The Cowboys are back for 2019 and so are the 5 things I think. The Pokes enter 2019 having won their last 4 games to finish last season at an even 6-6 but didn’t get picked for a bowl game. They have some question marks as the season begins and we should get some answers on Saturday when the Cowboys host Missouri. Missouri finished 2018 8-5 and lost to Oklahoma State in the Liberty Bowl. They return a lot of talent present a heck of a challenge for the Pokes. Here is what I think as we gear up for a new season…
- The Cowboys will be a better football team in 2019 than 2018.
Last season started incredibly tough for the Cowboys. After they opened their season with a win, they went on to only win 1 of their next 7 games. The Cowboys’ quarterback situation was not stable, and the offense really struggled to stay on the field when Nico Evans wasn’t out there. After the slow start, the Pokes made a quarterback change and rallied to win their final 4 games, 3 of which featured QB Sean Chambers before his season ended due to injury.
This year the Cowboys bring back a lot of experience at key positions and Chambers appears to be healthy and ready to roll. As mentioned above, they enter the season with a 4-game winning streak and that should provide some momentum. I like how the Pokes’ schedule is laid out and expect them to start the season 4-1, that kind of start could really catapult a strong season in Laramie. The experience on defense lies at cornerback and linebacker, but they also have seasoned players at other spots like safety Alijah Halliburton and defensive ends Garrett Crall and Josiah Hall. On offense, Sean Chambers has proven to be dynamic and they return starting receivers Austin Conway and Raghib Ismail Jr. I fully expect Xazvian Valladay and Louisville grad transfer, Trey Smith to hold their own in the backfield and of course, the kicking game will be strong with senior kicker Cooper Rothe, who is an All-American candidate.
A lot of people don’t know what to fully expect in the 2019 Cowboys, but one thing I do think is they will be better, and they will go bowling for the 3rd time in 4 years.
- Sean Chambers is Craig Bohl’s next great signal caller.
We all know Craig Bohl’s history with quarterbacks, he found Carson Wentz and Josh Allen. These were 2 guys that seemingly no one else wanted and they both ended up being drafted in the top 10 in a 3 year span. But people often forget he had Brock Jensen while he was at North Dakota State, who spent some time in the NFL and CFL and he recruited former NDSU QB Easton Stick, who was taken in the 5th round in the 2019 draft. Bohl’s eye for quarterbacks and ability to develop them speaks for itself.
I think Chambers will be the next guy on Craig Bohl’s impressive resume. Chambers started 3 and appeared in 4 of the last 5 games last year before his season ended with an injury. He comes in 3-0 as a starter and put up some explosive numbers. He ran for 329 yards on only 59 attempts and 2 scores and threw for 266 yards and 3 touchdowns on just 25 attempts, completing 15 of those attempts. Before Chambers played the Cowboys offense was non existent outside of Nico Evans. Chambers changed everything and brought new life to the Cowboys season.
The redshirt freshman showed he was tough, dynamic and even though it was a small sample size, he showed some nice touch and a strong arm. Bohl has been pretty high on his quarterback, who is listed as 6’3 218 lbs. I think Chambers has some nice weapons around him this year and certainly adds some excitement to the offense. Chambers could have a storybook career by the time he leaves Laramie.
- The strength on defense is going to be at cornerback.
The Cowboys are going to be tough and deep at corner. They return a lot of game experience, as seniors Tyler Hall and Antonio Hull, along with sophomore C.J. Coldon have combined for 79 career games. That kind of experience is crucial while the Cowboys replace two 4-year starters at safety and a couple dynamic pass rushers.
There is another player I am excited about and it seems like no one is really talking about him. He is University of Arizona transfer Azizi Hearn. Hearn, who is listed at 6’1 193, walked on at Arizona appeared in all 12 of the Wildcats’ games, starting their final 3 games as a red shirt freshman last season. He finished the season with 26 tackles and had a scoop and score. Hearn said he left Arizona seeking a scholarship and found one in Laramie. Because he is a non-scholarship transfer, Hearn will be immediately eligible and is currently slotted in at the 2 spot on the depth chart behind Antonio Hull. Hearn should play a big role in the defense given his rare his size and length at the CB spot. I expect the Cowboys to utilize his size and athleticism and move Hearn around to different spots just to get him on the field.
- Logan Wilson will be the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year.
I am shocked every year how underrated Logan Wilson is in the eyes of the Mountain West media. Once again Wilson was left off the preseason all conference team. Wilson’s resume is very impressive, he was the 2016 MWC freshman of the year, a freshman All-American, a 2017 2nd team MW pick and a 2018 honorable mention pick, but it seems like he didn’t get the love he deserved these last 2 seasons.
Wilson, who hails from Casper, has some great numbers. He has started all 39 games he has been in a Cowboy uniform, recording 316 tackles, 26.5 TFL, 6 sacks, 6 int, 3 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries, and has scored 3 touchdowns and he was recently named a captain for the third consecutive year.
Wilson has flown under the radar for a couple reasons, the first is that he is not a flashy player and just goes about his business, but he always finds himself around the ball and making big time plays! The other reason is that he has been playing on defenses that have featured multiple NFL caliber players, such as Andrew Wingard, Marcus Epps and Carl Granderson. This season it is clear that this is Wilson’s team and I think that will only elevate his game and he will finish 2019 with some exclusive hardware.
- This week will be the Cowboys toughest game of the year.
Las Vegas really likes Missouri this weekend and for good reason. There are a lot of unknowns about the Cowboys and Mizzou is big, fast, and loaded at the skill positions on offense. They have an All-American tight end, an all-conference running back, return both starters at receiver and oh yeah, their quarterback is former top recruit and Clemson transfer, Kelly Bryant. The Cowboys have their hands full on Saturday, but I do think this is the most talented team the Pokes will face this season and the timing isn’t great with a lot of guys stepping into new roles.
If Saturday’s final score is ugly, don’t get discouraged because the schedule softens up after this week. I am not saying the Cowboys can’t compete on Saturday, but there is a chance the game could get away from them if they start poorly. Chances are we won’t really know what kind of team the Cowboys are in 2019 until the end of September.
Let’s hear what you think either in the comments below or on twitter @CDub13