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Wyoming Cowboys vs Colorado Buffaloes: Offensive & Defensive Preview

Jeremy over at the Mountain West Connection has provided us with a short take on Wyoming offensively and defensively. After, that take a look at a preview done on Burnt Orange Nation last week for their matchup with Wyoming. Hey, instead of reinventing the wheel, the research these two sites have done still applies to Wyoming this week except the Pokes' get back their leading receiver from a year ago in Greg Bolling. He caught less than 30 balls last year but is still considered their best at the position.

Here is Mountain West Connections take on the Wyoming offense:

When Wyoming has the Ball:

Wyoming is still working to find their groove.  Currently the Pokes are still playing two QB's with Robert Benjamin and Austyn Carta-Samuels.  Last week Benjamin played a bit more against Texas but the quarterback situation is not that good.  The running game is still a mystery because in game one against Weber State Darius Terry had 101 yards but then only 18 against Texas.  The ground attack probably isn't as good as it was against Weber State and isn't as bad as it showed against Texas, but the Colorado rush defense has been suspect against the run by allowing two 100 yard rushers when the Buffs played Toledo.  So, Wyoming should be able to have some success running the ball.  Other good news for the Wyoming quarterbacks is that Greg Bolling --who was their best receiver from 2008 -- is back after being suspended for the first two games of the year for violating team rules.  The offense still does not have the players to efficently run the spread offense, so look for Wyoming to make some bad plays, then some great plays, but they will be inconsistent.

When Colroado has the Ball:

Wyoming has had a very good defense the past few years and this year is no different.  They were able to hold Texas to 13 points in the first half and force a pick from Colt McCoy.  Wyoming has two all-conference corners in Tashaun Gipson and Marcell Gipson and have the ability to cover nearly any wide receiver. They were not too successfull against Texas but that is hard to slow down Colt McCoy and that Texas offense.  The rush defense is the bright spot for the Wyoming defense, especially their defensive line that is able to over power opposing offensive lines.  Wyoming will have their hands full with Colorado top recruit Darrell Scott who is a stud running back, but if Colorado's line plays like they did against Colorado State then the Pokes will be able to contain the run.  The best way to attack the Wyoming defense is when teams play three and four wide outs, because after their top two corners the rest of the secondary is not all that good.

Based on Jeremy's assessment, Buff fans must hope that wide receivers Andre Simmons, Markques Simas and Anthony Wright will be able to contribute more this week. I think all would smile uncontrollably if the staff actually played these players this week. Colorado needs playmakers on the field and these three have the ability to provide the Buffs with enough of an upgrade to really get the offense humming. Wyoming's defense ranks 115th against the pass early in the season with Weber State putting 322 yards up on them. Overall, the Pokes' defense is ranked 107th, not as bad as the Buffs who are coming in at 111th but we all know how bad the Buffs have been and Wyoming isn't that much farther ahead...but they have played Texas. The Pokes picked off Weber State five times in week one and still only won by 7 points. Once again, the Buffs have the opportunity to get a rhythm going but we have said that the last two weeks against similarly ranked defenses. In fairness to the Buffs offense, the Colorado defense has done them no favors. In fact Colorado has  trailed 109:05 out of a possible 120 minutes this season. Talk about trying to dig yourself out of a hole every single week, every single minute.

Like Jeremy said about the Pokes offense, this is a unit that is still trying to find an indentity. They are going to bring Christensen's spread attack to Boulder, something that should automatically worry Buff fans based on last week's matchup against Toledo. But this Wyoming team does not have the receivers that Toledo has and quarterback is still very much a question mark. But as we have seen the past two weeks, somewhat mediocre offenses have looked great against the Colorado defense. The key this week is to limit the big play against the Pokes and get some early momentum going. If the Colorado defense can actually allow the offense to get a lead in this game, the Buffs should be able to play a little more aggressive. Basically, Colorado needs to turn off the hose that has been running non stop for two weeks, get a few three and outs and allow the offense to churn out a running game.

Check out these two impressive previews from the Texas SBNation site, Burnt Orange Nation, as they provide some funny commentary as well as some player by player breakdowns. Below is a summary of the offensive and defensive previews:

Defensive Summary Preview:

Expectations for Wyoming's Defense will be the exact opposite from the offense.  The outlook is solid across the board and they have 2 shutdown DB's from Texas which have the potential to be very special in the MWC this year.  They return 8 starters from last years squad that ranked in the top 32 in total defense the past 3 years.  DC Marty English brings a 3-4 defense allowing the "Buck" LB to play on the line as a Kindle-esque pass rusher from the line.  Lets take a look at what Marty's defense did against Weber St. last week.


--Key Tidbits: Full Statistical breakdown can be found here

  • Wyoming had 3 guys with picks--5 total.  For a team that was second worst in NCAA with takeaways, they certainly are moving in the right direction.
  • They had a decent time getting into the backfield with 10 TFL and 2 Sacks, however most of that action was due to only one guy, who happens to be their best playmaker on the line.  Expect Texas to double-team him early and make someone else make try to make plays.
  • They did give up 561 all purpose yards with 431 of that being from total offense.  320 yards in the air from Weber State is too much. Colt should have a field day.

Offensive Summary Preview:

Offensively, the Cowboys churned out 436 yards of total offense in Christensen's new no-huddle system, which is a huge turnaround from last year.  In fact a 140-yard turnaround from their best output last year (296 yds).  They played 2 QB's most of the game which I will get to later on this post in the Depth Chart. Amassed only 188 yards through the air, yet ran the ball effectively for over 245 yards amounting to over 5 yds/carry.  Their main problem from the offensive game was their inability to convert on 3rd downs as they were only 3-15 (20%).  B-

Keys to the game to follow

Go Buffs!