Year 18 Preview: Meet the 2030-31 Pokes
Watch the Cowboys tonight on Twitch but read about them here beforehand!
Welcome to another Wyoming roster preview to supplement the series about Coach Luke’s journey for peace and happiness in NCAA Football 14. For any new readers, feel free to check out the about page of the site to read about this whole project and catch up on the past installments. This preview is meant to give you a closer look at the team since there are so many players to know on a fictional football team.
The Cowboys are coming off the amazing feeling of winning the Mountain West Conference and temporarily branding it the Mostly Wyoming Conference. That feeling was not meant to last though. We lost many senior starters in the offseason and just don’t have the talent ready to replace them yet.
This season? It will be a lost season. It will be a forgettable season. It will be one that we close our eyes and look away and try to pretend it never happened. This isn’t about winning the conference nor even winning a minor bowl game. It’s about surviving, recruiting, keeping our job, and moving on to the next season.
Coach Luke is deciding to do something controversial as a result.
He’s called upon some star players who haven’t used their redshirt year yet and he’s asking them to do that now. The plan is to take a year and build up QB Lamont Collins and other young players and come back and win the MWC again in Year 19.
Regardless, we still have a team of football players that will step onto the field this year and try to not embarrass themselves. These are the players you should know.
Meet the Offense
The offense will be testing out a few things this year. The two main people redshirting are Toot Tutins at LG and Lamont Collins at QB. Aside from that, many of these players will still be part of the team in Year 19 when this team should turn a corner.
We’ve got some great young receivers and a speedy young halfback. As the team transitions to having a scrambling Lamont Collins behind center in the future, much of this season will be about testing out what works and what doesn’t work with a scrambling QB.
The Test Case: QB Charles Smith
When Charles Smith joined the Cowboys, he had visions of being the next Andrew Fountain, Darius Patterson or Kenneth Washington for Coach Luke. He knew he’d have to work his tail off to make that happen but he was a scrambling QB and he knew that Coach has a way of making that work. As a redshirt freshman, he’s getting that chance to shine under Coach Luke earlier than expected.
He knows he may not be the future answer though. A new star has been recruited and Lamont Collins is already getting more media attention than Charles Smith. The only thing Charles can do is just show up and do work and try to make people forget about Lamont Collins.
He also hopes to show enough promise as a runner that the team may consider him for halfback duties in the future if Lamont Collins takes the job over next year. Regardless, Charles Smith has the awkward position of being a bridge quarterback and one that will be testing out new playbooks for the team this year.
The Future: QB Lamont Collins
He won’t step out on the football field this year but Lamont Collins is the man everyone is talking about in Laramie. He’s already agreed to redshirt this season with the intention of taking over as the team’s leader next year. Is he the next great scrambler for Coach Luke? Or is he the next Rod Jackson?
We won’t know yet, but Lamont is someone to keep an eye on and remember for the years ahead. Get to know the name now.
Leader Of The Backs: HB Anthony Cox
If the team shifts to an offense that utilizes more read option, it will only be successful if there is a halfback who can handle the rock. Anthony Cox looks to be that man. In his sophomore season, he rates at 79 OVR and is the highest rated rusher on the team. There’s many new recruits breathing down his neck though so he hopes to have a big season and start to pull away so that he can be the star back for the years ahead.
Meet The Defense
The defense is missing names we’ve already become familiar with. MLB Tavares McBride is redshirting. FS Ahmad Benson is redshirting. Some of the new young recruits are redshirting. This year poses some problems as a result. Next year can’t come soon enough.
We have Howard Norman as our defensive coordinator but the task ahead is not an easy one for him. He has an interesting new prospect to groom though and an interesting weak link to overcome.
Big Meany: CB Derrick Means
Derrick Means didn’t known that he’d have an Akron legend grooming him when he came to Wyoming. Here we are though. Former cornerback Howard Norman joined the staff last year and immediately started working with Derrick Means on his technique. Derrick is now a freshman and, unlike other stars of this team, cannot redshirt this strange season. He’ll be out there and learning on the job and he hopes he can become the next great cornerback in this series. His coverage skills are elite and he will hopefully start to gain awareness and speed over the upcoming seasons.
The Unexpected Starter: SS Justin Allen
Justin Allen is a name you may never hear again after this season. He wasn’t a big recruit. It was a surprise he even made it through the past two cut days. Now he is a starting free safety.
Coach Luke shocked the team when he decided this would be a redshirt season for many players as the team retools and gets better. That meant star safety Ahmad Benson would be redshirting as well as many others in the secondary. When the dust cleared, a spot was still open and Justin Allen was thrust into it.
He is one of the lowest-rated players to ever grace a Coach Luke starting lineup. Could he be an underdog story or will he fail miserably and be cut in the offseason? We’ll find out soon!
Year 18 Overview
To get a more intimate look at the entire roster, you can check out the yearly roster spreadsheet here:
The chart below shows us as an 83 overall team that may be able to compete with most teams on our schedule. That chart is a lie. It doesn’t known who we are redshirting and how bad we might be. I think we’ll probably be more like 78 overall once the season starts.
I expect to close my eyes and get through this season as quick as possible and I’ll be happy if we get five wins. A bowl game is not in the cards this year. If any of that does happen, color me surprised.
Twitch stream tonight!
Here’s the deal! I am streaming on Tuesday and Friday night of this week. There’s a chance I may get through the whole Year 18 season tonight as I don’t expect it to be very exciting. If so, the start of Year 19 will be Friday.
Or, if this season turns out to be a nice little miracle, we’ll keep it going on Friday. Regardless, here is a link to my Twitch channel.
See you tonight or see you in the next newsletter soon.