Sept. 5, 2000
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
LIt's always nice to have a handy man around. A guy who can do alittle of this, or a little of that.
A guy who can do a variety of jobs, do them all well and provide leadershipfor everyone around him.
Matt Swanson is that handy man for the University of Wyoming football team.Swanson is UW's back-up quarterback and punter. He also debuted Thursday asa wide receiver in the Cowboys' 35-21 loss at Auburn Thursday night. Butthat's not all. Swanson also holds on extra points and field goals.
"The bottom line is winning football games, and I'll do anything I can tohelp this team win games," Swanson said. "Physically, it's been moredemanding. It's a lot more demanding than just playing quarterback."
Swanson is used to multiple roles when it comes to athletics. At CentennialHigh in Boise, Idaho, Swanson was a three-sport star in football, basketballand baseball.
Swanson's versatility makes him one of the Pokes' most valuable playersheading into the season.
"The day I got the job, I told (Swanson) you are no longer just aquarterback," first-year UW coach Vic Koenning said. "We cannot be doing allthe things we're doing on this football team if we didn't have a MattSwanson."
Swanson said his ultimate goal is to be the starting quarterback for thePokes. But for the third straight season, Swanson is the back-up toquarterback Jay Stoner
However, playing receiver gives UW two quarterbacks on the field at once.
Both Stoner and Swanson agree that's a big advantage for the offense.
"He knows the plays and knows the routes," Stoner said. "He knows what we'relooking for so he can look for the same things. He helps the other guys bypointing out coverages and making checks. He helps the wideouts, he helps mewith the reads."
Added Swanson: "Going in as a receiver, you see everything that thequarterback sees. Jay and I are on the same page from what I see and what hesees, so I usually know what he's going to call."
But unless Stoner gets hurt or has an awful season, it's not likely Swansonwill get a lot of snaps at quarterback this season. That's OK with Swansonas long as he's helping the team.
"The one thing coach Koenning has preached is taking the 'I' out of team,"Swanson said. "That's what it's all about. If it means 40 plays or fiveplays, I'll go out and give it everything I got.
"You have to accept your role and go out and do it."
The role of one player being able to do many things is a something Koenninghopes to keep around as long as he's at UW.
"In two years when (Swanson's) gone, we're going to try to find someoneelse," Koenning said. "We want to keep that role because it's going to makethem play football on everything."