Friday, April 17, 2009
Carta-Samuels, McNeill qet a sneak peek
Richard Anderson photo
Future Cowboys, from left, Chris McNeill and Austyn Carta-Samuels, take in Thursday's practice in the Indoor Practice Facility.
By Richard Anderson
Spring break isn’t just for fun on the beach or goofing off. Future Cowboys quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels and receiver Chris McNeill are taking time away from home this week by spending a little time on the sideline.
The Wyoming sideline.
Both Carta-Samuels and McNeill, two prize recruits in Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen’s first class, are in Laramie for a few days watching the Cowboys spring practices. Both arrived on Wednesday night and observed Thursday’s workout in the Indoor Practice Facility and will do the same on Friday, before watching Saturday’s scrimmage.
Making an early appearance gives Carta-Samuels a chance to “get as much logged in my head mentally that I can.”
So far, he likes what he sees.
“I think it looks really good. I think they have a lot of defensive speed, the defensive looks really strong,” Carta-Samuels said. “The offense is obviously going to be a little slower because they are just putting everything in. The quarterbacks are doing a great job, they seem to be working very hard. They all seem to be working very hard, which apparently is a difference from last year.”
With so much to learn, being here in person is advantageous.
“It’s obviously very different seeing it in person, than just on paper,” McNeill said. “I’m just glad I’m getting the opportunity to watch these guys. Obviously with the new offense, I want to get up here as soon as I can and learn as much as I can. In high school we ran a similar offense, a spread offense. It’s probably the reason why I made the decision to come here, because it is marginal transition.”
Carta-Samuels was brought in by Christensen to run his spread offense, whether it was for this season or for the future. As far as Carta-Samuels is concerned, why wait for the future.
“My goal is to start as a true freshman,” he said.
The San Jose, Calif., freshman said he knows there is good competition here at quarterback; he knows that junior college transfer Robert Benjamin is coming to UW to compete and that he, too, is talented.
He knows that winning the job won’t be easy and he has a lot of work to do.
“I would be cheating myself if I didn’t expect myself to get that,” Carta-Samuels said. “I feel that especially with the new staff here, and new everything, it gives me an opportunity to be level with the quarterbacks here. I think physically I can run with the quarterbacks. They are good players, but as a quarterback, you have to believe in yourself, and I believe in myself.”
McNeill, from Simi Valley, Calif., will come to UW for summer school a week after high school graduation, before going home for two or three weeks and then beginning summer ball.
He would also like to step in right away if possible.
“The coaches told me that I have the opportunity to play, as long as I learn my stuff. It doesn’t mater what year you are, if you can contribute to the team, them you have a chance to play,” McNeill said. “I’m definitely going to study hard, get bigger and all that stuff, so I can get on the field as soon as I can.”
Carta-Samuels will arrive in Laramie for good on June 14, when he said the real work begins.
“I’ll get to work out with my team and be with my coach a lot, spend a lot of time learning things mentally,” he said. “Physically, I am working hard. Mentally, it is going to be a big jump because when you start to understand what is going on, it will start to slow down a lot earlier than when people think. I’m excited about that type of stuff.”
While the two Californians didn’t know each other before being recruited by Wyoming, Christensen got them connected recently and they are becoming close.
“Coach actually gave me his number, so we’ve been talking for a while,” McNeill said. “Austyn is a great guy and a good quarterback. He is excited to get going as well.”
Both players were soaking in the action on the field, while sneaking peaks of the fast-arriving snowstorm.
Just what do they think about the Cowboy spread offense?
“Obviously, I have some studying to do, but this offense has a really good chance of being one of the best offenses, not only in the Mountain West Conference, but in the nation,” McNeill said.
Carta-Samuels said the potential for this offense is impressive.
“I think we have an awesome recruiting class, my freshman class,” Carta-Samuels said. “Guys are working hard, he (Christensen) has changed the tempo. With his offensive scheme, especially in this conference because no one runs this spread, the sky is the limit.”