Two Tickets to the Gunslinger Show

Adam Barry hasn't even left California, but he's already pushing Karsten Sween in at least one area this offseason…

Karsten Sween's biggest competition in the weight room this offseason has come in the form of a mark set by former UW quarterback Corey Bramlet.

But that will change when freshman signal caller Adam Barry arrives on campus this summer.

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound California native has already bench pressed 335 pounds, just 15 pounds shy of the Wyoming quarterback record set by Sween this offseason when he passed Bramlet's previous mark of 345.

And neither Barry nor Sween appears content to let the numbers stay where they're at.

"It would be nice (to pass 350)," Barry said during his visit to Laramie last Saturday to watch the Cowboys' first spring scrimmage.

The Moorpark High School senior said he has been putting in extra time in the weight room since football season ended, and if things go according to plan, he'll be benching more than 350 when he arrives in Wyoming in June.

But that doesn't necessarily mean he'll get his name up on the Pokes' weight room wall. That is, not if Sween has anything to say about it.

"Tell him he's got to keep chasing me because I'm going to keep getting stronger," Sween said. "I'd like to get maybe 365 this summer."

Either way, the two gunslingers will come into Wyoming's fall camp as the strongest of the team's five quarterbacks, and that's something Sween said is important.

"You got to have that. I mean, in Division I, you're going to take some hits," he said. "There was a weight coach for UCLA called Doc, and he said that muscle is your body's armor. It's what helps you get through stuff, so I think Adam's where he needs to be. He's pretty strong, (and) I came in pretty strong."

But strength isn't the only thing the two quarterbacks have in common.

"The first similarity you see is that both love to get out and get physical," recruiting analyst Brandon Huffman said in an email this week.

Huffman watched both Sween and Barry compete at the high school level, and he said neither seems to mind getting hit.

"But deeper than that, both have very good arms," Huffman added. "That was what immediately stood out to me about Barry; he can gun it."

Barry threw for 2,459 yards and 16 touchdowns against six interceptions last season. As a senior at Burroughs High School in Ridgecrest, Calif. in 2004, Sween led the state in passing, piling up 4,345 yards and 46 touchdowns against seven interceptions.

But on the field in high school, Huffman said the two actually played a much more similar game than the numbers might indicate.

"Sween probably had better touch coming out of high school, and he was in an offense that was more catered to his throwing and abilities," Huffman said. "Barry didn't get a chance to really put the ball in the air until his senior year once (running back) Darrell Scott was gone. Barry, though, just needs a chance to throw and he'll show that he's got similar quarterbacking qualities as Sween."

Heading into the 2008 season, Sween has at least one clear advantage over the freshman, however: he has had the chance to learn the Cowboys' new playbook while working with the team, rather than studying it alone, like Barry.

"I'm really happy (with where I'm at). I felt really good today," Sween said after finishing the first spring scrimmage 2-of-7 for 26 yards and a touchdown. "I went out there and I felt like I could remind guys of the snap, get the play off, get all the little things (down)…I felt like I could get everything together, and I felt like I led the huddle very well today.

"I didn't have any questions."

But even when he has them, Sween is generally within shouting distance of new offensive coordinator Bob Cole, and he has the luxury of putting the answers into practice with teammates on the field. Barry, on the other hand, is taking Cole's playbook in sections and asking most of his questions over the phone.

"I've had (the playbook) for about six weeks," he said. "That's kind of the first chunk of it. It's going to keep coming in…as I continue to learn it.

"It's a lot different (from his high school playbook). It's a whole different game and whole different story once you get into all the stuff."

Barry said he throws three times a week with a camp he's in, and he has been trying to work a few of Cole's plays into his practices. Still, he's not sure how long it will take him to get a handle on everything after he gets to Wyoming.

"Hopefully it'll be sooner," he said. "That would be great. Right now, for me, it's just getting all the basic concepts down and just (understanding) what guys are on the field, what routes they're going to be running.

"When I get here it's going to be easier when (I'm) actually visually out here and throwing to guys."

In the meantime, he said he'll keep hitting the weights.

Just like Sween.


The two quarterbacks got off to a friendly start on Saturday.

"He went to our meetings this morning," Sween said of Barry, "and we're going to actually go to dinner tonight, me, him and my wife and his family.

"We're going to have a good time and get to talking. I'm sure he's real anxious to learn about all the stuff. I know I was."

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