Friday, August 8, 2008

Glenn gives State of the Cowboys speech

Richard Anderson photo
The Cowboys sing Ragtime Cowboy Joe in recording a video during Media Day Friday at War Memorial Stadium.

By Richard Anderson

It was a simple revelation by Wyoming head football coach Joe Glenn Friday at the annual Media Day banquet Friday at the Rochelle Athletic Center.

“It’s time,” Glenn quipped.

That’s a motto that Glenn is trying to drill into his team, as they come back from a disappointing 5-7 season that saw Wyoming lose six of its last seven games. Glenn, in his sixth season, said it is time to challenge in the Mountain West Conference and get back in the bowl scene.

Glenn told a story of an encounter he had in Saratoga during a Cowboy Joe Club function this summer with a long-time Cowboy fan,

“He’s getting pretty old and he looks at me and said, ‘Coach Glenn, I’m getting pretty damn old, so get to a bowl game.’ We need a bowl game, so let’s go get it.”

Glenn, a self-professed bad poker player, is always the optimist. He is more than buoyant going into this season. Wyoming opens things up on Aug. 30 at home against Ohio.

“This is always the beginning: High hopes,” Glenn said. “It’s a new season, a new time, a lot of new faces, a lot of old faces.”

Glenn said that this is the most veteran team that he has ever had coming back, led by 40 juniors and 40 seniors.

“We are jacked about that,” he said.

Glenn and his coaching staff are especially excited about the veteran front lone -- both offensively and defensively. On offense, the Cowboys line is led by seniors Kyle Howard and Tim Bond. Defensively, juniors John Fletcher and Mitch Unrein led the way.

“It’s the best line on both sides of the ball that I have had a chance to work with,” Glenn said. “We have everybody back on both sides of the ball. I have to give it up to our weight-room people; they have worked hard all summer. They took our line to a new level.”

The question mark offensively is still at quarterback. Junior returning starter Karsten Sween and sophomore JC transfer Dax Crum are battling it out for the top position. So far in camp, neither has done anything to separate themselves.

“I wish I could tell you who was going to be up there, but I can’t tell you yet,” he said. “One will make a great play and then not so good. The next is just the opposite. We need them to play down a little bit. They are competing really, really hard. But it is that close, they are both fighting. If one wins it, and the other one doesn’t, we’re not going to take the other guy out behind the barn and shoot him. It’s a nice problem to have when you have two really good guys. Either one of them can lead us to a winning season.”

One thing Glenn and new offensive coordinator Bob Cole aren’t undecided about is getting the ball to senior running back Devin Moore.

“You’re going to be treated to maybe one of the best running backs, the fastest running back and the shiftiest running back who has ever played at Wyoming. Devin Moore is unbelievable,” Glenn said. “I stand behind and watch Devin run the football, and a big linebacker comes up to tackle him and D-Mo will put some move on him and they’ll go like this (crossing his arms with a missing motion), wondering, where the hell he went. Devin will put on some kind of kooky move that I have never seen. It happens about once a day in practice.

“The guy is just special. He has to touch the ball more. Coach Cole is on to that. With that said, Wynel (Seldon) won’t probably run the ball as much, so he has worked Wynel into the receiving game; he’s worked Wynel into the fly-sweep game. He’s still going to get a lot of touches because he is a big, tough senior who brings a big heart and toughness to our team. But D-Mo has to touch the ball more; 20, 25 times a game, at least.”

The Cowboys are a little less experienced than last season in the receiving position, but could be more talented with added depth. Junior Greg Bolling, sophomore David Leonard and seniors Chris Johnson and Kyle Jacobo have the most experience, with newcomers Donate Morgan, Travis Burkhalter, Justin Morgan and Brandon Stewart all expected to be in the mix.

Cole has also brought a new wrinkle in the offense with the “fly-sweep.”

“It’s the guy coming into motion, going by the quarterback 90 miles per hour. Sometimes you give him the ball and sometimes you fake it,” Glenn said. “It’s hard to defend, especially when you are pretty darn good at throwing the football and running the power plays. I’m excited with what Bob has brought with him.”

The Cowboys look to be solid again on defense, especially with the return of linebacker Ward Dobbs, who had shoulder surgery in the off-season.

“Ward feels better than he has ever felt. You can see it in his snap, in his blitzes.” Glenn said. “When you put a 6-4, 237-pound freshman next to him who has linebacker written all over him. That’s Gabe Knapton. You then have Mike Juergons and Westin Johnson starting on the outside.”

The D-line is led by Fletcher and Unrein. “You put 6-7, 280-pounds (Fletcher) on one side; 6-4, 270 (Unrein) on the other side and a 300-pound nose guard (Fred Givens) anchoring the middle. I don’t see any way people will run through that bunch.”

Glenn said they might go with a three-player safety rotation, led by Chris Prosinski. “He is what I call a starter and so are Michael Ray and Quincy Rogers,” Glenn said. “We may play all three at the same time, instead of two.”

At cornerback, Glenn likes the looks of freshman brothers Marcell and Tashaun Gipson.

“They are football players. They can hit and they can cover,” he said. “I’m interested in seeing what they can do once you turn on the cameras on game day. They’ll compete with Keith Lewis and TJ Atwater. We have four guys who can hold up.”

As always, Glenn has the time marked off on his calendar until the season opener. He can’t wait.

A good friend of Ohio coach Frank Solich, going back to their Nebraska days, Glenn said it will be a tough challenge for Ohio to come to 7,220, flying two-thirds of the country to play a game.

“If they can get it done, then I’ll take my hat off to them,” he said. “But I think that I am coaching a great group of players. With our coaching staff, we’re ready, we’re hungry and we all know that the way it ended last year was just heartbreaking. I feel exactly like you do, like the kids do. We need a win in exactly 21½ days.”

No comments: