The Cowboys may not have the name recognition of a team like UCLA, but that doesn't mean the game is any less important. In fact, Coach Mendenhall would tell you it's the most important game since it's a conference opponent. So, let's taking a look at the running backs and wide receivers Wyoming will field against the No. 11 BYU Cougars.
The Cowboys bring an experienced corps of wide receivers to Provo this Saturday.
"They have a collection of receivers that can give you a good look at a little bit of everything," said Cougar safety Kellen Fowler. "They have some guys with height as well as good quickness and agility."
One receiver that fits more of the taller mold is junior Greg Bolling, who comes in at 6-feet-2-inches and 185 pounds, and plays the Z-receiver position.
Meanwhile, X receiver Donate Morgan is in the mold of a quick and shifty wide receiver. Morgan is a 5-foot-11-inch, 185-pound junior, and Wyoming likes to use him more in the short passing game with slants, hook routes and quick passes in space to try and let him use his quickness to gain more yards after the catch.
"Depending on who they rotate to during the game, you could see any number of looks," Fowler said. "They seem to like the short passing game and try to roll the quarterback out of the pocket and create some time and space that way. They try to get the ball off to their guys and let them try and create some yards after the catch that way."
The scouting report coming out of Cougar camp is that the Cowboys will try and use their different wide receivers in various ways to attack the defense. Regardless, the Cougar secondary will line up and play their game in an attempt to challenge the Wyoming offense to beat their scheme and execution.
"Our defense won't change, and that doesn't come into play that much," Fowler said regarding adjusting to different offensive personnel. "The only time you'll see a difference in how we defend a player is when the ball is in the air and players may be trying to make up ground towards a specific offensive player. We as defensive backs just need to be physical, play them close and get our hands on the ball when the ball is in the air.
"We'll do our matchup zone defense where we're passing guys off. We're not necessarily just taking up an area on the field but relating off players, whether they're the inside guy, the outside guy or the slot receiver, so it is important for us to put a body on these guys - both the big, fast guys and the small, quick guys - to make sure they don't create separation and catch passes."
The Cowboys will look to establish the run against the Cougar defense behind two talented senior running backs that have a lot of experience. One is Wynel Seldon, who comes in at 6 feet and 217 pounds, and the other is Devin Moore, who comes in at 5 feet 10 inches and 191 pounds.
"They have two different backs that give you two different physical looks," Fowler said. "One is a more physical downfield runner in Wynel Seldon, and then Devin Moore is much more agile and has really, really good feet. He's a guy that can take a defense slightly out of position and expose them around the edge or gash them through a seam."
"They want to establish the run," said nose guard Russell Tialavea. "We've already talked about that. If the offensive line can open up a hole, the backs have the ability to make some moves and gain yards. We have to make sure to fill up all the gaps."
Through the legs of Wyoming running back Devin Moore, the Cowboys came back to defeat the Bisons of North Dakota by rolling off 16 unanswered points in the second half. Moore rushed for 145 yards and scored a touchdown.
"Yeah, both Seldon and Moore are guys that can hurt you," Fowler said. "Both are guys we have to keep an eye on and we have to contain them and make sure we keep them in front of you so there are no big plays being broken open in the run game."
"Their running backs are bad, man," Tialavea said. "I think they'll be some of the top running backs we'll be facing. They're really quick and have a lot of experience. They're shifty and we have to contain them."
BYU faced a similar style of runner to Moore in UNI's Corey Lewis, and Moore is also similar in style to former BYU running back Curtis Brown. However, Fowler said Moore might be even quicker than those other backs.
"[Lewis and Brown] seemed to be a steady every-down, going-to-get-you-some-yards-type runner," said Fowler. "Moore has the ability to get the big play that is very impressive, so we need to be sure we take away his big play."
"They like to rotate [Moore and Seldon] a lot," said Tialavea. "We've been going over plays and scheming for them, and it looks like they rotate them a lot. They're pretty good."
The safeties have to be careful not to get caught watching the play develop from behind the line of scrimmage. They must go through a quick key read in order to establish the point of attack.
"You have to go through your progressions on every play," said Fowler. "Get a run or pass read, find the point of attack and then focus first on getting off those blocks before you can do anything. When you're covering a route you get that run-pass read, and [when you] see that it's a pass you must first focus on the receiver and make sure you're in position with him before you can check down to see if the quarterback is looking. So as a defensive back you must first go through those progressions. [If you go through] any of those steps out of order, you open yourself up to big problems."
Fowler's Keys to Victory
"Just like last week, if we can win the turnover battle and get our offense into some decent field position and put some points on the board quick, I think it will be another good game," said Fowler. "When our opponent gets behind, that dictates to them the options they have on offense. If we can have some turnovers, I think we'll be in some great shape early on in the game."
Tialavea's Keys to Victory
"We have to stop the run," said Tialavea. "We have to stop the run and force their quarterback to beat us with the pass. Their quarterback is pretty good and he's a J.C. transfer, but they've been running the ball a lot and they've been successful in doing that."
After a woodshed performance by BYU over UCLA, the Cougars want to stay focused. Kellen Fowler talks about some of the reasons why the Cougars won't have an emotional letdown against Wyoming this Saturday.