Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Turnovers too costly for Cowboys

Richard Anderson photo
The Wyoming offense has turned it over 11 times in the Cowboys two losses this season and just three times in the two wins.

By Richard Anderson
Wyoming Sports.org

The last thing the Wyoming offense wants to do against quality teams is give them extra opportunities to score.

In lop-sided losses to Air Force and Brigham Young, that’s exactly what the Cowboys did. For the Cowboys to be successful the rest of the season, they have to win the turnover battle.

And that has to start on Saturday against Bowling Green.

“We played pretty good for much of the first half until the roof caved in with turnovers,” Wyoming coach Joe Glenn said Tuesday on the Mountain West Conference teleconference. “That has continued to plague us down the stretch last year and in the two games we lost this year.”

Wyoming was even with Ohio in turnovers in the 21-20 win and were three up on North Dakota State in the 16-13 victory. The Cowboys turned it over five times against the Falcons and six times against BYU.

“There is a direct correlation between turnovers and losing,” Glenn added.

With that said, Glenn isn’t going to make any major changes in the starting lineup, especially at quarterback. Yet, sophomore starter Dax Crum will have to not only move the offense, but hang onto the ball, whether it is via the fumble or pass interception.

Coaching the Cowboys, Glenn said that he has to look at turnovers and emphasize that they can’t happen until he tires of talking about it.

He’s getting tired of turnover talk and said he is sure everyone is tired of hearing him talk about it. But it is what it is.

“We have to accept the responsibility for who is at fault,” he said. “If we turn the ball over, we will rotate. We’ll go to the next guy and let him at a crack at it until we get somebody in here that can protect the football and protect our defense, because it is just killing us.”

If that is the case, Glenn said he hopes no one sees anybody but the starters on Saturday.

“It is so obvious that we have a decent football team, that can hang with anybody … we have proven that,” he said. “If we are smart about it, we can move the ball and keep the other team off of the field, as we did in the first half. But we cannot make the critical mistakes that just totally gives the game to the other team … as we did down the stretch last year.”

Glenn said they are going to be real about those mistakes.

“If they are not somebody’s fault, we’re not going to take them out, but if you stand there and you throw the ball to the other team or fumble the ball, we’re going to get somebody in there to protect the football,” he said.

Last week against the Cougars, Glenn tried three quarterbacks -- Crum, junior Karsten Sween and sophomore Chris Stutzriem. All three threw interceptions.

Glenn said he knows that they need quarterback continuity on offense, but they are only as good as they play.

“We have four quarterbacks who I think can all play here, that can do a good job,” he said. “But they can’t turn the ball over and that is what it is all about right now.”

The Cowboys inability to not hang on to the football puts a strain on the Wyoming defense.

“Punting the ball is not always a bad thing; we have a good defense,” Glenn said. “We can run the ball as well as anybody in the league; we have a good offensive line. When we turn it over, then we don’t have a chance. We hope that the guy who send in there knows that.”

Injury ward
Glenn said that going into Tuesday’s practice, most of the nicked-up Cowboys are making a run at returning. Receiver David Leonard, who suffered a concussion against BYU, is still day-to-day.

“He has to pass some testing that they haven’t gotten to yet, to see if he can rid himself of those systems of being concussed,” Glenn said. “He was not knocked out, but he would have probably taken a standing eight-count if he was in a boxing match.”

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