The main thing that Dave Christensen is known for is his spread offense. After great success at Mizzou and the development of Chase Daniels and Jeremy Maclin it was hoped that the Pokes could could have great success with the gun slinging. Well the personnel that was recruited for Joe Glenn's grind it out offense that was headlined by the "Thunder and Lightning" of Devin Moore and Wynel Seldon did not blend well.
The result was an offense that scored 10 or less points six times (all losses) and ended up just barely over 2,000 yards passing on the season. Starting a number of true freshman in skill positions bodes well for the experience of the team and several newcomers are expected to inject some much needed pop into the offense.
If you haven't heard of Austyn Carta-Samuels then probably don't know much about Wyoming Football but that is ok, keep reading and you will learn. The keyboard friendlier "ACS" won Mountain West Freshman of the Year honors and MVP of the New Mexico Bowl. After winning the starting gig after splitting the snaps for the first three games with Robert Benjamin the Pokes really stepped up under ACS. He showed a flare for the dramatic and last guiding last minute victories.
A true duel threat QB the no fear kid from Cali has speed that kills if he sees open field in front him. Last year he compiled 1953 yards and 10 touchdowns and 366 yards on the ground plus 3 scores. He even caught a 30 yard pass for a touchdown. After putting on some weight this off season except big things about the sophomore captain.
If the Pokes get up big in a game we may see Dax Crum for a few plays and the coveted "Wild Crum" formation.
Alvester Alexander split time at tailback last year but saved his best for last as he would with 137 yards on 12 carries as well as scoring the first touchdown of the New Mexico Bowl. It seemed like Alexander would have the starting job sealed up heading into his freshman year but true freshman Nehemie Kankolongo grabbed a number of reps with the first squad during the Spring and Fall practices. Kankolongo has dealt with some knee injuries but looks to be gaining his strength. Alexander is the starter for the season opener though with Kankolongo sitting out the first game due to a one game suspension for violating team rules.
James Davis currently has the #2 spot behind Alexander but he is some what of an unknown commodity. After being a highly ranked recruit out of California Davis bounced around the roster and missed a season due to blowing out his knee. Now his Junior year Davis has yet to play a snap off college football.
Someone to keep your eye on his true freshman Robert Herron who can play WR and RB for the Pokes. Herron is a slick runner that makes tacklers miss without wasting too much energy on juke moves. Could be a big threat on end arounds or catching the ball out of the backfield.
The true key to a spread offense is having receivers who can actually "spread" the field and open up passing options or running lanes for the QB or running back. That wasn't always the case last season as ACS was able to only average 10.22 yards per completion and 6 yards per attempt. It wasn't the case of lack of arm strength but lack of speed on the receivers end to break away and pose a threat down the field.
Coach Christensen implements a rotation of eight to nine wide receivers throughout the game to keep the players fresh and defense on their toes.
Mr. Reliable was David Leonard who will be a senior this year looks to build off his 77 catch season that totaled 705 yards. Leonard is 6-4, 211 and an easy target to hit. With the addition of few key pieces the Pokes will now have more weapons that will put pressure on opposing defensive backs and allow Leonard to make every more plays.
Casper native Zach Bolger is also a senior and the second leading receiver on the team but was 49 receptions and nearly 400 yards behind Leonard. Jonathon Aiken and Mazi Ogbonna are the newcomers are going to stretch the field and hopefully make your jaw drop a few times this season. Aiken is built similar to Leonard but much quicker and has no problem going for balls in the air. Ogbonna has nice speed and is expected to put some pressure on the secondary with his deep routes.
Travis Burkhalter completes the trifecta of Senior receivers and had over 200 yards receiving last year. Burkhalter will rotate in with Chris McNeill, Brandon Miller and Dejay Lester. Lester was teammates with Ogbonna at Snow College before they both signed with UW last winter. He was slowed during practice due to a concussion seems to have regained his confidence.
TJ Smiith looks to be the hybrid TE this year with David Tooley dealing with a one game suspension and trying fully recover from a nasty tear incurred in the Border War last year.