Cowboy freshman cornerback Tashaun Gipson tackles Air Force sophomore Reggie Rembert.
By Richard Anderson
There’s little time left for talking for the Wyoming Cowboys. They know they have to step things up and they have to do it Saturday.
The Cowboys will get that chance against North Dakota State Saturday at 1 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium.
After last week’s 23-3 loss to Air Force in the Mountain West Conference opener, the Cowboys were embarrassed, mad and hurt about their performance, especially on offense.
Wyoming head coach Joe Glenn said they have put that game behind them with a good week of practice, but it is still hard for them to understand what happened offensively against a good, but not great Air Force team.
“Like anybody else, they have their pride and they are hurt. It’s how you rebound from that,” Glenn said. “You can’t see it on their faces, but I believe, especially on offense, that our kids believe they have something to prove. I know Coach (Bob) Cole puts on a happy face, but behind closed doors, it is tearing his guts out. He’s anxious to play a game and for us to move forward with our offense.
“I don’t know how you can be more sick than our offensive coaches. They feel like it is their fault and they let us down. I meet with them almost every night and all day and in meetings. I can tell you the kind of men they are. They’re very prideful, very successful coaches, everyone of them, every where they have been. For that to happen, it is an aberration; it is just not right. They want to roll their sleeves up and fight back. I’m saying they will bounce back.”
Against Air Force, the Cowboys had just 216 total yards on offense and turned the ball over five times. Quarterback Dax Crum was just 7-for-19 passing for 72 yards.
Wyoming will have to show improvement against a good North Dakota State team that defensively reminds Glenn of Ohio.
“They are similar-type athletes and they play with a similar attitude. They are a very well-coached team,” he said. “Everything thing they do has a meaning and they don’t give up much. You’re going to have to earn it. To score on them, you’re going to have to go on 14-, 15-play drives. They play really tough field position with their schemes. They’ll make you earn it every step of the way. You’re not going to try to get much over the top, I don’t think.”
While the Bison will blitz, Glenn said he doesn’t think it is their forte.
“If you look at tape and scratch where it itches, you get an idea. So anticipate some pressure and anticipate picking it up,” Glenn said. “When you expose yourself a little bit with pressure, you can get hurt. If you man blitz and you get beat mono e mono, it is not always for first downs, but it is for large chunks of yardage. They don’t want to play that way.”
In both games, including the 21-20 win over Ohio, the Cowboys have started slow. Glenn said it is always good to get off to a good start and that is what they hope to do. If not, he said they’ll have to come back like they did against Ohio.
“We’ve seen some adversity this year and have played through it,” he said. “We did a great job of fighting through it against Ohio. We fought from behind, we won, we made a great drive in the fourth quarter to win. We’re capable of doing that. We’re not capable of winning when we turn the ball over five times.”
As has been talked about all week, the Bison may be a Division I Football Championship Subdivision team, but not only are they a very good team, but they are ranked No. in the nation.
Glenn said that you can put this football team in whatever division you want; they are that good.
“They are a Division I football tram in every sense of the word: In their size, in their speed, in their talent, their coaches and their budget, probably,” Glenn said. “North Dakota State, whatever league they are in, they are in the top of that league. That’s the way their mentality is. Coach (Craig) Bohl and his group have done a great job. Our kids and our coaches know that there is a Division I team coming in here and a dang good one.”
After Saturday’s game, the Cowboys will return to MWC play and hit the road for the first time with a matchup against Brigham Young in Provo, Utah.