The Wyoming Cowboys offense enters year three of the West Coast system under Head Coach Craig Bohl. In the first two seasons under the former NDSU man Wyoming has found little scoring success only averaging 21.1 and 19.0 points per game. In 2015 the Pokes put up great individual numbers and at one point in the season before Cam Coffman’s injury Wyoming had players in the top three in passing, rushing and receiving in the Mountain West Conference. Individual stats are good but for Wyoming to put more points on the scoreboard (and more W’s in the left column) in 2016 the offense has to be all about increasing their efficiency.
Third Down Conversions
Wyoming converted just 33.3% (52 of 156) of their third down chances in 2015. This ranked them 11th in the MW (only ahead of Hawaii) and 114th out of 128 NCAA FBS teams nationally. The big problem for the Pokes is they faced third and ten or longer 44 times which accounted for a whopping 28% of their total third down situations.
To improve in 2016 Wyoming must do better on third down and raise their average to a respectable 40% which would put them about 6th in the conference and 60th nationally. With Josh Allen being a mobile quarterback who can extend plays with his feet and gain yards in situations when the play breaks down, it is possible the Cowboys can reach this improved benchmark.
Red Zone Scoring Efficiency
If you followed the Pokes at all last season you know they had a very tough time converting red zone opportunities into points. Turnovers, sacks and the complete lack of a kicking game (only 2 field goals made out of 8) all contributed to this problem. Wyoming was last in the Mountain West and last in the country in red zone conversions only scoring 61% of the time. Those totals include 24 scored out of 39 red zone attempts with 22 TD’s and 2 FG’s. Having a competent kicker (hopefully) in freshman Cooper Rothe should improve this number drastically which could see Wyoming improve this number to 75% or more.
Yards Per Rush
This may sound crazy but Wyoming actually needs to be more efficient in the running game. Brian Hill had a great season racking up 1,631 rushing yards for 5.8 yards a carry but as a team Wyoming ranked 10th in the MW in both rushing yards and yards per carry. An improved offensive line and the return of back-up running back senior Shaun Wick who missed most of last year with a concussion should help Wyoming in this area. Wick has ran for 2,191 yards with 5.1 yards per carry in his career. This should help take pressure and carries away from Brian Hill keeping him fresher throughout the season.
The Pokes haven’t been as run heavy as people think, in the first two years under Bohl Wyoming has ranked 10th and 1th in the MW in rushing attempts. This is partially to do with the fact that Wyoming has often trailed in their games and have needed to pass more often to play catch-up on the scoreboard. To play the style Bohl truly wants to play Wyoming must increase their rushing attempts and yards per carry to help protect the young and hopefully improving defense.