Preview 2009 - Offense
2009 CFN Wyoming Preview |
What you need to know:
After finishing last season with the nation’s worst scoring
offense, averaging just 12.67 points per game, and finishing 108th
in the nation in yards, any improvement to the attack will be
welcome. In comes the no-huddle spread attack that will try to
quicken up the pace and keep defenses on their toes. On the plus
side, the line should be solid thanks to tackles Ryan Otterson
and Clayton Kirven, while there’s speed in the backfield (but
almost no experience). The problem is the passing game with five
prospects to fight it out this summer for the starting
quarterback job. Longtime Cowboy Karsten Sween has the inside
track, but he’ll have to work even harder and be even more
consistent to secure the job. The receivers aren’t bad, but they
need to be able to hold on to the ball and they have to make
plays whenever they get a chance. Greg Bolling leads the
promising group that should benefit in a big way from the change
in coaching staffs.
2009 Wyoming Depth
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2007 UW Preview |
Passing: Dax Crum
53-101, 429 yds, 2 TD, 6 INT
Brandon Stewart (WR)
16 carries, 78 yds
26 catches, 271 yds, 2 TD
It’s been an interesting ride for senior Karsten Sween.
He was the rising star of the program after a good freshman
season, showing just enough to get everyone excited, and then
came the issues with interceptions and inconsistency. The 6-2,
229-pounder has decent size and a nice arm, but he lost his job
going into last year and only completed 34-of-70 passes for 304
yards with no touchdowns and six interceptions. Picks have been
a problem throughout his career with 31 thrown to only 21
touchdown passes, but he took to the new no-huddle offense
and was surprisingly sharp. Now he’ll have to be consistent to
hold on to the job this fall.
Everyone might be keeping the seat warm until
arrives. The 6-2, 205-pound junior comes in from Phoenix C.C.
where he was the NJCAA Player of the Year after throwing for
2,391 yards and 25 touchdowns with five interceptions, while
running for 468 yards. He’s a dual-threat playmaker who can run
better than any of the current quarterback prospects and can
throw the deep ball, but he has to work on his accuracy.
It was a strange year for junior
Dax Crum after coming
in as a hot-shot JUCO transfer. The 6-4, 206-pounder was the
main man early on, but he only completed 53-of-101 passes for
429 yards with two touchdowns, both in the first game, with six
interceptions. He has a live arm and the passing résumé from his
time at Mesa C.C., but he barely got on the field over the last
seven games of the year, was suspended by the new coaching staff
this spring, and will have to battle to have any shot of the No.
Adam Barry is a
decent prospect with good mobility and high upside. While he’s
only 6-1 and 210 pounds, he’s a good leader with the ability to
run the no-huddle as well as see time as a drop-back passer. At
the moment, he’s strictly an emergency policy and won’t be in
the first for the starting job for at least a year.
the way is Austyn Carta-Samuels,
a 6-2, 210-pound true freshman who does a little of everything
well. While he won’t be the team’s best passer, he has the best
combination of skills with good speed, a nose for the goal line,
and a live arm.
Watch Out For ... the
newcomers. Sween might be a different quarterback coming into
this year, but Benjamin and Carta-Samuels might end up fitting
the offense better.
Strength: Options. The
coaching staff wants there to be plenty of battles and lots of
competition for the top jobs, and it has it at quarterback.
There will be five different prospects each getting a chance to
show off, but the problem might be job security. There could be
a quick hook if the play is as bad as last year.
Weakness: Talent. The quarterback play was awful last
season with everyone combining to complete just 52% of the
passes for 1,412 yards and eight touchdowns with 17
interceptions. The new guys will up the talent level, but it’s
asking a lot to switch to new offense and shine right away.
Outlook: After Chris Stutzriem quit the team with
the coaching change, the passing game was down to the same two
options, Dax Crum and Karsten Sween, who struggled so much in
one of the nation’s least-efficient attacks. The no-huddle will
require quick decision making skills, putting Sween at an
advantage for the starting spot, but it’s going to be a major
battle this fall with five options pushing for the gig.
5-11, 209-pound junior
Darius Terry was an afterthought in a crowded backfield,
running just 16 times for 43 yards, but he showed this offseason
that he’s ready to become the main man.
A superstar high school sprinter, he has the wheels to be
a major playmaker both for the running game and as a receiver,
and he’ll even be used under center from time to time in a
Wildcat formation. He’s the team’s best offensive weapon and he
should be a breakthrough star.
James Davis has the explosiveness and the quickness to become a
factor right away. A scooter at 5-9 and 186 pounds, he’s not
going to provide the inside power that Darius Terry will, but he
can be used in a variety of ways and could develop into a third
down back and a specialist.
5-11, 182-pound redshirt
freshman James Caraway
is one of the team’s fastest players and can be used as a
receiver or a running back. With 4.38 speed, he’s a home run
hitter waiting to happen, however, he’s not going to barrel over
anyone and will likely make his biggest impact if he gets a
chance to return kicks. If he’s buried on the depth chart, he
could move out to wide receiver as a field stretcher.
Watch Out For ... Terry to be the offense. He took to
the role this offseason as the new leader and the one the attack
can count on for a little bit of everything. While he could be
the Mountain West’s breakout performer as a running back, he’ll
get on the highlight reel when he’s under center.
Strength: Quickness. If nothing else, these guys can
really move. Terry and Davis can fly through a hole and don’t
need much space before they break off big runs, while Caraway
has next-level wheels.
Weakness: Devin Moore
and Wynel Seldon. The program relied on these two backs to carry
the load over the last several years. While there are good
prospect waiting to shine, it won’t be easy to instantly replace
two runners who combined for close to 2,000 yards and nine
touchdowns last season.
Outlook: The ground
game won’t be as strong as last year when it averaged 178 yards
per game and carried the team when nothing else worked, but
it’ll be effective. There should be more room to run in the new
offense with Darius Terry, James Davis, and James Caraway all
looking to play big roles.
For what little passing game there was,
Greg Bolling was the key target. The 6-2, 180-pound senior was a
question mark early on with academic issues, but he was able to
play in every game and led the team with 26 catches for 271
yards and two touchdowns. He didn’t have a breakout game, with a
four-catch, 69-yard day against BYU his best performance, but he
has the speed and the explosiveness to do far more. No one on
the team will benefit more from the change in offensive schemes
as now he’ll get to use his ability at the outside X position
once he returns from a dislocated shoulder.
the inside H position will once again be 5-11, 193-pound
sophomore Brandon Stewart,
who was fifth on the team with 13 catches for 251 yards and a
score. After missing the first half of the season with a
shoulder injury, he came back to be the team’s best receiver
over the final seven games highlighted by a three-catch,
132-yard day against San Diego State with a 69-yard touchdown.
The former Indiana high school star is a phenomenal athlete who
should grow into a dangerous weapon if he can consistently get
the ball on the move.
At 6-4 and 197 pounds, junior
David Leonard brings
more size to the mix after being used mostly as a punt returner.
He finished third on the team with 16 catches for 187 yards but
he didn’t get into the end zone after starting out the year
slowly due to a hernia problem. He has just enough speed to work
on the outside starting at the Z, and with his skills he has the
potential to be a dangerous threat in the red zone.
of the keys to the new offense will be the work of the tight
end, or the Y position/H-Back, meaning
Jesson Salyards will
see more work. The 6-5, 235-pound senior was second on the team
with 21 catches for 225 yards and a touchdown, and he’s not a
bad blocker. He’s a physical player who can be more than just a
safety valve; he’ll stretch the field a little bit as well as be
a tough fighter for the short to midrange passes.
Reserves: Finding depth will be one of the keys to the
receiving corps meaning there’s a big need for
Donate Morgan to become a factor. The former transfer from St.
Joseph’s in Indiana is a good deep threat, but he only caught 11
passes for 95 yards and a touchdown last year. The 5-11,
185-pound senior will work at the outside X position behind Greg
Looking to use his size on the inside to become
a factor in the attack will be
Kaither Holiway, a
6-3, 210-pound sophomore who’ll be a much bigger option at the H
behind Brandon Stewart. He doesn’t have the speed or quickness,
but he’s a matchup problem.
If Wyoming ever uses a
fullback it’ll be senior
Greg Genho who gets the call. The 6-3, 240-pounder doesn’t exactly
fit the team’s role as an H-Back, but he caught six passes for
24 yards and a touchdown and ran four times for eight yards. A
good blocker, he could be used in a few different ways if the
coaching staff ever wants to play around with the formation.
senior Orlando Arnold
signed on last season from Contra Costa C.C. with 4.7 speed and
excellent hands and athleticism. That translated into no catches
and little time in just six games of work. He has too many
skills to not be a part of the offense working behind Jesson
Salyards at the Y.
Watch Out For ...
Bolling to blow up. He hasn’t had a quarterback to throw to him
and there have been a variety of other issues, but he’s the
speedster who could be in for a huge season if the passing game
works the way it’s supposed to.
new offense. It’s not that Wyoming didn’t try to throw the ball
last year; it’s that it couldn’t do it. The quarterbacks were
lousy, the scheme didn’t really work, and the passing game was
among the worst in America. The receivers will have more room to
Weakness: Drops. This was a huge
problem at times during spring ball and it’ll have to be
corrected in a big hurry. One of the big keys to the offense is
being able to come up with yards after the catch, and that could
be a problem if there isn’t more consistency when it comes to
simply making the grab.
Outlook: Was it the
chicken or the egg? Did the passing game stink because the
receivers made the quarterbacks bad, or vice versa? It’s not
like the receiving corps blew the doors off of anyone, but there
are some decent prospects to get excited about, like Brandon
Stewart and David Leonard, to go along with the pop of Greg
Bolling. The big key will be the play of Jesson Salyards and the
tight ends considering they’ll get plenty of work thrown their
Returning to his familiar spot at left tackle will be
Ryan Otterson, a 6-5,
275-pound senior who has been the team’s best pass blocker and a
steady producer starting 24 games in a row. He improved by leaps
and bounds after struggling as a sophomore, but with his
athleticism and his decent power for the running game, he has
the potential to become an all-star and the anchor of the line.
Back on the other side will once again be
Clayton Kirvin after
starting 11 games. While he’s not the athlete that Otterson is,
he’s decent on the move for a 6-6, 310-pounder. The sophomore
was excellent for the running game and stunned the former
coaching staff by being consistent and far more mature as a
blocker than his experience might have indicated. Considered the
top high school prospect out of Wyoming two years ago, he hit
the weights hard and could grow into the total package with a
Working next to Otterson on the left side
will be Sam Sterner, a 6-4, 302-pound junior who started every game over the
last two seasons and has been the team’s best run blocker. He’s
a smart player who’s still improving and still growing into his
job, and now, with his combination of size and athleticism, he
could be an All-Mountain West performer.
Able to play
guard or center, 6-4, 289-pound senior
Russ Arnold is one of the team’s most versatile blockers with
starting experience at two spots. More of a right guard than a
center, he’ll start out in the middle as the quarterback of the
line. He might not be the team’s best blocker, but he’s fine
when flanked by dominant road graters.
Way undersized at
just 6-4 and 235 pounds,
Nick Carlson will be an ultra-athletic right guard who’ll be
used for his quickness and ability to get on the move. He
originally signed on to the program as a grayshirt and is just
now becoming a part of the team. While he doesn’t have the beef,
he’s versatile enough to play anywhere on the line, including
center, and could grow into an interesting all-around blocker.
Projected Top Reserves: Decent enough to
fill in at either guard spot is
Zack Kennedy, a 6-6,
323-pounds senior who doesn’t necessarily fit the new offense,
but can plow over defenders for the running game. He has a
little bit of starting experience and should see time in the
rotation on the left side.
Considering the lack of size at right guard with 235-pound
Nick Carlson getting the call, 6-4, 305-pound junior
Jack Tennant might
end up playing a big role in the rotation. He’s not the best
athlete, but he has a little bit of starting experience and can
pound away in the running game.
Watch Out For
... Otterson and Kirven to be all-stars. They didn’t get much in
the way of recognition because the offense stunk so badly, but
the two veterans should be key bookends to help get the new
offense off the ground.
protection. The running game was solid under last year’s line,
and it should be good again even with two starters gone, but the
key will be the pass protection. That’s not a problem after
allowing just 18 sacks last season and with Otterson and Kirven
almost certain to be even better.
Veteran depth. This has been a problem for the last few years
and it’s an even bigger issue this season. Trying to round out
the starting five this season will be enough of a chore without
trying to figure out who the key backups are going to be.
Outlook: The line was the one area on the offense
that worked well last season and it should be solid again.
Tackles Ryan Otterson and Clayton Kirven, along with guard Sam
Sterner, are great building blocks to work around, while Russ
Arnold is a decent veteran to rely on at center. Depth is a
major issue, but as long as the starting five can stay healthy
for half the season to give the backups time to develop,
everything should be fine.
2009 CFN Wyoming Preview |
2009 Wyoming Depth
2008 UW Preview |
2007 UW Preview |