The 2017 college football season is now just weeks away. You have questions and we might have some (good) answers. Let’s open up the WyoNation mailbag in preparation for the Cowboy football season which is sure to excite us all.
LanderPoke – WyoNation Forum
Are we going to see any true freshmen contributors this season?
In a perfect world Coach Bohl would like to redshirt the entire incoming freshmen class to get them a year to get bigger, faster and stronger. This isn’t a perfect world though and due to depth, injuries and players being good enough to contribute right away we will see some true freshman contribute this season. The first one of note is punter Tim Zaleski who is the only scholarship punter on the team and has kicked the ball as far as 60 yards in practice. Others to keep your eyes on for the final fall camp depth chart based on comments from Bohl and practice reports include: OL Logan Harris, OL Patrick Arnold, LB Gatoloai-Faupula, DT Ravontae Holt, WR Avante’ Cox, WR Jared Scott and CB C.J. Coldon.
pokefanchaz7 – WyoNation Forum
What is Wyoming’s glaring weaknesses going into the season?
The answer to this question is quite clear to me and that would be the rush defense. It has been an issue for some time now and Wyoming has allowed over 200 rushing yards per game in each of the past SIX SEASONS. Last season’s number was 203 yards per game ranking the Pokes 7th in the MW. With some improved defensive line play and the return of Carl Granderson Wyoming can improve on this in 2017. The linebacker group has been picked on in years past but no linebacker can be successful stopping the run when the opponents offensive line is reaching the second level. For Wyoming to take the step forward they want on defense they will have to greatly improve the rush defense.
With some improved defensive line play, and the return of Carl Granderson, Wyoming can improve on this in 2017. The linebacker group has been picked on in years past but no linebacker can be successful stopping the run when the opponents offensive line is reaching the second level. For Wyoming to take the step forward they want on defense they will have to greatly improve the rush defense.
WestWYOPoke – WyoNation Forum
Who will be this year’s surprise contributor? Someone off of most people’s radar that will be a Poke-household name come December.
This is a great question and for simplicity sake, I am not going to consider any of the freshmen that were mentioned in the question kicking off the mail bag. I will put my focus on a player who was on last season’s roster but ready to take a step forward. When I look at the possible names, there is one player that jumps off the page. That player? Linebacker Jalen Ortiz.
Ortiz a 3-star recruit out of high school, joined the Wyoming football program in 2015 after playing in 13 games in two seasons at UCLA. He sat out the 2015 season under NCAA transfer rules but appeared in 14 games last season as a reserve defensive back for the Pokes. This winter he was moved to the LB/Nickel role held by D.J. May last season and over the course of the spring and summer has made that position his own. I’m expecting Ortiz to take a big step forward this season and to become a playmaker on the Wyoming defense this fall.
Any news on a new Director of Player Performance? Odd time for a resignation.
— Kyle (@kyleatkinson13) August 11, 2017
The University announced the resignation of Russell Dennison on July 11th as the Director of Sports Performance and news on a replacement has been quiet ever since. It is an odd time for a resignation and with that in mind, I wouldn’t look for a full-time replacement to be named until after the football season. We are way too late into the summer to find a quality replacement and odds are a new strength coach will have to be found in late 2017 or early 2018.
NebraskaCowboy – WyoNation Forum
The more winnable game in your opinion: Iowa or Oregon?
The more winnable game would be the matchup versus the Oregon Ducks. Iowa is a solid football team and I’m not sure if the Cowboys can physically match the Hawkeyes on the road in Iowa, City. Iowa will be breaking in a new QB and we are sure to see plenty of the run game. It is also the first game of the season and I think that Josh Allen will need a few games under his belt before he clicks with a mostly new receiving corps.
Oregon though is at home and the Ducks have a new head coach (Willie Taggart) and may very well be searching for a new identity. The Cowboys know their identity and behind a big crowd at the War they have a chance to get a win versus a Power-5 school. Under the right circumstances, either game is winnable but I like the Cowboys chances better in Laramie versus Oregon coming off a 4-8 season.
Stymeman – WyoNation Forum
Does Josh Allen truly have a Heisman candidate chance or will the East Coast bias keep him out?
The Josh Allen hype train is real and Laramie has been visited by every major TV network and newspaper this past spring and summer. These media types want to get a closer look at the QB that is creating the most buzz in the NFL scouting community. While that media generated buzz is real it would have to go maglev hype train levels for Allen to get anywhere near the Heisman Trophy.
Allen would have to lead the Pokes to a one or zero loss season with the Cowboys winning the MW making a trip to the Fiesta Bowl. This would require him to improve his completion percentage and put up monster numbers with an almost entirely new set of receivers as well as the pressure of not having the Cowboys all-time leading rusher to hand the ball off to.
The east coast bias won’t keep Allen away from being a legitimate a Heisman candidate. The probabilities of Wyoming not having their best season since 1996 or 1998 will. Don’t get me wrong I think Allen will have a fine season but the Heisman Trophy for a player at Wyoming is a bridge too far.
That’s all for the first installment of the WyoNation Mailbag for this season. Thanks for the great questions that were sent in, sorry we could not answer them all. To put in your question for the next edition keep an eye on the WyoNation Forum or send in a question on Twitter with #WyoNationMail.