Team preview: Wyoming

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(All information as of July 1, 2006)


They didn't hand out stick 'em with the uniforms and pads before Cowboys spring practice this year, but if they had, the point would've been well made.

After the momentum of their triumph at the 2004 Las Vegas Bowl (their first bowl appearance in 11 years and first bowl win in 38 years), the Cowboys started the 2005 campaign 4-1.

Then a funny thing -- so to speak -- happened to head coach Joe Glenn's team. The Cowboys players forgot how to handle the football. It all started with a seven-turnover debacle in a 28-14 loss to eventual league-champ TCU and spiraled out of control until Wyoming had lost its last six games and finished 111th in the nation in turnover margin. The Cowboys committed 32 turnovers, the most of any Mountain West team.

This year, the Cowboys have to keep possession of the ball, or they risk taking another step backwards after they followed their 7-5 2004 season with a 4-7 2005. Having accomplished almost everything he could at the NCAA Division I-AA level, Glenn took over the Cowboys' program to turn things around after a two-win fall in 2003. He didn't intend to watch his team fumble away its chances of becoming a perennial contender.

"[We have to] clean up on the turnover deal," assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Mike Breske said. "The last six games, we did not protect the football. And you get in trouble when you don't do that. We just have to have a better focus on not turning the ball over and protecting the football. And when we are in scenarios, that we can score."