We Wanted To Throw The Ball More

Craig Bohl held a media session last week for the February signing day and had some quite interesting things to say. The Wyoming head football coach entering his 9th season in charge of the program wanted to get some things off his chest about the Wyoming passing game.

“I tell you what, we wanted to throw the ball more but it’s hard when you go out there and watch practice and see a hitch route get thrown in the dirt. So, you know, all this clamoring, I don’t who where it’s at. Well, Coach Bohl is just going to do three yards and a cloud of dust … ”

Coach Bohl continued…

“But to say that we’re going to be so one-dimensional because by God Coach Bohl’s just going to run it down your throat. That’s a misstep. We want to throw the ball, I’d just like to have some quarterbacks who can throw the ball.”

These are some pretty eye-opening quotes and I get his frustration but throwing your two QBs who just transferred out of the program (Sean Chambers and Levi Williams) under the bus isn’t a good look. Craig Bohl last season was the highest-paid football head coach in the Mountain West Conference. If in year eight under his leadership, Wyoming doesn’t have a QB capable of playing at an adequate level for the Mountain West Conference, then the person to blame for that scenario is Craig Bohl and Craig Bohl alone. It’s his job to recruit talent to run his offensive system and to have coaches on staff who can teach and develop these players in that system. For a guy who talks about Wyoming being a developmental program, it sure sounds like he is passing the buck on his QB situation of not having QBs “who can throw” when he’s highly paid to be able to find and develop QBs who can throw.

Now I’ve been documenting Wyoming’s passing struggles for many seasons now and at the end of the 2021 season, I decided to do a deep dive into the passing stats since 1991. This covers Joe Tiller taking over the program from Paul Roach until the present day. I was waiting for a good opportunity to present this information and Coach Bohl dropped the above quotes into my lap and now I feel like I’ve just found a golden ticket in a Wonka Bar. The stats are first presented by year and then below that is a summary with an average by coach.

Passing Data

1991 Tiller Tom Corontzos 20.6 36.4 56.8 296.7 2.2
1992 Tiller Joe Hughes 20.3 36.2 56.2 255.4 1.4
1993 Tiller Joe Hughes 19.3 34.4 56.1 292.5 2.3
1994 Tiller John Gustin 18.8 34.1 55 280.6 1.8
1995 Tiller Josh Wallwork 18.5 32.5 57 273.2 2.1
1996 Tiller Josh Wallwork 24.9 40.5 61.5 359.2 2.9
1997 Dimel Jay Stoner, Jeremy Silcox 17 34.9 48.7 217.2 1.0
1998 Dimel Jay Stoner 17.4 30.6 56.7 225.5 1.0
1999 Dimel Jay Stoner, Matt Swanson 18.7 31.9 58.7 249.5 1.3
2000 Koenning Jay Stoner 19 33.2 57.3 189.5 1.1
2001 Koenning Casey Bramlet 20.7 39.8 52.1 282.4 0.8
2002 Koenning Casey Bramlet 23.3 39.3 59.2 279.8 2.1
2003 Glenn Casey Bramlet 20.8 36.3 57.1 261.2 1.9
2004 Glenn Corey Bramlet 19.6 33.6 58.3 240.4 1.6
2005 Glenn Corey Bramlet 20.3 34.3 59.2 245.7 1.6
2006 Glenn Karsten Sween 17.5 28.8 60.7 179 1.4
2007 Glenn Karsten Sween 20.2 34.3 58.7 192.9 1
2008 Glenn Crum, Stutzriem, Sween 11.9 23.1 51.6 117.7 0.7
2009 Christensen Austyn Carta-Samuels 17.3 31.5 54.9 173.2 0.8
2010 Christensen Austyn Carta-Samuels 14.5 24.1 60.2 166 1
2011 Christensen Brett Smith 20 33.1 60.5 206.8 1.6
2012 Christensen Brett Smith 20.8 34.3 60.6 265.4 2.4
2013 Christensen Brett Smith 24.8 39.5 62.7 282.4 2.4
2014 Bohl Colby Kirkegaard 17.6 31.2 56.4 227.3 1
2015 Bohl Cam Coffman 15.3 25.7 59.4 186.3 1.7
2016 Bohl Josh Allen 15 27 55.6 229.1 2.1
2017 Bohl Josh Allen, Nick Smith 15 26.8 56 177.2 1.4
2018 Bohl Tyler Vander Waal 11.3 23 48.9 131.3 0.7
2019 Bohl Chambers, Vander Waal, Williams 9.2 19.7 46.9 136.2 0.8
2020 Bohl Levi Williams 10.3 22.3 46.3 153.3 0.2
2021 Bohl Sean Chambers, Levi Williams 12.5 22.8 54.5 162.7 1.2
Tiller (6) 20.4 35.7 57.1 292.9 2.1
Dimel (3) 17.7 32.5 54.7 230.7 1.1
Koenning (3) 21.0 37.4 56.2 250.6 1.3
Glenn (6) 18.4 31.7 57.6 206.2 1.4
Christensen (5) 19.5 32.5 59.8 218.8 1.6
Bohl (8) 13.3 24.8 53.0 175.4 1.1


Data Observations

Over the course of the last 31 years of Wyoming football, Craig Bohl coached teams own the following numbers:

  • 7 of the 9 worse seasons in pass completions per game.
  • 7 of the 9 worse seasons in pass attempts per game.
  • 4 of the 7 worse seasons in passing completion percentage.
  • 5 of the 8 worse seasons in passing yards per game.
  • 5 of the 8 worse seasons in passing touchdowns per game.
  • Craig Bohl ranks dead last in every category except passing touchdowns per game which is a tie between him and Dana Dimel.

Now, these comparisons between coaches can’t be completely made directly because of the systems and personnel used by each coach. Obviously, a Joe Tiller offense looks a lot different than a Craig Bohl offense but the main takeaway when looking at the numbers is this is the longest sustained time period Wyoming has seen poor QB play since 1991. When looking at the numbers, I would say in Craig Bohl’s eight years as head coach so far we’ve only had 2 or 3 seasons of acceptable QB play.

I would view acceptable QB play based on the metrics above as:

  • A completion percentage of 55% or above
  • Over 200 yards passing per game
  • 1 or more TD passes per game.

Based on the above criteria (which is a pretty low bar based on the rules of modern football that give a huge advantage to the passing game) Wyoming only has 2 acceptable seasons out of 8 under Bohl. The 2014 season with Kirkegaard under center and the first year with Josh Allen taking snaps in 2016. Wyoming has surpassed the baseline criteria in 16 out of 23 seasons under the previous head coaches in this analysis for a 69% success rate but just 2 of 8 seasons under Bohl (25%).


In December of 2020, Craig Bohl famously said he was going to work with the offensive coaching staff to “Re-Engineer” the offense. During that offseason, Brent Vigen took the head coaching job at Montana State and Bohl had a chance to bring his offense into a more balanced state with perhaps a coach from outside his circle. Instead, he doubled down on the existing system and hired Iowa Offensive Line coach Tim Polasek who was an offensive coordinator under Bohl at North Dakota State. After a lot of talk of bringing balance and attacking football to the fold, the 2021 Wyoming offense looked a lot like the 2020 Wyoming offense and didn’t look like anything close to being re-engineered. There were some very slight improvements in the passing game with a roughly eight percent improvement in completion percentage and nine yards per game improvement in passing yards but overall the Wyoming passing game ranked in the bottom quarter of the Mountain West in all the important metrics.

It’s clear and has been for some time Wyoming needs to make major alterations to how they design and teach their passing game. I’m not asking Wyoming to throw the ball 80% of the time as Coach Bohl facetiously said during his media availability. Bohl and the three yards and a cloud of dust fan club always like to bring up this ill-suited retort when anyone asks for more balance in the offense. I don’t want Wyoming to throw the ball like Washington State or Western Kentucky, I’m just asking for some semblance of balance and improved passing efficiency that should be easily attainable for a football program that runs the ball as well as Wyoming has under Bohl. If you look at the above numbers the difference between the Bohl and Tiller teams is just 10 passes per game. If the numbers just meet in the middle and Wyoming throws the ball an additional five times per game with an overall completion rate of 60%, you would see a substantial improvement in the offense.

The bottom line is Wyoming has to find a way to score more points and an improved passing game that brings balance to the offense is the way forward. You have to build a team to win games in your division and unfortunately for Wyoming, that division contains Boise State and Air Force who over the majority of the Craig Bohl era have averaged over 30 points per game. Now Jay Norvell has been added to the mix at Colorado State and his Nevada teams averaged more than 30 points per game in 3 of his 5 seasons. As I’ve written in the past, 30 points is a key number in modern college football and especially the Mountain West.

Can you build a football program based on a strong run game and defense? You sure can, you can build a good program but you will not build a championship-caliber program (as Bohl states is his goal) unless that strong run game and defense also results in your offense scoring points. To illustrate this point, look to the south and the Denver Broncos. The Broncos won Super Bowl 50 with an all-time great defense and a dang-average offense. Since that Super Bowl, the Broncos have tried to replicate that formula leaning on running the ball and strong defense while having a QB command a passing game that looks to not make mistakes. This philosophy has resulted in the Broncos being one of two NFL teams along with the New York Jets to not make the playoffs in the last 6 NFL seasons.


The media, people connected to the program and even fans still use the same old excuses we have heard year after year to justify what we are seeing. Laramie is a small town that’s not for everyone and the wind and cold are no fun to deal with in Laradise. While these statements are true and you have to be somewhat selective with who you bring into the program, the excuses become a self-fulfilling prophecy and a built-in crutch for failure.

Last I checked, Laramie was a small college town that was cold and windy for Joe Tiller, Dana Dimel and the rest of the coaches. They were still able to find suitable D1 QB talent to bring into the program. Craig Bohl has convinced many of the fan base to think that recruiting to Laramie is so difficult that we shouldn’t expect competent QB play. When in fact, since 1991 the only time Wyoming has struggled to find consistent QB play for this amount of time is under Craig Bohl.

While the climate and location of Laramie haven’t changed. Bohl does have some advantages in program building and recruiting Wyoming coaches of the past did not have. Through the great fundraising work of the University and Athletic Department along with state matching funds, Wyoming has transformed its athletic and training facilities to be at a high level. The weight room Craig Bohl’s teams get to utilize is a lot different than the ones Joe Tiller had under the stands on the west side of War Memorial Stadium. Due to the boom and demand in live college sports broadcast rights, pretty much every Wyoming football game is on traditional TV or on a digital stream. Back in the ’90s, Wyoming was lucky to have 1 game a season on TV and the only way for fans or recruits to follow games was to listen to Dave and Kevin. Wyoming has a lot of positives and those should be emphasized instead of focusing on the negatives.

New Beginnings

The 2022 season will offer new beginnings for the Wyoming passing game. The only QBs to throw meaningful passes in the last four seasons have both left the program. That leaves a wide-open competition for the three returning QBs who did not take a snap last season in Beerup, Clemons and Gibbs. While Bohl and offensive coordinator Tim Polasek added two new quarterbacks to the room with transfer portal addition Andrew Peasley (Utah State) and junior college transfer Evan Svoboda (Snow College). Bohl says that the passing game will be improved in the upcoming season but based off what I’ve seen the last 8 seasons, I won’t hold my breath waiting for the improvement. If the passing game fails to drastically improve in 2022 Bohl will have no one to blame but himself. Because this will be after bringing in a handpicked transfer portal QB, a second-year offensive coordinator very familiar with his system and a passing game coordinator in WR coach Mike Grant who has been promoted to associate head coach even though the Wyoming wide receivers have not been consistently developed over the last 8 seasons.

I hope Craig Bohl is right and they do improve the production in the passing game. An efficient passing game paired with the strong running game and defense that Bohl has built and sustained over the years will take this Wyoming program to another level. The question is, has Bohl made enough changes to see an improved passing game become a reality? Unfortunately, we will not find out until this fall when the season kicks off because we are now in got to show it to me mode. There can be no more talk about improving the passing game, we need to see tangible results on the field.