Wyoming Cowboys Football Is a Team Effort

Tracy Ringolsby

Wyoming's football team is earning respect -- as a team.

Oh, there are a few players who are singled out for being among the Mountain West elite, but based on the projections of various websites and the ranking of players, it's apparent the approach that coach Craig Bohl and the Cowboys take is more about the team than the individual.

Consider Athlon magazine's All-Mountain West Pre-Season teams.

Athlon had Wyoming running back Xazavian Valladay, whose 2019 rushing total is the 10th highest of any returning Division 1 player, and center Keegan Cryder on the first team, and nobody else.

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Now, Wyoming did have seven other players on the second, third and fourth teams, but lineman Logan Harris, a second-team selection, was the only other offensive player recognized by Athlon.

Meanwhile, on defense, linemen Garrett Crall and Solomon Byrd, and linebacker Chad Muma were second team; defensive lineman Ravontae Holt, and safety Keyon Blankenbaker were third team, and safety Rome Webber was fourth team.

Bohl, meanwhile, was ranked the third best coach in the conference, behind Bryan Harsin of Boise State, and Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun.

And it is complimentary to Bohl.

Bohl’s overall record at Wyoming sits at 36-40 entering 2020, but that’s not a good indicator of just how effective he’s been since taking over in ’14. After a 6-18 start to his tenure, Bohl has posted four non-losing seasons in a row and is 19-13 in Mountain West play in that span. Additionally, the Cowboys have played in three bowl games over the last four years and claimed the 2016 Mountain Division title under Bohl’s direction. Prior to his arrival at Wyoming, Bohl guided North Dakota State to a 104-32 mark from 2003-13. The Bison won three consecutive FCS titles (2011-13) and lost only two games in that three-year window. Wyoming isn’t an easy job, but Bohl continues to get the most of this program. -- Athlon 2020 MW preview

After Harsin, Calhoun and Bohl, Athlon ranks (4) Gary Anderson, Utah State; (5) Todd Graham, Hawaii; (6) Brady Hoke, San Diego State; (7) Jay Norvel, Nevada; (8) Brent Brennan, San Jose State; (9) Kalen De Boer, Fresno State; (10) Steve Addazio, Colorado State; (11) Danny Gonzalez, New Mexico, and (12) Marcus Arroyo, UNLV, the original Wyoming offensive coordinator under former head coach Dave Christensen.

Just the same, most preseason predictions have the Cowboys finishing second in the Mountain West Mountain Division, behind Boise State, which is a tribute to the team approach of Wyoming.

The Cowboys had a total of nine players on the Athlon preseason teams, tied sixth among the 12 MW football schools. Boise, meanwhile, had 17, followed by Hawaii with 11, and San Diego State, Colorado State and Nevada with 10 apiece.

Reader Doug Friesen points out, it is worth noting that Air Force does seem to benefit from the solid financial backing of the federal government, which takes away the urgency to schedule Power 5 schools.

Consider that since 2010, Wyoming has played 13 Power 5 Schools -- four at home and nine on the road on the road. Ar Force, meanwhile, has played seven -- one at home and six on the road.

And in terms of future schedules, Wyoming has nine Power 5 schools on its schedule (three at home and six on the road) while Calhoun has reduced the challenge for Air Force to three Power 5 schools in the coming decade (one at home and two on the road).

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IdaW

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