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Getting To Know A Cowboy: Five Questions With Cowboy Altitude

In this week's battle of the bottom feeders, Wyoming takes on UNLV. That game is Saturday, with a 12:00 M.T. kickoff and will be televised on both The Mtn. and CBS Sports if you're interested in watching the game. Not that you would be, that is unless you are a UNLV or Wyoming fan.

Anyways, I was in contact this week with Matt Hargleroad over at Cowboy Altitude this week and we were able to get a question and answer session done. You can read my responses to his questions here if you like. As far Matt's responses and my questions for him, here they are.

1. Wyoming's defense is giving up 34 points per game this season even though they haven't been playing competition of too much quality. Why has Wyoming struggled on defense so far this season?

Uh, good question.  Wyoming fans have been wondering the same thing.  First the secondary struggled and then the run stopping suffered.  The secondary collapse can be attributed to losing three starters from last year.  The run defense has been weak against very strong rushing teams like Nebraska and Utah State.  The team is still in just it's second year of switching to the 4-3 defense and losing the entire defensive line from 2009.  The d-line is still undersized as DE's Gabe Knapton and Josh Biezuns are converted linebackers.

2. So far on the season Ghaali Muhammed has averaged eight yards a carry, but has 20 less carries than Alvester Alexander, who is averaging 4.5 yards per carry. Is there a reason that Dave Christensen hasn't been giving Muhammed the ball more often?

I've noticed the same thing and certainly think Muhammad needs more carries.  The reason he may be getting less carries is the fact that he is on the kick return team and also plays on special teams.  He was a special teams star as a freshmen and then played linebacker last year.  So he is willing to play whereever he is needed most right now.  I do think that Muhammad and Alexander should get the majority of the carries because Brandon Miller hasn't been effective against FBS teams.

 3. The Wyoming offense is scoring at a good pace, 28.2 points per game, but it seems like the offense hasn't done too well in the past couple of games against Nebraska and Utah State. Is there a reason for the recent dip in the Cowboys' offensive production?

The last two games there have been points left on the board by going for it on fourth down in the redzone.  The Pokes still wouldn't have won either game if they had a field goal but it would have raised their scoring average.  The score in the Utah State game was embarassing but their offense and defense ranks as one of the best in the nation.  The Aggies were just a few missed plays from being 4-0 before facing Wyoming.  The offense hadn't averaged more then 20 points per game since 2005 so we are just happy to be north of 25 points at this point in the season and hope it stays that way.

4. The Cowboys have had some major trouble in stopping the running game in their past two games against Nebraska and Utah State, giving up over 300 yards on the ground in both. What are the adjustments Coach Christensen is making to account for this?

Christensen is making some moves to try and put more size on the defensive line.  Gabe Knapton is moving from tackle to end where he played last year and Ben Durbin who take over at tackle.  Durbin is bigger then Knapton and then Miraldo Michel (286lbs) will backup Durbin.  Korey Jones (225lbs) is moving from DE to linebacker where he should be more productive.  Adding more size up front should certainly help things at the line of scrimmage and stop so many running lanes from being opened up.

5. Wyoming is 3-2 so far on the season and needs to get to 7-5 in order to reach a bowl game. With only three games remaining against the lower tier of the MWC, could you see the Cowboys possibly pulling off an upset and making it to a bowl game this season?

Wins over UNLV, New Mexico and Colorado State are required for the Pokes to even sniff a bowl game. Still they will need to get an upset on the road over Air Force or San Diego State.  Right now I like our chances against the Falcons more.  The two teams always play each close and this year Air Force doesn't seem quite as strong as they were the last two years.  Wyoming has had plenty of practice playing option teams this year so hopefully that will pay off and they can shut down Air Force.

Predict the score!

Going with Wyoming 34 UNLV 21 in this one.


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