"I think the word that I feel about this year's team with Wyoming and football is excited," Glenn said in a press conference that concluded the event. "That word just keeps coming up in my heart and in my mind. When people ask me about anything in our football program, I feel that excitement."
Undoubtedly, one of the big reasons behind that excitement is the confidence that Glenn has in returning starting quarterback Karsten Sween.
"A year ago we sat right here and had high hopes and ended up playing some pretty good football," Glenn said. "But when you enter a season without any starts at quarterback in a college football game, it's a little tough."
After routing WAC opponent Utah State in the season opener of 2006, the Cowboys struggled through their next four contests. A big part of the team's difficulties early on revolved around quarterback play, where starter Jacob Doss battled through interception problems and seemed to lack the kind of spark Wyoming was looking for.
Half-way through their fifth game of the season at Syracuse--and already with a 1-3 record--the UW coaches decided it was time to make a change.
"We didn't find our stride really until we found the guy that we put in at quarterback. It was not until the Syracuse game that we installed a fresh new quarterback, and I'm not putting anything on Jake Doss. I thought he played admirably and worked hard, but at the quarterback spot, you just have to have that little extra, and Karsten Sween brought us that little extra."
Sween engineered a brilliant second-half comeback against the Orange, throwing for 201 yards and two scores, including a game-tying TD strike with 5 seconds left in regulation. The Cowboys lost the game in overtime, but Glenn knew they had found their quarterback.
Sween led the team to five wins over their final seven games, including a 31-15 thumping of Utah on homecoming night and a 24-0 blowout against Colorado State the following week.
"I think our talent level is such now that I think our kids and our coaches feel like we can line up with anybody in the United States and play ball and get a victory," Glenn said.
Still, the Mountain West Conference's media pollsters aren't buying Glenn's confident words, and the Cowboys were picked to finish sixth of nine teams in league play in 2007.
"They made us mad again," Glenn said. "Last year they picked us last and we finished third in the league. This year they picked us fifth, so if we move up six spots from fifth, we should finish one ahead of the champions."
Complementing Sween's play on offense will be Wyoming's two returning halfbacks, Wynel Seldon and Devin Moore. Seen by many as the best running back tandem in the Mountain West, the two are about as different as Wyoming's first five games of 2006 were from their last seven.
"Thunder and Lightning," Glenn calls them, and for good reason. At 6-feet, 218 pounds, Seldon is a bruising powerful back. As a freshman, he rushed for 871 yards and a phenomenal 11 touchdowns. Last year, working in a running-back-by-committee set and splitting carries with Moore and senior Joseph Harris, his numbers dropped to 610 yards and one score. Still, Seldon is a load for opposing defenses to take down and coaches had good things to say about the improvement the punishing runner made this off-season.
Moore, conversely, seems almost the antithesis of his comrade in the backfield. At 5-foot-10, 190 pounds, he may be the fastest man on the team and proved last year to have elusive skills as runner, posting an incredible 7.2 yards per carry.
The receiving corps will be no less experienced entering the '07 season, with 2006 leading receiver Michael Ford returning, along with fellow seniors Hoost Marsh and tight end Wade Betschart.
Glenn had good things to say about sophomore wide-out Greg Bolling, who was almost uncoverable in this year's spring game.
"You're going to see some stuff from Greg Bolling that you're going to love," Glenn said. "He's a fun guy to watch."
The offensive linemen—whose inexperience has lately been the subject of much media scrutiny—were defended ardently by their teammates during player interviews this morning. Both Bolling and Moore called the unit the "strength of the offense."
"They've been working their butts off," Bolling said. "I mean, I know they're so young, but they've been in the weight room after hours doing things that other people weren't doing."
"A lot of people feel like they're young and inexperienced," Moore added, "and that may be true. They may be young and they may be inexperienced, but they are some athletes. They're strong. We've got a couple guys squatting over 550 and benching over 400. With that being said, man, that's competing with a lot of teams in the nation, with some big teams in the nation."
Still, Glenn expressed concerns during his press conference.
"It's the hardest place in the world," he said of the position. "You can't hide a guy there, so that's an area where we have to come along."
As positive as coaches and players are about the Cowboys' offense, the strength of the team may be on the defensive end, where the Pokes return three linebackers and both starting cornerbacks from a year ago.
"Our defense played brilliantly all year long and finished ninth in the nation in total defense," Glenn said about last year's squad.
Leading the group will be 6-foot, 230-pound inside linebacker Ward Dobbs, who posted 69 tackles and three sacks a year ago.
"I still say the strength of our team is our defensive linebackers," Glenn said. "I see that as the strength of our defense."
However, he added, cornerbacks Julius Stinson and Michael Medina had great off-seasons. "Those are two guys that just go, go, go. They've always got it going in practice, and they're just fun guys to be around."
"Julius just makes play after play after play," he said, "and Mike is just sensational in his leadership qualities and in his abilities to cover the deep pass and make plays."
Glenn expressed confidence in the more inexperienced positions on the team as well. He especially praised the defensive line, where the Cowboys substituted so much in 2006 that Glenn said this year's new starters probably have more experience than people give them credit for.
The safety squad, while somewhat inexperienced in its own right, and faced with the daunting task of replacing Dorsey Golston (who led the team in interceptions in 2006) and NFL rookie John Wendling, shows depth, with starters Michael Ray and Quincy Rogers getting support from redshirt freshman Chris Prosinski.
The new faces in the Cowboys' starting lineups will need to adjust to their new roles quickly, with the team facing a tough six-week stretch to open the season that will feature Virginia in the first game of the year on September 1. That will be followed by Utah State, Boise State and Ohio over the next three weeks, with TCU coming to Laramie October 6.
"We need to come out of the blocks obviously a little better than we did a year ago," Glenn said, "but we're right there, if we get a quick start on them."
"I always say this, you can't be 12-0 until you're 1-0, and we need a good start this year."
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