Wyoming Cowboys expect offensive jump in year 2 under Dave Christensen

Do more with better
2010-08-29T01:15:00Z 2010-09-30T13:49:27Z Wyoming Cowboys expect offensive jump in year 2 under Dave ChristensenBy ERIC SCHMOLDT - Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online

Before moving to Laramie, Dave Christensen was one of the top offensive assistant coaches in the country.

He and his system at Missouri helped produce a Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year (Chase Daniel), a first-round NFL draft pick (Jeremy Maclin) and the country's top tight end (John Mackey Award winner Chase Coffman).

Cowboys quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels and the weapons surrounding him aren't near that illustrious list, but they are advancing in the right direction.

So is the installation of the spread offense.

"I'm not sure we'll get the full effect, but we'll certainly be different offensively than we were a year ago," Christensen said. "We've got different personnel now at different positions, so we're going to be able to do more things that we weren't able to do in the first year. We'll be able to implement more this year."

Seeing his offense rank so low nationwide surely had to be a different feeling.

After installing his system at Missouri in 2005, the Tigers' offense ranked among the top 10 in total offense in each of his final three years there from 2006-08.

In his first year in Laramie, the Pokes finished outside the top 100 in rushing offense, passing offense, total offense and scoring offense.

Yet it was good enough to win seven games, including the New Mexico Bowl.

"We obviously didn't blow the roof off anything last year with what we did," UW offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo said. "We've gotta be a lot better in all phases."

Part of that improvement will have to come with some patience.

While everyone would love to see the Cowboys vault up the offensive rankings -- as Christensen's teams have done before -- part of that process will be polishing the schemes implemented last year before jumping ahead to new plays or formations.

Then the Cowboys will be able to add a little more to their plate.

"Simply, play-calling is a little different than last year and more of Coach C's original stuff that he used to do at Missouri," Carta-Samuels said. "Personnel-wise, we can do it a little more this year, and I think that's the direction that coach wants to head in and I'm excited about that."

Carta-Samuels was the catalyst in turning around UW's season in 2009.

He became the school's first true freshman to start at quarterback in 35 years when he started in Week 4, and the Pokes went 6-4 the rest of the way.

He threw for nearly 2,000 yards and ran for 366 more, but weapons outside of him were inconsistent.

Alvester Alexander was the only player to run for more than 500 yards (640) and David Leonard was the only one with more than 315 receiving yards (705).

"[Coach Christensen's] a brilliant mastermind on the offensive end and so is Coach Arroyo," Leonard said. "They did a great job last year of putting new plays in throughout last season, and I'm sure we'll continue to do that and keep defenses on their heels. We have the athletes and the offense to do it."

Do they have enough for a top-10 offense?

Maybe not yet, but it's time for the spread to do just that.

Contact sports reporter Eric Schmoldt at eric.schmoldt@trib.com. Check out his blog at tribtown.trib.com/ESchmoldt/blog. Follow him on Twitter @ericschmoldt.

OFFENSE ON THE RISE

The Wyoming football coaching staff has surrounded quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels with more weapons for his sophomore year. Here are three who you can expect to see make an early impact:

1. Mazi Ogbonna: One of two wide receivers to transfer from Snow College, Ogbonna is more ready than DeJay Lester who was injured for part of fall camp. Ogbonna arrived to Laramie in time for spring camp and has proven he is ready.

2. Jonathan Aiken: Perhaps the biggest depth chart mover in fall camp, the junior college transfer went from being a walk-on to earning a scholarship to, at times, working with the No.1 offense. At 6-foot-3, 208 pounds, he's a major target.

3. Robert Herron: Another late scholarship addition, it's clear that the Pokes are trying to get the ball in Herron's hands in a variety of ways. The true freshman took reps during the fall as both a wide receiver, a running back and in the return game.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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