Cowboys football: Wyoming's uptempo attack shows flashes

2013-04-27T17:00:00Z 2013-04-27T20:07:51Z Cowboys football: Wyoming's uptempo attack shows flashesBy CLINT ROBUS Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online

LARAMIE -- Maybe Wyoming's offense should have started with the two-minute drill.

While it took the Gold team the better part of the first half on Saturday to get on track, the potential of the Cowboys' fast-paced, spread 'em out offense was put on display during one 15-second spurt.

When the teams entered the two-minute portion of Saturday's Spring Game at War Memorial Stadium -- where normal clock rules were used -- the No. 1 offense needed all of two plays and 15 seconds to find the end zone.

Wyoming junior quarterback Brett Smith, under pressure and flushed to his left, lofted a pass down the sideline that junior wide receiver Jalen Claiborne turned into a 29-yard gain. The next play, Smith pumped once and hit senior Robert Herron on a double-move route for a 36-yard touchdown.

"When you put the title 'two minute' onto it, it kind of kicks everybody into gear," Smith said.

Smith prefaced that statement by saying the two-minute drill shouldn't be the impetus to get in gear. But it certainly seemed to help.

In the final series before halftime, backup quarterback Jason Thompson led the No. 1 offense to field goal to end the half and pulled the Gold team (offense) within one point of the White team (defense), 47-46.

The sophomore said that urgency is the "mentality we're shooting for."

"We're not all there," finished Thompson, who had a 53-yard scramble that sparked the offense to its first scoring drive of the day.

Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen, who is also serving as play-caller, said the tempo never be as fast as he wants. He was satisfied once the No. 1 offense got going after the three first drives (turnover on downs, stalled drive and three-and-out).

"But we can go a little bit faster," Christensen said.

Wyoming senior defensive back Marqueston Huff returned an interception 54 yards in the first half for White, but Gold found its groove in the second half and went on to a 92-60 victory. Smith hit Herron for a 26-yard touchdown to cap the opening series of the second half; the drive used less than three minutes of running clock.

Claiborne said the first half was just another slow start, which has been typical of the offense this spring. Herron said once the offense completed a couple passes and got into a rhythm, that put the Gold team on track.

"Once we completed a long one, then everybody [was] like, 'Hey, I gotta get mine,'" Herron said.

Claiborne had five receptions for 100 yards and two touchdowns, while Herron had 116 yards on four receptions and the two big scores.

Christensen said the offense is running seven to eight seconds faster than last year, but he would like to cut pace by another five seconds.

Wyoming ran 87 offensive plays, with the quarterbacks totaling 432 yards total and six touchdowns.

"We're trying to get it fast, so people can't play up here at this altitude," Claiborne said. "We want to play fast because we create mismatches."

And the increased tempo at 7,200 feet will only help wear out opposing defenses.

"My chest was burning [Saturday]," Thompson said.

Contact sports reporter Clint Robus at clint.robus@trib.com or 307-266-0615. Follow him on Twitter @ClintRobus

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

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