Today we begin reviewing the 2016 Cowboy football season with a series of positional breakdowns starting with the quarterbacks. The quarterback position was definitely one of strength for Wyoming in 2016. Here is a review of how play at the position was with Josh Allen under center in his first season as a starter.
Josh Allen took the Mountain West and to a lesser extent the nation by storm. He finished the season with 3,193 passing yards and 28 touchdowns. That ranked him second in the Mountain West in passing yards and first in passing touchdowns. He also added 523 rushing yards and seven touchdowns to his stat line and ranked second in the Mountain West in total yards per game with 266.1.
There were two significant highs for Allen this season. First his health, Allen took every snap for the Cowboys this season. In the chart above you can see only two other players attempted a pass this season. Austin Conway on a trick play and Nick Szpor on a muffed field goal attempt in the Poinsettia Bowl. His ability to stay healthy was a key factor in this eight-win season. After breaking his collarbone in his only game as the Wyoming starter in 2015. Secondly, was his ability to make plays with both with his arm and feet. This is what separates Josh Allen from other quarterbacks and we have not seen this in Laramie since Brett Smith’s departure. What makes him different from Brett Smith is he is doing this with NFL arm strength and size.
Josh Allen had an all-around great season and these “lows” are being somewhat picky. The QB from California is very much in the gunslinger mold and sometimes that mentality backfires. Allen lead the Mountain West with 15 interceptions and he will have to show a little more restraint going forward. Taking what the defense gives him will cut down on his interceptions and increase his completion percentage (which was only 56% this season). This will allow him to become an even better QB for Wyoming in 2017 while increasing his profile as a professional QB prospect.
Allen will be back as a junior for the 2017 season unless he declares for the NFL draft. The deadline to declare is January 16th and there is some buzz that he could declare. A few mock drafts project him to go in the first round being as high as a top three pick. If he returns, Allen is 100% the established starter on this team. There will be plenty of competition for the backup position throughout the spring, summer and fall camp. With Chandler Garret transferring that leaves Nick Smith as the only scholarship quarterback until current commit in California prep product Tyler Vander Waal officially joins the program on signing day this February.