Craig Bohl adapts Wyoming program as Cowboys face changing landscape | national
LARAMIE — Craig Bohl’s post-season vacation idea doesn’t involve putting your toes in the water or your back in the sand.
Usually there is a cold beer in his hand.
“Usually after a game of bowling I’m back on my Nebraska farm watching the cattle and having a few beers with my dad,” Bohl said.
That wasn’t the case after Wyoming‘s 52-38 win over Kent State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Dec. 21.
After the Cowboys’ disappointing 7-6 end to the season, many of the stars of the bowling game began flooding the NCAA transfer portal.
So far, 11 players — including the two starting quarterbacks, the team’s top rusher, the team’s top receiver and four defensive starters — have left the UW seeking transfers to other programs.
Even though Bohl said he expected “90%” of transfers to go through the portal, the coaching staff returned from Boise to offices inside the High Altitude Performance Center to regroup and attempt to reload the list.
“During this time there have been a lot of evaluations,” Bohl said. “We were in this office working on all these positions. So it took a while, but we were happy to do it. And from my point of view, this will give us the opportunity to move forward.
The Cowboys have added five transfers this cycle and signed a recruiting class of 17 men in 2022.
Bohl indicated that the UW is “within” the 85 scholarship limit programs due again in 2022. He also expects more departures after spring training.
“There will be a few guys who come into my office after spring and tell me they’ve lost the love for the game and they’re breaking down and crying,” Bohl said. “OK, whatever, I’ve heard that speech 50,000 times. Thank you. Or maybe a guy who doesn’t start (wants to leave).
“I don’t think there will be tons of attrition. I like where we are.
“We are at an inflection point”
Despite Bohl’s old-school reputation and blunt public comment – some fans and former players took issue with his insinuation that Sean Chambers and Levi Williams weren’t allowed to pass anymore because they were throwing hitch routes from base ‘in the dirt’ during practice – UW’s ninth-year coach is adjusting to the dramatic new landscape of college football.
Bohl’s peers elected him president of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) last month and the group spent a lot of time discussing the name, image and likeness (NIL) and rule single transfer during his convention in San Antonio.
The SEC signed nine of the FBS’ top 20 recruiting classes in the 2022 cycle. That number is 11 if you count Texas and Oklahoma, which are leaving the Big 12 for the SEC.
Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher, who landed the No. 1 recruiting class by consensus, used his signing day press conference to lament rumors that the Aggies would have 30 million NIL silver dollars to attract players to College Station, Texas.
“To have coaches in our league and across this league to say it, clown acts,” Fisher said. “Irresponsible as it can be. Several coaches in our league. And the guys who don’t care about NIL and the transfer portal use it the most and brag about it the most. That’s the ironic part.
A handful of UW football players have signed NIL deals, according to Bohl.
The UW Athletic Department has established a Group License Agreement to help athletes, in all 17 sports, pursue NIL opportunities using the school’s official marks and logos.
Bohl said this the very day that Fisher declaimed:
“We’re talking about a two-ton gorilla where all of a sudden there’s a cash stash where a school has $30 million loaded right now and they’re going to be the New York Yankees,” Bohl said. . “Wyoming is not going to enter this market. It’s not who we are. We don’t have those resources, but that’s not who we are. I think we will continue to explore to see what we can do for our players and venture into it. Part of it will be education, part of it will be trial and error.
“We’re probably half a step behind some other people, but I’m perfectly comfortable with that.”
The NCAA doesn’t seem to have much of an appetite for reining in the unregulated world of the NIL, as the organization hopes Washington DC politicians will enact uniform national legislation.
Bohl is that more optimistic parameters can be placed on the transfer portal, with players still allowed to move freely at specific times of the year, such as between the end of the season and the start of fall camp, instead of a free-for all year round. -all.
“This is from the AFCA: coaches are looking for direction, coaches are looking for vision and coaches are looking for a clear path forward. And the same goes for student-athletes,” Bohl said. “Right now we are at an inflection point. I coached 39 years, I’ve never seen us as disjointed as we are. I have been a head coach for 19 years.
“We have to have a plan here because right now we are rudderless.”
“We must stay true to who we are”
Bohl’s development program produced some impressive NFL successes, including Josh Allen’s meteoric rise with the Buffalo Bills.
But four of UW’s transfers — wide receiver Isaiah Neyor (Texas), running back Xazavian Valladay (Arizona State) and cornerbacks CJ Coldon (Oklahoma) and Azizi Hearn (UCLA) — landed on Power 5 programs.
“I think it would be a faux pas on my part to say it’s not going to happen,” Bohl said of losing more players in the future to bigger conferences. “I believe we’ve developed a program enough that our guys here, we’re going to show them that they can get a meaningful degree, play in a big conference, and have a shot at playing in the NFL. We have proven ourselves in this area. »
Bohl said he will continue to recruit unheralded high school players like Logan Wilson, Casper’s kid who will wear the state flag on his bandana and thigh guards while playing for the Cincinnati Bengals in the Next week’s Super Bowl.
UW will also continue to sign and develop out-of-state talent like Neyor, who returns to the Lone Star State after being passed over by the Longhorns out of high school.
“Sometimes guys think the grass is greener or maybe they want to play closer to home. We’re going to have some of that,” Bohl said. “But you know what? We can’t worry about the lion in the bush. We must stay true to who we are. We’re going to give out a few scholarships every year to address that.
The gate door is open in both directions.
The Cowboys signed three Power 5 transfers – Michigan State linebacker Cole DeMarzo, Wisconsin cornerback Deron Harrell and Mississippi cornerback Jakorey Hawkins – four-star prep prospects who would never have considered UW out of high school.
Now DeMarzo will try to use that second chance to follow the same path to pros as Wilson and Chad Muma.
Bohl was asked if there was a part of him that enjoyed identifying and verifying transfers from the vast Portal Pool that were suitable for Pokes.
“I felt like I was in the NFL in the player personnel department,” Bohl said. “What became apparent was the attractiveness of the University of Wyoming. Sometimes when you’re living in your own little bubble here, you might think everything’s fine here, but sometimes the perception from the outside isn’t. What we liked was the attractiveness of where we were and the way our program was. …
“So I’ve been encouraged. Not to the point where we’re going… some of my colleagues are signing well over half their class since (the portal). We’re not going to go down that road. We’re not going to maintain our culture in doing that. But I’m confident that we met our needs. We had a plan, that plan was put in place and we met those needs.