Two guys named Casey

Tennessee quarterback Casey Clausen is sure to give Wyoming some problems in Saturday's season opener but Cowboy QB Casey Bramlet will be no day at the beach for Vol defenders, either.

Like Clausen, Bramlet is big and strong (6-4, 220 pounds) with an accurate arm and decent mobility. He ranked 14th nationally in total offense (277.1 yards per game) as a sophomore last year, helping Wyoming rank 15th nationally in passing offense (282.4 yards per game).

''He does a great job throwing the football,'' Vol defensive coordinator John Chavis said recently. ''He's got a lot of poise, a lot of confidence. He doesn't have tremendous speed but he can make people miss. He can move around in the pocket. He can throw as a great dropback passer or, if they want to get him on the edge, he can throw the ball well out there.''

Vol defensive end Karlton Neal has seen enough of the Cowboys' QB on film to agree.

''They've got a fine quarterback,'' he said. ''They've got a couple of receivers who are 6-5 and the quarterback's 220 pounds, so we're going to have to match up and find out how we're going to bring these guys down.

''He (Bramlet) knows how to get himself out of bad situations. He reminds me of (former LSU star) Rohan Davey. He knows how to get himself out of bad situations. He'll get rid of the ball any way he has to. He's accurate, too. If you let him sit back there, he will pick you apart.''

Given the success Bramlet had last season, plus the return of standout receivers Ryan McGuffey (65 catches, 751 yards in 2001) and Malcolm Floyd (53 catches, 790 yards), you'd figure the Cowboys will come out throwing Saturday. Maybe not, though.

''You don't know quite what to expect,'' Chavis said. ''Their offensive coordinator left. The two guys who are running the offense were on the staff last year, so you don't know what wrinkles will be different. But they did a great job of moving the ball last year.''

Because the passing game generally produces more big plays than the running game, Chavis was asked if he's a little wary about the possibility of facing an all-out aerial assault in Game 1.

''You can't control what they do,'' he said. ''You can only control what we do. Whether it's throwing or running, we've got to be ready to play and able to adjust as the game goes on. It really doesn't matter. In football today, you aren't going to find many teams that aren't throwing the ball. It's turned into that kind of game. That's what the fans want to see. They want to see quarterbacks who put the ball in the air and receivers making big plays. Hopefully, we won't allow too many big plays.''


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