Year 19 Preview: Meet the 2031-32 Pokes
The Cowboys season starts tonight and this team has lots of talent but needs to overcome a young QB.
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.
We made it through Year 18 of Coach Luke’s career. It wasn’t easy to watch but it was the best thing we could have done for the future of Wyoming. We tanked the season and somehow got a contract extension after it was all over. We can now reap the benefits of that sacrifice as we have a very talented team from top to bottom.
The offensive line is solid. The receivers are great. The quarterback is young and a future star. The defense has studs in the front seven as well as in the secondary. On paper, this seems like a team that should win the conference and maybe even sneaks into a high BCS ranking by the end of the season.
There’s cause for concern though. Coach Luke had written off the concept of having a scrambling quarterback in the past after some drama with Rod Jackson but here we are again. We have a young star freshman QB but he loves to run. Is this going to make our receivers irrelevant? Is he going to be too turnover prone? Are we going to suck because of one bad apple?
We shall find out. Let’s meet the team.
Meet the Offense
There are only three seniors on this team and there are replacements in place behind them so this is an offense that will only get better over the next few seasons. It may be a work in progress this year though because of the youth. The problem with youthful teams in NCAA Football 14 is that they haven’t built up the Awareness skill in the game yet. That skill ends up being an x-factor in many situations.
We will be running a spread offense this year to hopefully take advantage of our speed. The problem with that is that we may not utilize our receivers to their fullest potential. That is yet to be seen though.
King of Laramie: QB Lamont Collins
Lamont was talked about in last year’s preview but he is getting a rare second look just because I want to highlight what his skills look like after a year of redshirting. The good news is that he has a really high Awareness for a freshman. It won’t be long before he maxes that out to 99 and we reap the benefits for it. The hope is that he will boost his throwing skills to above 90 soon too.
This year, we will likely see our young star running the ball and trying to make things happen with his legs and on playaction passes. The scrambling QB experiment has begun again.
Forgotten Men: WRs Jeff Mooney & Joe Thomas
Jeff Mooney was one of the star recruits for Coach Luke and he chose the program because of their Air Raid offense and how they utilized receivers so well. To say that he was unhappy with the offensive shift in the past year would be an understatement. Coach Luke has tried to find ways to keep Mooney happy and has ensured him that this will all work out. If Mooney doesn’t get involved in the offense this year, he may find himself wanting to leave Wyoming sooner than we all expected. He’s an important piece and Coach Luke needs to design plays that allow him to shine.
Joe Thomas has found a way to make plays since his freshman year and he quickly became a Coach Luke favorite. He will be playing out of the slot this year because of his elite route-running skills and acceleration. If he can work on increasing his Awareness, he could become one of the most feared receivers in the nation. Like Jeff Mooney, he’s worried about the direction of the offense and is hoping that Lamont Collins can find his way as a passer this season.
Meet The Defense
The defense is our strength this year. DC Howard Norman has a ton of tools to work with and the defense is rated 92 overall coming into the season. There are only two seniors in the lineup so this is a defense that will only get better as well. The secondary is stout and led by Ahmad Benson while the linebackers have tons of talent and are led by Tavares McBride.
With a few star freshman in the lineup, it will be interesting to see whether this defense can become as feared as the old Akron Zips defenses used to be.
The Big Personality: DE Marky Mark
Mike “Marky” Mark isn’t afraid to make a scene. When he was in high school, one of his friends told him about Mark Wahlberg’s hip hop group called Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch. Mike started calling himself Mikey Mark and doing hip hop dances after every sack. He loved the Marky Mark persona though and decided to just legally change his name once he turned 18 years old. He wants the spotlight and wants his unique name to get the world’s attention at all times. Now that he’s a freshman on this up-and-coming team, he’ll get that spotlight and get a chance to become one of the country’s top defensive players.
The Insurance Man: MLB Brandon Campbell
Brandon Campbell wasn’t supposed to be a key player for the team but he had a bit of a breakout campaign in the team’s “lost” season last year. Brandon got the NCAA Defensive Player of the Week in the middle of the season after a two-interception performance. It was by far his best game of the year though. Coaches have been left wondering if that was a mirage or the real Brandon Campbell. He gets at least one more chance to serve as starting linebacker this year and we will get to see whether he is a flash in the pan or a future star.
Year 19 Overview
To get a more intimate look at the entire roster, you can check out the yearly roster spreadsheet here:
This is the year we’ve been waiting for. In Year 17, we surprised the world by winning a conference championship. That team was led by a gaggle of senior players that Coach Luke did not recruit. They were rated 88 OVR as a team. This year’s team is almost all Coach Luke recruits and young star players and rates at 90 OVR. There’s lots of excitement and buzz about this being the start of the next Coach Luke dynasty.
There are only two teams rated higher than us on our schedule. Does that mean a 10-2 regular season? Maybe! It’s hard to say as we’ve struggled at times in games that we are supposed to win and surprised in games that we are supposed to lose. I am very confused and curious about what this team can do this year but I’m hoping for another MWC championship and double-digit win season.
Twitch stream tonight!
As I mentioned in a post earlier today, I am streaming this season on Twitch and at least going live on Friday and Tuesday. Here is a link to my Twitch channel. We may be able to get through the whole season in just those two streams. I may do more streams. I’m not sure! Check out the Discord for more info about scheduling but I’ll try to send out an update if there are any other surprise streams mixed in here.
I’m very excited about this season and hope to see you on Twitch if you can make it!