January 2, 2013
Early Outlook For 2013
UW head coach Dave Christensen's staff is finishing up on their 2013 recruiting class and focusing on improving on the Pokes disappointing 4-8 finish and looking for ways to get the program to the next level for 2013.
Wyoming was an handful of plays from becoming bowl eligible and having the reverse record, proven by a one point loss to Air Force, three point defeat to Toledo, the overtime loss at Nevada and an upset at the hands of Cal Poly.
UW quarterback Brett Smith missed crucial parts of the Toledo and Nevada games, and didn't play against Air Force or Cal Poly and the assumption here is the Cowboys win most or all those lost games with him fully in the lineup.
Christensen's team is not far away from turning the tables next season with some fine tuning and having a chance to compete at a high level in the Mountain West Conference.
GoWyoGo.com has a post season analysis entering the offseason before any more additions and possible attrition.
The Good News
The Cowboys will return dynamic quarterback Brett Smith, plus a lot of experience at wide receiver and running back.
Big play threat WR Robert Herron, Dominic Rufran, Jalen Claiborne, and Trey Norman will be back and should take this position to another level with experience.
The Pokes also have potential in big size outside threats in Trent Sewell and Nico Brown. Both redshirted as freshmen and could have played this season and will bring 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-4 frames to compliment the returnees on the inside.
At running back, Brandon Miller, DJ May and Shaun Wick gained experience and will be back. The Cowboys could add more competition to this group with recruiting.
The Cowboy offense had it's best season in years and has the makeup to be better in 2013.
The defense returns some talent in defensive ends Eddie Yarbrough, Sonny Puletasi, Justin Bernthaler, and defensive tackle Patrick Mertens.
The Cowboys should get linebacker Devyn Harris back after he missed this season with injury and have promising MLB Siaosi Hala'api'api back in the middle. Zack Berg is expected to make more of an impact as a sophomore with experienced Alex Borgs in the mix and Todd Knight.
The UW Staff signed two Juco linebackers expected to make an immediate impact in Malkaam Muhammad and Jordan Stanton to offset the losses of productive linebackers Ghaali Muhammad and Korey Jones.
The secondary returns three experienced cornerbacks in Blair Burns, Quest Huff, and DeAndre Jones, and safeties Mark Nzeocha, Chad Reese, Darrenn White, and Andrew Meredith and could get all-conference candidate Luke Ruff back with a medical redshirt.
Wyoming added Juco safety Jesse Sampson in the signing period and has two transfers from last year in Cortland Fort and BJ Hendrix waiting in the wings.
The Cowboys kicking game should be good hands with strong legged punter Tim Gleeson returning and competition at kicker with Stuart Williams with an added year under his belt and the possibility of adding another kicker to the program.
Redshirt kicker Daniel Sullivan's status remains up in the air due to a medical condition.
The Question Marks
The Cowboy defense had a tough year stopping the opposition under first year coordinator Chris Tormey. This area will need to improve measurably heading into next year and will surely be a focal point for Christensen in the offseason.
The Pokes lose experience in the interior with Mike Purcell, Kurt Taufa'asau, and BJ Sumter and will look for promising redshirt freshmen Uso Olive, Sam Hardy, and Chase Appleby to come into their own quickly.
The Cowboys could add help with recruiting and hope to sign an impact player or two at the position. Cowboy commitments and Colorado high school products James Diamanti and Dalton Fields could get looks for early playing time.
Two of the best contributors on defense are gone in linebackers Muhammad and Jones, and will need players to replace them, in addition, to the challenge ahead improving the overall defense.
Wyoming will lose three experienced starters on the offensive line in center Nick Carlson, tackles Josh Leonard and Kyle Magnuson but have potential with tackles Connor Rains and Walker Madden who evidentally have more size and athleticism.
The Cowboys have a handful of redshirt freshmen and sophomores that have a chance to play next season and lend more potential to the position.
Wyoming still has ten scholarships available, plus a lot can happen with roster changes over the next several months. At this point, strengths look to be at quarterback and wide receiver with improvements needed on defense.
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