cowboys corner

The news of Brent Vigen becoming the next head coach at Montana State will receive adamant rejoice from many in the High Plains. The long-time University of Wyoming offensive coordinator and quarterback coach’s time had slightly soured in Laramie.

Fans wanted something new and something fresh. They craved a new voice in brown and gold offensive huddles.

And their jubilation is somewhat well-founded. The Pokes’ offense had appeared dreadful for most of the season and largely ineffective over the last couple of years.

Just this past season — granted it was a very janky season to say the least — Wyoming was near the bottom of FBS in many offensive statistical categories. The Cowboys ranked 82nd in total offense. They checked in at 113th in passing offense and 118th in third-down percentage.

But in all fairness, this past season was quirky. That being said, was Vigen’s output more of the same or out of the ordinary? More of the same, really.

In 2019, UW was 106th in total offense, 123rd in passing offense and surprisingly 32nd in third-down percentage. In 2018, similar story, 118th in total offense, 124th in passing offense and 93rd in third-down percentage.

Honestly, it’s somewhat shocking that Vigen lasted as long as he did. He had 18 years of tenure with head coach Craig Bohl working in his favor. That’ll build up some equity.

In review, Wyoming struggled mightily to move the ball, particularly through the air and couldn't move the sticks on third down. A breath of fresh offensive air can only help. If there’s any worry, rest assured, the offense can’t get too much worse.

But Vigen wasn’t all bad. His seven years in Laramie weren’t all atrocious.

Contrary to what’s led to recent success for UW football — a strong defense — Vigen helped mask a bad defense in 2017. That was the year Wyoming won the Mountain West Conference Mountain Division behind a potent offensive.

Vigen had a hand in getting Josh Allen to Wyoming. Once here, Vigen helped Allen become the player that would later be drafted seventh overall and finish as an NFL MVP finalist.

It will be interesting to see what happens with Wyoming’s offense under new offensive coordinator Tim Polasek. He comes to Laramie from Iowa where he was the offensive line coach.

Will Polasek modernize Wyoming’s offense? Will the Pokes spread it out more or remain a ground-and-pound team?

What will Polasek be able to do for the quarterbacks? Will Sean Chambers grow as a thrower? Will Levi Williams look more comfortable under center?

There are many questions that come with new offensive minds in the room. For all of Vigen’s faults, he had a successful stint at UW, so much so that he landed a head coaching job at a prominent FCS program.

It seems like a win-win situation for all. Vigen got out and to greener pastures while his coaching seat was warming rapidly, and Wyoming gets to inject some new blood into a stagnant offense.


Pokes Notes

University of Wyoming wrestler, Stephen Buchanan, was honored as the Big 12 Wrestler of the Week. He defeated the No. 1-ranked wrestler in the nation, Noah Adams, of West Virginia.

Derek Frazier was named the new offensive line coach. He comes to Laramie after holding the assistant offensive line coaching job with the New York Jets.

Bud Denega, former sports reporter at The Sheridan Press, is a graduate of the University of Wyoming and currently works as assistant sports information director at Northwestern State University. He is pursuing a masters degree in sports administration.

Cowboys Corner columnist

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