“Going into that last game on Saturday, we all wanted to win to maybe give the coaches a chance to stay or at least send them out right. That didn’t happened. It was an emotional weekend. We lost a lot of seniors, especially two linebackers that I played with -- Mike Juergens and Ward Dobbs. They were two good friends and two good players.” -- UW junior linebacker Weston Johnson.
By Richard Anderson
Two days later, Chris Stutzriem talked with a little clearer head. On Saturday after the tough 31-20 loss to Colorado State, the redshirt freshman let his emotions get the best of him.
On Saturday, Stutzriem said that if head coach Joe Glenn was removed from the job, he would no longer wear the Wyoming colors. Basically, he implied that he would leave.
On Monday during a news conference, Stutzriem said he was sorry he said what he said.
“That was not a smart thing for me to do,” Stutzriem said. “I need to apologize to Mr. (Matt) Whisenant (senior associated athletics director -- internal affairs) and Mr. (Tom) Burman (athletics director). I called them out and their job is hard enough and they don’t need a 19-year-old kid to tell them what to do. Secondly, I need to apologize to the fans and the players on my team. I just kind of spoke out of emotion. That was a big game for us and it was hard to let the seniors go. I know that Mr. Burman and everyone involved will find us a great head coach. There is a business side to everything. I’m sorry I made those comments, that was way out of text. I’m a Cowboy and I am excited for a new head coach to come in here.”
Per man of Saturday, the Cowboys said they wanted Glenn back. That isn’t going to happen, as on Sunday Burman announced that the popular coach would not return for his seventh season.
“I did see this coming one way or the other, but I didn’t see it happening so quick,” junior wide receiver Greg Bolling said. “I think everybody is sad to see Coach Glenn go. He was a nice guy and he was one of us basically. He was blue collar guy who came in here and wanted us to work hard and that’s what we did. I think everyone is trying to push forward now and get ready for next season.”
Wyoming junior linebacker Weston Johnson said it had been in the back of their minds all season that if they didn’t win, Glenn’s job would be in jeopardy.
“Going into that last game on Saturday, we all wanted to win to maybe give the coaches a chance to stay or at least send them out right,” Johnson said. “That didn’t happened. It was an emotional weekend. We lost a lot of seniors, especially two linebackers that I played with -- Mike Juergens and Ward Dobbs. They were two good friends and two good players.”
So why did the Cowboys finish 4-8 overall and 1-7 in the conference after many thought this was a year they could get back to a bowl game?
Stutzriem said there wasn’t any one reason, but if there was, turnovers would be at the top of the list. Wyoming tied for first in the country with 36 turnovers.
“The turnovers killed us,” Stutzriem said. “We went on four games in a row when we threw an interception to the end zone. In those games, once that happened, it got in the back of our mind, ‘here we go again.’ We kept fighting. We’re going to keep fighting.”
What are the Cowboys looking for in a new coach? They want to see some of the same qualities that they had in Glenn.
“I’m looking for somebody, and the same goes for my position coach, who likes discipline and hard work and rewards that,” Johnson said. “I think most of these guys can attest to that because we have a bunch of guys who are blue collar, who work hard. Bring in coach in who respects that and demands respect, that is the quality we should look for in a new coach.”
“I know myself that Mr. Burman said he wants to win,” Stutzriem added. “That made me feel good. Hopefully, we can get a winner in here and somebody who can turn the program around. I’m excited about that, but at the same time, a little upset with the coaches leaving. They were a great group of guys. You have to move on and get things going for next year.”
Sophomore safety Chris Prosinksi said their work ethic won’t change with a change in the coaching regime.
“We’ll work hard this summer when we get a new coach and work just as hard as we did for the last coaches,” Prosinski said. “We’re expecting to win and we’ll try to go to a bowl game next year.”
Bolling admitted that even though things had gone south for much of the season, they still went into Saturday’s game with hope -- hope that they could beat CSU and possibly save their coach’s job.
That didn’t happen.
“Any time you win a rivalry game, when your coach’s job is on the line, if you win that game, it has to have some consideration for him staying,” Bolling said. “That’s the big game of the year, and of course, things didn’t go the way we wanted to and the change happened. There’s nothing we can do about it now, that’s an executive thing and as players, we just have to move forward.”
Two days after losing their rivalry game, one day after losing their head coach, the Cowboys are still smarting. You could see it in their eyes and on their faces on Monday. After some time to let it sink in, they are realists; they know they have to move on.
“It is what it is and now we getting new coaches and we’ll work hard for them and maybe we can get to a bowl game,” Johnson said.