Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
By MEAD GRUVER Associated Press Writer
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) -- Wyoming puts a fresh defensive scheme and a new quarterback into play against Utah State on Saturday in a bid to end a six-game losing streak.
A year ago, the Cowboys were still flying high after their first winning season in five years and their first bowl win in 38 years.
This year's a different story, but Wyoming nonetheless has high hopes that junior Jacob Doss -- the team's first quarterback in six years who's not named Bramlet -- and a new three-four defensive scheme will help make last year's 4-7 finish a distant memory.
But coach Joe Glenn was planning to be patient as well. "We're not going to push the panic button. We've got a first-year quarterback and we've got to let him settle in, as they say in major league baseball, when a pitcher starts out," he said Thursday.
Doss succeeds Corey Bramlet, who succeeded his brother, Casey, in 2004.
"He's our guy and we'll go with him until he gets it done," Glenn said. "And I have every belief that he will come in and pitch a great game."
If the job doesn't get done on offense, Glenn said he'll look for special teams to score, "and play with our hair on fire on defense, and try to take advantage of field position, and try to figure out a way to win," he said.
Junior Michael Ford and senior Tyler Holden are the only experienced receivers returning this season; Jovon Bouknight, who led the Mountain West Conference in career reception yardage last year, graduated.
Others have stepped forward, however, including Hoost Marsh, a junior who will add receiving to his standout punt returning in 2004 and 2005. Sophomore running back Devin Moore has likewise added receiving to his running back duties.
"We have some guys that can make some big plays. Maybe it won't be one guy, but maybe four or five of them," Glenn said. "You don't just go out and replace Jovon."
On the ground, Glenn was looking for guys like sophomore Wynel Seldon to continue improving.
"We have refocused and we have got to make some money on the ground this year if we're going to have a good football team," Glenn said. "I'm anxious to see how we do running the football Saturday. I think we're pretty good but we've got to go out on the field and do it."
And then there's the Cowboys' new three-four defensive scheme that takes advantage of the team's depth at linebacker. "Our defense is athletic," Glenn said. "We've got a lot of good linebackers, we're pretty salty up front with the two-deep."
Wyoming faces a team that finished 3-8 last year, including a 1-6 finish, but is also optimistic about this year. Key to the Aggies' offense is quarterback Leon Jackson III, who last year tied the team rushing record even as he threw for more than 1,500 yards.
"The biggest thing I see now as opposed to a year ago when I was sitting here, is that we have a veteran quarterback and a guy who is confident," coach Brent Guy said.
Glenn has been wary not only about Jackson's running and passing abilities, but also that he's planning to punt.
"Is this guy a throwback or what?" he said. "In the old days, when I was a kid, they would have somebody come along, a guy could run, pass and kick. This guy, he's a throwback to that. You don't ever see a guy running and passing the ball, and now he's back in punt formation. I have a lot of respect for Leon Jackson III."
(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV-09-01-06 1132MDT