Aug. 23, 2002
CHEYENNE, Wyo. -
Last season in his first year as a starter, University of Wyomingquarterback Casey Bramlet led the Mountain West Conference with 279 yardsper game, was second in total offense at 277.1 yards per contest andrecorded the fourth-best single season passing effort in school histroy with3,069 yards.
The Wheatland product led the Cowboys' to the 15th-best passing offense inthe country.
But Bramlet also led the conference in another category - interceptions.
He threw 20 picks, compared to just nine touchdowns. Six of those came in UW's second-to-last game of the season against San Diego State.
"He had way too many interceptions," UW quarterbacks coach Mick McCall said."If we're going to change one thing that we did a year ago, we're not goingto have the turnovers."
So how is Bramlet going to reduce his interceptions?
First, he added about 25 pounds of muscle to is 6-foot-4 frame over theoff-season. Bramlet enters the Aug. 31 season opener against fifth-rankedTennessee at about 225 pounds.
"Part of gaining weight, getting stronger, more explosive and faster is thatit does a lot for your confidence upstairs," McCall said. "Him putting onalmost 25 pounds will enable him to take a hit a lot easier, he's going tobe more effortless in his throws and he will be a lot more durable."
Second, newly appointed passing game coordinator Rob Phenicie and McCall,who was moved from running backs coach to quarterbacks coach, have putBramlet and all of UW's quarterbacks into a more structured offense.
No, the offense hasn't changed from last season, but it has more purpose.
"I know what plays to expect in certain situations," Bramlet said. "I knowon first-and-10 what to expect. Last year, once we got the play in, I wouldhave to go from there. Now I have an idea what's going to come."
Third, Bramlet has a year of starting experience.
"Once you get out there and go through it, you get a chance to seeeverything," Bramlet said. "Now you come back and have a chance to stay withthe same offense and the same kind of routine.
"It seems like the game has slowed down. Now that I know what I'm getting, Idon't have as many surprises coming at me as I did last year."
One of Bramlet's favorite targets, junior receiver Ryan McGuffey, hasnoticed Bramlet's progression.
"I really believe his pre-snap reads have gotten so much better," saidMcGuffey, who has led the Cowboys in receptions each of the past twoseasons.
"He's reading the defense a lot better and more quick. I think he knows whathe's going to do before he does it."
Bramlet seems to know what he's doing in fall camp. In UW's two majorscrimmages, he's completed 45-of-61 passes for 395 yards with seventouchdowns and only one interception.
McGuffey thinks this season Bramlet is capable of challenging UW'ssingle-season passing yardage mark of 4,090 yards set by Josh Wallwork in1996.
Bramlet said that would be nice, but he isn't too concerned about personalnumbers.
"If I can keep pretty much the same numbers and cut down the interceptions,I would be happy," he said. "But winning is all that matters to me."