5 Things I Think is back after a week off and I definitely have some thoughts. The Pokes are currently 1-2 and followed up their disappointing loss to Washington State with a loss to Missouri. The Cowboys were just simply overpowered by Missouri and really didn’t stand a chance from the get-go. The good news is that they get to come home to Laramie and host Wofford College, who is the 7th ranked FCS football team. The Cowboys need to get their season on track ASAP because conference play is right around the corner.
- The defensive line has to step up their play.
The biggest disappointment these last two weeks isn’t as much the result, but the way Wyoming has played, particularly the defensive line. This group had a dominant performance in week 1 at New Mexico State where they had 4 sacks and relentless pressure. Since that game, they have produced zero sacks and gotten very little pressure on the QB. I understand that the opponents have been bigger and better but this line was supposed to be able to go up against anyone. They gave Washington State all day to throw the football and if they could’ve made a couple plays on some third downs they may have been able to provide the difference in the game and maybe walk away with a win. In order for the defense to produce at the level the Cowboys need and expect them to, the d-line has to lead the way. This is a great week for them to get their swagger bag. Wofford is an FCS opponent that loves to run the football first. If the line can stuff the run and play disciplined football, they should be able to get after the quarterback on 3rd and long passing situations.
- The offense is predictable and boring.
I am not breaking news with this thought. Offensive coordinator Brent Vigen has always been plain, in my opinion. This offensive group is not good enough to win football games with unoriginal and boring play calls. They need to mix it up and get the defense on their heels. 2 runs for no gain and forcing Tyler Vander Waal to make plays on obvious passing downs is not going to get it done. Something needs to change in the play calling or I think it might be time for Craig Bohl to go shopping for a new offensive coordinator or at least bring in someone to help with the play calling. If a defense knows that the play call every series is run, run, pass it becomes a lot easier to defend. Josh Allen isn’t back their to bail out this offense and/or Brent Vigen, there needs to be a change.
- Tyler Vander Waal can be a good quarterback, but he needs better protection.
I am not down on Tyler Vander Waal at all. I really do think he has the ability and talent to be a good quarterback. He doesn’t look like the moment is too big for him and he should only get better but he needs help. As I noted above, the play calling has not been in his favor, he has had to play the last 5 quarters without his top running back, and he hasn’t had TE Austin Fort since the first game of the year. It goes without being said that the Cowboys need Nico Evans back as soon as possible and based on the NMSU game, Austin Fort was going to be a big part of this offense. Lots going against a freshman quarterback that had to face a PAC 12 and SEC opponent in 2 of his first 3 starts.
The biggest issue I see is the pass protection, Vander Waal has not had a lot of time to throw the ball downfield. The protection has to be better going forward. The line needs to block better and the play calling can’t be so predictable. If the Cowboys only throw on obvious passing downs, it gets harder to protect TVW.
- The defense isn’t causing enough turnovers.
Last year the Cowboys defense led the country in turnovers. I don’t think it would’ve been fair to expect turnovers at the same rate but they have only caused 3 in the first 3 games. The unfortunate reality is that if the defense isn’t producing more turnovers the Cowboys can’t win as many games. This defensive unit is too good not to produce more. The turnovers made the difference last year, it took a ton of pressure off of the offense. This all goes back to the defensive line, though. The more pressure and production they bring will allow the guys behind them to make plays.
- The Cowboys have a chance to hit the reset button on their season.
This season is not lost. Most people probably had the Cowboys at 1-2 at this point in their season. I think the disappointment is how they lost and that it felt like they really could have won the Washington State game.
This week is a chance to hit the reset button and turn it around. They play an FCS opponent at home, then they get what will be a much-needed bye week before hosting Boise State to kick off Mountain West play. If the Cowboys win this week the way they should, the Boise game should show us what kind of team The Pokes have in Laramie. Do not panic yet Cowboy fans, let’s see where they are at the end of September.
Let me know what you think in the comments below or on Twitter @Cdub13