admittedly, those have yet to be reached.
No one is more aware of that fact than Brown. Throughout parts of four seasons, he has snagged just nine catches for 102 yards.
"I mean, it sucks," he said bluntly. "You go back home and people are like 'what's going on?' You've got to just learn to let it roll off, but it sucks.
"I know I can do more than that."
So do his coaches.
"I think it's his time," wide receivers coach Mike Grant said. "You know, he's done a really good job, and I think bowl prep and the CSU game gave him some life ... I've told him, you've been here long enough now that you can't be the same person. I think he's taking it to heart. He has all the physical tools, it's just a matter of putting them together."
"Alex is the fastest player on our team," UW head coach Craig Bohl added. "(We need) not only for him to be able to stretch the field, but when he stretches the field, make a big play like he did against CSU."
That's what awaits Brown this fall. He says the confidence is there. It always was. That hasn't always been the case, though, with this coaching staff, he said, forcing not only Brown to take a cold, hard look in the mirror, but the wide receivers' room as a whole.
Cowboy quarterbacks attempted 304 passes in 2022. Just 156 of those connected. Wyoming, once again, featured one of the nation's worst passing attacks, averaging just 132.2 yards an outing through the air.
"I think it's more about trust with us," Brown admitted. "I think we have to show to our coaching staff that we can do it consistently and instill that confidence so they can call those plays. I think that's what it really comes down to. Coach Bohl is seeing us overthrow hitches in practice and overthrow deep balls. It's probably not helping him tell coach (Tim) Polasek, 'Hey, throw the ball.'
"You can't blame it on play calling if we don't execute the ones that get called. So, I think that was another big step for us, as an offense, this offseason."
Brown joked that he is one of the "old heads" on the roster now. This will be Year No. 5 on the high plains. He's still trying to wrap his head around that. The aches and pains that come with running nearly 3,000 yards a day in practice, he said, helps remind him.
Still, the former standout at Klein Collins High School said he has consistently been clocked at 20 miles per hour this summer. That's with pads.
This team needs that electricity to translate to Saturday's.
"I think this will be a big year for me," Brown said. "I think I'm ready for it."
University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players
- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players