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2017 Fierce 40 Previews: #39 Wyoming

by DJ Boyer on Jul. 4, 2017

#39 Wyoming Cowboys

2016 Recap:
It was a wildly successful year for the Cowboys as their 8-6 record was not tarnished by ending the campaign with three consecutive losses. Wyoming dropped a thrilling 24-21 game against BYU in the Poinsettia Bowl and the three lossess were by a total of 7 points.


Coaching:
After taking his lumps early, coach Criag Bohl used this campaign to possible save his job. Bohl entered last season with a record of 6-18 in his first two years at the school. Without the turnaround season we might be talking about a new coach at the helm right now.


Offense

Life in the NFL is all about the quarterback a team has under center, the reason Wyoming is ranked in this Preseason countdown is all about the player under center. Josh Allen if he declares early is a 1st round prospect and someone who has franchise quarterback ability. Allen is not there just yet but he is showing the type of game and tools that teams at the NFL level are looking for. Allen threw for 3,203 yards with 28 touchdowns while adding another 523 yards on the ground and 7 touchdowns. At 6'4" and over 230 pounds, Allen has an ideal NFL build and speed to go with it. Allen is quite talented but he can't do it alone and he will lose a number of weapons from last season. Allen loses his top three receivers from last year so 142-2455-25 will need to be replaced. C.J. Johnson is now a starting receiver and he caught the only 3 returning touchdown passes for the 2017 season. While the passing games has some holes it may be even larger running the football. Brian Hill left school early for the NFL and he was #5 in the nation running the football last season with 1,860 yards and 22 touchdowns. Junior Nico Evans and sophomore Kellen Overstreet will platoon in the starting running back role. The offensive line will return four starters but center Chase Roullier is a huge loss for the Cowboys. Allen can make players around him better and that will need to happen immediately for Wyoming to contend in the Mountain West conference.
 

Best Draft Prospects: Josh Allen QB 1st Round 2018 (Early Declaration Candidate).

                                       Ryan Cummings OT 7h Round 2019.


Defense

Wyoming sees more people back on defense but it was a unit that was far from stellar allowing 34.1 PPG (101st). The biggest problem here was normally you want to see progressions and improvement on defense but the unit seemed to regress as the season went along. In the last 5 games of the year Wyoming gave up 41.8 PPG while the first five Wyoming allowed 150 or 30.0 PPG. Wyoming gave up more plays over 20 yards as a defense than any other Mountain West squad. Defensive end Kevin Prosser was the only player on the defense up front that seemed to get consistant pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Carl Granderson and Conner Cain all return up front and all are still underclassmen. The front four relies on speed and is undersized. Middle linebacker Logan Wilson is back and his 94 tackles as a freshman showed promise for the Cowboys. Andrew Wingard looks like he could leave school early and declare for the NFL. Wingard looks like a solid 2nd round candidate but he could play his way into being a first round prospect if he shows closing speed and can back up his 134 tackle breakout season from 2016.

Best Draft Prospects: Andrew WingardS 2nd Round 2018(Early Declaration Candidate)                 

                                       Logan Wilson ILB FA 2019.


Special Teams:

Cooper Rothe made 13 field goals as a freshman last year although he doesn't have the strongest leg. Wyoming needs a new punter as Ethan Wood has graduated and freshman Tom Zaleski seems to have the inside track on the job. What really hurt Wyoming last season was special teams coverage. Wyoming was near the bottom in all of FBS football last season when it came to kickoff coverage, big plays have to stop thwarting the Cowboys.


Schedule:

As we pointed out, #40 Iowa is first on the schedule and this is a road game. This is interesting as we will see a pair of teams with very different offensive philosophies squaring off. Iowa is worlds ahead of Wyoming on defense so Allen needs to be precise and efficiant. After the opener Wyoing spends the rest of Septemeber at home. Conference foes Boise State, Air Force and San Jose State are all road contests so Wyoming needs to rack up the early victories.


Draft and Overall Outlook:

This looks to be more about individual talent than a unit as Josh Allen and Andrew Wingard are both underclassmen who could declare this season and could both find themselves gone in the openeing round. The outlook will be very bright if the defense is able to get off the field and allow the offense the opportunity to play with the lead.

DJ Boyer