September 9, 1998
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Robbie Duncan, a starting cornerback for the UW football team, is looking for more of the same from himself and the rest of his defensive teammates as the 1998 season kicks off.The 1997 Wyoming defense, on which Duncan was the starting boundary cornerback, was not only among the best in school history, but was among the best in the nation last season. Their pass defense was the best in school history, ranked #6 in the NCAA, and the Poke defenders also intercepted a school record 24 passes.Duncan, from Killeen, Texas, was a key component in the Cowboy's defensive equation last season, starting all 13 games, leading the WAC in passes broken up with 16, recording one sack, intercepting one pass and ranking seventh on the team with 51 total tackles. So, Robbie Duncan returns as a junior in 1998 having started every game of his career, 25 straight games, as arguably the best cover man in the WAC, and as a leading candidate for All-WAC honors this season. What are he and his teammates expecting from this season? "I expect our defense to perform as well as, and then better than last season," says Duncan. "The better than being that this season we are aiming for the WAC Championship, a bowl game, and personally I want to be All-WAC. I intend to lead the team by just playing my role the best I can. Every game will be important for us, and we believe that every team on our schedule is beatable. This team really has the desire to win." Duncan, who turns 23 on September 21, did not play football right away out of high school. He was drafted to play baseball by the Atlanta Braves and played as a left-handed outfielder in their minor league system for two years, with the likes of current major leaguers Andruw Jones and Tony Graffanino. But Robbie missed playing football, and decided to play for the Cowboys in 1996."My age really isn't an advantage," says Duncan. "Several of my teammates are almost the same age as me due to redshirts and other situations. The one advantage that I do have from playing baseball is that I'm used to playing in front of large crowds. So when we travel, a large opposing crowd doesn't bother me."Aside from his starting duties as a cornerback, Duncan might also be looked to by the Cowboy coaching staff to return punts for the team in 1998. Duncan is very sure-handed and has outstanding speed, making him a prime candidate for the position. The only doubt is a hand injury that kept Duncan out of spring practices, and that he recently reinjured in practice."The injury won't affect me at cornerback," says Robbie, "But, it might keep me from returning punts till it heals fully. Returning punts is the hardest job on the football field, but it's a good opportunity for me and I want to do it. I really think I can help our offense by getting them better field position."I'm ready to go. It's been a long time since we played our last game and we've put in a lot of work over the summer, so we're ready to start the season."So, despite the loss of All-American Brian Lee and several others from an incredible Cowboy defense in 1997, don't look for any drop-off this year. Robbie Duncan and his teammates have the desire and talent necessary to not only continue playing great defense but to improve and shoot for higher levels.