Excitement Builds For Wyoming Cowboy Football

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

Complete 2005 Wyoming Cowboy Football Media Guide!

Wyoming's 2004 football season was the stuff of legends.

In unforgettable fashion, the Cowboys posted more victories than they had in five seasons, appeared in a bowl for the first time in 11 seasons, and most importantly, won a bowl game for the first time in 38 years, knocking off UCLA in the Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl.

It has taken Joe Glenn just two seasons to return Wyoming to football respectability. There is excitement again in the high country for the game Wyoming folks love so much.

The fans aren't any more anxious for the 2005 season, than the Cowboys themselves. The team is ready to pick up where it left off eight months ago when the Pokes produced the biggest surprise of the bowl season.

"Needless to say, we are excited to get back at it," Glenn says of the season. "The off-season program and spring training were indications of how excited our players are to continue what they have started. They did a tremendous job in the weight room and during the spring. That effort certainly is a springboard to what we will accomplish in the fall.

"Without question there is a tremendous `buy-in' by our football team," Glenn continues, "which means these guys believe in what we are doing."

Junior cornerback Derrick Martin (Jerry Legerski photo)


As is his philosophy, Glenn emphasized fundamentals -- the teaching and learning of the game -- during spring training. There wasn't a lot of contact. Even though he returns 47 lettermen from that bowl championship team, including 19 starters, Glenn's spring training started from ground zero on both sides of the ball. There were a few wrinkles added, but the Cowboys went back to basics, that's the Glenn way. The Pokes did hit the ground running, however, since coaches and players were so familar with each other. The Cowboys were a young team last year as some 87 percent of the starts offensively and 72 percent defensively were produced by underclassmen. The 2005 Glenn edition will be blessed with many more veterans.

While improvement and polish were the general spring goals for Glenn and his team, there were some specific ones, as well.

"Spring is a time to teach blocking and tackling, the fundamentals of the game," Glenn says. "It's repetition, and polish. The contact we did was more one-on-one in nature. This is a time to teach our stuff, not to spend a lot of time scheming. But at the same time, we wanted to accomplish some specific goals, and I think we did that.

"We needed to establish a backup quarterback for Corey (Bramlet)," Glenn continues. "It was interesting to see how that played out between our two young guys (sophomore Jacob Doss and redshirt freshman Stinson Dean). Jacob had an excellent spring, and will fill that backup role for us."

Another area of focus for the Cowboys during spring training involved the center position. Gone is veteran Trenton Franz, who was a fixture at the position, starting 43 consecutive games. It will not be easy filling those shoes. The guy who had an outstanding spring and will be the starter is a veteran, senior Drew Severn (6-3, 301). Severn eased the minds of all the coaches with his strong performance. Redshirt freshman Tim Bond (6-4, 296) is his projected backup.

While the remainder of the offensive line is a positive -- four starters return -- Glenn believes more depth must be developed. Some strides were made in that area during spring training.

Redshirt freshman Wynel Seldon


Spring ball for the tailback position afforded opportunities for young hopefuls due to injuries to veterans. Both junior Ivan Harrision (knee, shoulder) and senior Joseph Harris (knee) missed the spring session. A couple of top candidates, redshirt freshman Wynel Seldon (foot) and junior Alex Renshaw (ankle, leg) saw limited contact during the first week of spring, but were healthy for the final week. Redshirt freshman Devin Moore received a chance to show what he could do, and he was impressive at the end of camp.

Tight end was a position in similar shape due to injury. Two of the anticipated keys in the depth chart--John Wadkowski (knee) and Chris Sundberg (knee)-- missed the spring. That gave some young hopefuls an opportunity. Wade Betschart (6-3, 242, So.) took advantage big time, and produced an outstanding spring as did redshirt freshman Scott Koch (6-4, 220).

Defensively, the Cowboys needed to come out of spring in solid shape at the weakside and middle linebacker positions, where veterans Guy Tuell and Randy Tscharner graduated, as well as at defensive tackle, where four-year lettermen Zach Morris and Jacob Bonde are also gone. Glenn was pleased with the progress made at all three of those positions during spring training.

The polish Glenn talks about came about at the team strengths. . . quarterback, wide receiver, the secondary and the kicking game. Nine of this year's returning starters are located in those positions.

"There is an air of excitement because this team has a chance to be better than last season," Glenn says, "based on the experience we have, the competition for starting spots, and the depth. The bowl game was a tremendous boost to this program, and that's why the `buy-in' by our players is bigger than ever. It's an exciting time to be a Cowboy."

Here is a position-by-position breakdown of the Cowboys entering the fall of 2005:

Offense

Senior wide receiver Jovon Bouknight (Jerry Legerski photo)


Wide Receivers:

This is one of the strengths, if not the strength, of the team. Two of three starters return from last year. There is talent and depth throughout the three positions. All-America candidate Jovon Bouknight (6-1, 191, Sr.) returns as the Pokes' top offensive weapon. The talented senior, who was utilized sparingly during spring training, led the team in receiving with 63 catches for 1,075 yards and seven touchdowns last season. He averaged 17 yards per catch. He also rushed 11 times for 78 yards and completed two passes both for touchdowns. What makes him so special is his ability to come up big in big situations. He is a huge clutch player. Bouknight was No. 15 in the nation in receiving yards (1,075), and was 27th in the NCAA in all-purpose yards (140.0 yards per game) in 2004. He also led the league in kickoff returns. He was named a Second-Team All-League performer. His wide-out mates are dangerous, as well. Senior Josh Barge (6-0, 209) caught 23 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns. Tyler Holden (6-0, 175, Jr.) was third on the team in catches with 27 for 339 yards and a touchdown. Both of those guys had excellent springs. The depth is outstanding. Jason Wallace (6-2, 187, Sr.) had a great spring, and his stock has risen greatly. Sophomore Michael Ford (6-2, 203, So.), transfer C.J. Brewer (6-2, 205, Sr.) and sophomores Taber LeMarr (6-3, 198, So.) and Hoost Marsh (5-9, 172, So.), who also is one of the premier punt returners in the league, add great depth to the area. Another young receiver to make the depth chart entering the fall is redshirt freshman Kyle Jacobo (6-3, 181).

Senior tight end/h-back John Wadkowski


Tight Ends/H-Backs:

The Cowboys feel good about this position, but two of the top candidates were shelved for spring training because of injury. Much like the running back position, there are high hopes for individuals to come off surgery successfully. The returning starter, John Wadkowski (6-4, 259, Sr.), will enter the fall after undergoing off-season knee surgery, as will Chris Sundberg (6-5, 231, RFr.), who appears No. 3 on the fall depth chart. Wadkowski finished his junior year with 18 catches for 152 yards and two touchdowns, and was named Second Team All-Conference. Sophomore Wade Betschart (6-3, 242), who had seven receptions for 39 yards and two TDs as a true freshman in `04, had a great spring and demonstrated he will be a definite factor as Wadkowski's backup. Scott Koch (6-4, 220, RFr.) had a fine spring. After summer development in the weight room, he also will be a factor for the Cowboys. This position has made huge strides from just two seasons ago.

Senior quarterback Corey Bramlet (Jerry Legerski photo)


Quarterbacks:

A year ago, Joe Glenn did not have a question who would be his starter. His confidence in Corey Bramlet (6-4, 219, Sr.) was well-founded, as the Wheatland, Wyo., native produced a banner season as a junior. Now that he is a senior, there still remains no question as to who will direct this offense. Bramlet finished third in the Mountain West in total offense. Not only was he an outstanding passer, but he was the Pokes' third-leading rusher. He threw for 2,409 yards and 12 touchdowns, and rushed for 209 yards and four touchdowns. He was MVP of the Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl, an Honorable Mention All-Mountain West performer and returns as one of the top quarterbacks in the league. The focus of spring training was to solidify Bramlet's backup. Two battled for the spot -- sophomore Jacob Doss (6-2, 210) and redshirt freshman Stinson Dean (6-2, 215) -- and Doss won the battle. He produced a very consistent spring.

Senior running back Joseph Harris


Running Backs:

Because of injury, spring training offered a chance for younger players to show what they could do. Health will be a key to the position. The top candidates for the spot missed all of spring ball as injuries precluded veterans Ivan Harrison (5-7, 190, Jr.) and Joseph Harris (5-7, 200, Sr.) from participating in practice. They head into the fall listed as co-number ones at the position. Harrision carried 159 times for 587 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore, and Harris added another 409 yards on 94 carries with four touchdowns. The coaching staff liked what they saw in redshirt freshman Wynel Seldon (6-1, 204), who came on toward the end of spring drills after missing time early due to a fractured foot he suffered in December. He performed very well after recovering from his injury. He took excellent advantage of the situation. Another candidate is Alex Renshaw (5-10, 202), a junior, who carried for 65 yards and a TD last season. Renshaw missed part of the spring recovering from a fractured ankle and leg he sustained in the Utah game. The young man who received an excellent opportunity, and took advantage, was redshirt freshman Devin Moore (5-9, 180). Moore made great strides, and plunged himself right into the mix.

Junior tackle Hunter Richards (Jerry Legerski photo)


Offensive Linemen:

Four starters return from last year's bowl champions including both tackles, Chase Johnson (6-8, 325, Jr.) and Hunter Richards (6-7, 287, Jr.); and both guards, Alan Erving (6-4, 295, Sr.) and Jason Karcher (6-3, 304, Jr.). Johnson is the top returner, earning Honorable Mention All-Conference accolades as a sophomore. The focus of spring training came at the center position where four-year letterman Trenton Franz has graduated. The guy who took charge was veteran Drew Severn (6-3, 301, Sr.), who has logged time at guard and center throughout his career. Severn stepped in and, like a true veteran, played like he had been there for years. He took a huge load off the minds of the coaches. Redshirt freshman Tim Bond (6-4, 296) will apprentice behind Severn. At the guard positions, Mark Schwarz (6-4, 298,Jr.) and youngster Kyle Howard (6-6, 306, RFr.) will backup Erving and Karcher, respectively, at the left and right guard positions. Howard is the most versatile of the o-linemen. He can play all three positions. The depth at the tackle spots will be provided by sophomore John Ulibarri (6-4, 290) on the left side and senior Brandon Avery (6-4, 296) on the right side. The leaders of the o-line will be the juniors Johnson and Karcher. Each has started the last 24 consecutive games, beginning with the first game of their redshirt freshman season of 2003. The other primary focus in this area will be the development of additional depth. Without question, the Cowboys could use more.

Defense

Senior cornerback Terrance Butler (Jerry Legerski photo)


Cornerbacks:

Wyoming is stronger, with better depth, in the secondary than it has been in a long time. In fact, Joe Glenn says this secondary has more talent and depth than any he has been around as a head coach. A prime example of that talent is the cornerback spot. Any Cowboy cornerback discussion begins with All-America candidate Derrick Martin (5-11, 189, Jr.) at the field position. A Second-Team All-MWC performer last season as a sophomore, he is a special player. Martin was named the National Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Ole Miss by breaking up seven passes, making nine tackles and producing a spectacular, diving interception in the end zone. He finished his sophomore season with 60 total tackles, three interceptions, a sack and four-and-a-half tackles for losses. Martin ranked 14th in the nation in 2004 in passes defended (interceptions plus pass breakups). A couple of young sophomores -- Julius Stinson (5-10, 170) and Michael Medina (6-0, 175) -- are listed behind him. Both have outstanding futures in the program. Another veteran resides at the boundary corner in senior Terrance Butler (6-1, 179). Butler posted 26 tackles last season, and led the team in interceptions with four. Backup help is solid in the person of senior veteran Brandon Bell (6-1, 190). Bell had 13 tackles during the season, and played especially well in the bowl victory.

Junior free safety John Wendling (Jerry Legerski photo)


Safeties:

This is another position of strength with outstanding depth. All-America candidate John Wendling (6-1, 209, Jr.) should have a highly-productive season as a junior. An Honorable Mention All-League selection as a sophomore, he possesses the tools to earn national honors. He led the team in tackles as a sophomore with 89 total stops, including 56 solos. He had three interceptions and three fumble recoveries. His backup, Dorsey Golston (6-0, 188, Jr.), also is a talented veteran, who has logged plenty of field time. Golston finished the season with 33 tackles. One of the most competitive areas on the team will definitely be the strong safety position. Senior Ron Rockett (6-1, 185) started the last eight games of the season for the Cowboys after the previous starter, Marcial Rosales (6-1, 233, Jr.), tore his ACL in game four. Those two should wage a spirited battle for the starting nod this fall. Both are extremely effective football players who can bring the wood. There is plenty of backup help at both safety positions from some talented young players like free safeties Quincy Rogers (6-1, 191, RFr.) and Evan Weatherspoon (6-2, 195, Fr.) and strong safeties Cameron Clark (5-10, 195, So.), who also is one of the Pokes' most effective special teams players, and Michael Ray (6-1, 206, RFr.).

Junior linebacker Austin Hall


Linebackers:

Spring training was critical in finding two starters in the linebacking corps, in the middle and on the weakside. The starter on the strongside returns in veteran Austin Hall (6-2, 229, Jr.), who finished his sophomore season with 20 total tackles and a couple of tackles for losses. Sean Claffey (6-3, 234, So.) will work behind Hall at that spot. He also saw action last season. John Prater (6-2, 239, Jr.), who battled for the middle backer spot a year ago until injuries sidelined him, has earned the starting nod at "mike". Despite nagging injuries in `04, he produced 32 tackles. The Chase brothers, Luke (6-1, 222, So.) and Matt (6-1, 221, Sr.) are listed as Prater's backups. Both have logged time for the Cowboys. Senior veteran Jeff Tatnall (5-11, 230) earned the starting job on the weakside. He finished his junior season with 30 total defensive stops. His backup, Ward Dobbs (6-0, 232, RFr.), turned lots of heads during spring drills, and the coaching staff is excited to have him in the mix. Brandon Haugen (6-1, 233, So.) also will work at the position. He entered the spring recovering from fall knee surgery. The staff is looking forward to working with true freshman Mike Neuhaus (6-3, 230, Fr.). He has certainly made his presence felt. Even though two starters -- Guy Tuell and Randy Tscharner -- have graduated, the coaching staff feels very good about the prospects of the linebacking corps. Spring training was a very important time for this area.

Senior noseguard Dusty Hoffschneider (Jerry Legerski photo)


Defensive Linemen:

While the Cowboys lost their outstanding captain, and team leader Zach Morris at tackle, this is still a most effective group. The odds-on candidate to replace Morris is junior Jake Mayes (6-3, 285) who played in all 12 games last season. Mayes also can play the noseguard position, and will be listed as a backup there. There is some junior college help behind Mayes in Corey Mace (6-3, 290) and Fa'aaliga Selesele (6-0, 310). A redshirt freshman, Rob Hollway (6-4, 247), could also challenge for some playing time. The noseguard area belongs to the toughest Cowboy of them all, Dusty Hoffschneider (5-8, 257), a senior who knows all about overcoming odds. An outstanding wrestler, Hoffschneider earned a victory at the NCAA Wrestling Tournament last winter. At 5-8, he is a rock in the middle of Wyoming's defense. He finished his junior season with 59 total tackles, including six-and-a-half tackles for losses, two-and-a-half sacks and three fumble recoveries. Both defensive ends return, and they are outstanding players. Solid bookends, Aaron Robbins (6-4, 253, Sr.) and John Flora (6-4, 267, Sr.) each finished with 44 total tackles last season. Flora posted three-and-a-half sacks, and Robbins two-and-a-half. They are veterans who play very consistently. Their backups will include Adam Diehl (6-3, 223, Jr.), Mike Groover (6-3, 237, Jr.), Tyler Ottem (6-4, 246, So.) and Mike Juergens (6-4, 227, RFr.). Another individual who got into the mix, thanks to his effort in spring training, was John Fletcher (6-6, 219, Fr.). At 6-6, he can run and is a rugged football player. According to Glenn, the sky is the limit for him. The Cowboys are blessed with more talent and depth in this area than they have had in a number of seasons.

Special Teams

Senior place-kicker Deric Yaussi (Jerry Legerski photo)


Special Teams:

The Cowboys could hardly be in better shape than they are in the kicking game. The highly-decorated corps includes the league's best place-kicker, punt returner and kickoff returner, and possibly the best returning punter. Deric Yaussi (5-11, 199, Sr.) was the First Team All-MWC place-kicker last season as a junior, and ranked No. 13 in the NCAA in field goals made (1.5 per game). He scored 90 points for the Cowboys, which was number two in the league and No. 38 in the nation. He hit on all 36 of his PAT's, and was 18 of 25 in the field-goal department. He is dangerous from anywhere. His long success was 51 yards. He was six-for-six from 20 to 29 yards and five-of-seven from 30 to 39 yards. Adam Brooks (5-11, 190, Sr.) returns as one of the league's top punters. He earned Second Team All-MWC honors as a junior. Brooks finished the 2004 season averaging 42.5 yards per punt, good for 26th in the country. While the kicking end of things is in good shape thanks to those two, Jovon Bouknight and Hoost Marsh are the league's two best return men. Marsh (5-9, 172, So.) was the story of the year in the special-teams area. He received his chance to return punts when the Pokes' top punt returner, Josh Barge, was injured. All Marsh did was become the best in the league and ranked 20th in the nation. He ended up averaging 13.5 yards per punt return, and earned the First Team All-Mountain West Conference nod as a return specialist. Bouknight finished the year averaging 22.9 yards per kick return to lead the league, and was the Second Team All-MWC return specialist. In this area, spring training was best utilized in finding long-snappers. Jake Mayes (punt) and Mark Schwarz (placements) filled that need. Wide receiver Tyler Holden will be the holder this season, and should be an excellent replacement for J.J. Raterink.