UPDATED: Cain is Christensen's third defensive coordinator in five seasons

2013-10-29T12:15:00Z 2013-11-10T11:11:04Z UPDATED: Cain is Christensen's third defensive coordinator in five seasonsBy MIKE VOREL Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online
October 29, 2013 12:15 pm  • 

12:15 p.m. update: It looks like Jamar Cain is the next guy up.

Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen named Cain, the team's first-year defensive line coach, interim defensive coordinator after Chris Tormey was fired on Tuesday morning.

Cain is the third defensive coordinator to serve under Christensen in his less than five seasons at Wyoming.

Marty English was Christensen's first defensive coordinator in 2009, and he remained in that role from 2009 to 2011. English was reassigned to linebackers coach after his defense finished 115th against the run (232 yards per game) and 98th in total defense (431.6 yards per game) in 2011.

English left Wyoming for rival Colorado State prior to the 2012 season, and he has served as the Rams' co-defensive coordinator since that time.

Tormey was hired prior to the 2012 season, but the defense saw little improvement during his 20 games at Wyoming. After Wyoming allowed 232 rush yards per game in 2011, the defense surrendered 232.3 rush yards per game last season and is giving up an average of 236 yards per game this year.

Cain, who helped lead Cal Poly to the Big Sky Conference title in 2012, will serve as the defensive coordinator for Wyoming's final four games -- and potentially a bowl game.

11:15 a.m. update: Wyoming athletic director Tom Burman said on Thursday, prior to Wyoming's loss at San Jose State, that the team would be evaluated at the end of the season.

“We’ll evaluate the season at the end of the year as a whole, not individual games," Burman said. "Just like any fan can tell you, there’s been ups and downs this year. What happened Saturday [against Colorado State] wasn’t good enough for the kids, the coaches of myself.

"But we’ll look at it as a whole at the end of the football season, and hopefully that includes a bowl game.”

The comments came two days before Wyoming allowed 51 points, 642 total yards and 482 passing yards in the 51-44 loss to San Jose State on the road.

The 642 total yards was a season-high for San Jose State and the ninth-most in a game in school history. San Jose State quarterback David Fales' 482 passing yards was the eighth-highest total in school history.

The Spartans' 37 second half points were the most the team has scored in the second half of a game since a 42-point half in a 70-63 win over Rice on Oct. 2, 2004.

On Tuesday morning, Wyoming defensive coordinator Chris Tormey was fired. Cornerbacks coach Renaldo Hill will now coach the entire secondary, with help from defensive graduate assistant Dwain Crawford.

The dismissal also comes less than a week after news broke last week that Wyoming President Robert Sternberg hired outside consultants to evaluate the competitiveness of the football and men's basketball program. Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen declined to comment on the matter.

The final written report from the consultant firm, Collegiate Sports Associates, is due on Nov. 15.

10:45 a.m. update: Former Wyoming defensive coordinator Chris Tormey, who was fired Tuesday morning, said he thought the team's defensive issues could be solved on Monday.

That came two days after the Cowboys allowed 642 total yards and 482 passing yards in a 51-44 defeat at San Jose State.

The week prior to the game, Tormey stressed the importance of limiting big plays against San Jose State quarterback David Fales. Judging by the six passes of more than 30 yards Fales and the Spartans managed against the Cowboys, those preparations made little difference.

“We talked about the importance of keeping the ball in front of us during the game, and we didn’t get that done," Tormey said. "We knew he was an extremely accurate deep ball passer. We knew he has tremendous speed at wide receiver. And we knew we had to do everything technically right to have a chance.

"We did a lot of good things in the game; but we gave up six long passes, and it just killed us."

Despite the fact that his squad allowed more than 50 points for the second consecutive game, Tormey saw improvement from the group that surrendered 509 total yards and 290 rushing yards to rival Colorado State the week prior.

“We’ve got some young guys that haven’t played a lot back there, and I believe that we can fix every one of those problems. To me, it was a much better performance overall than the previous game," Tormey said. "In terms of alignment and playing hard, I thought our guys played extremely hard in this game. I thought the effort was there throughout the game.

"I thought we played the run as well as we have all season against a good offensive line.”

That marginal improvement, though, was not enough to save Tormey's job.

Tormey, who also coached Wyoming's safeties, was in the middle of his 34th season as a college coach. In that time, he was the head coach at University of Nevada and University of Idaho for a total of nine seasons, leading the Vandals to their first-ever bowl appearance in 1998.

He earned conference coach of the year honors in the 1998 season.

10:30 a.m. update: Wyoming interim defensive coordinator Jamar Cain was visibly upset after his team's 52-22 loss to Colorado State on Oct. 19.

The first-year defensive line coach, who was named interim defensive coordinator after Chris Tormey was fired on Tuesday morning, spoke out about his unit's poor execution after the Border War defeat.

“Today is pride. Where’s your pride at? I was embarrassed on Saturday," he said. "I walked off the field with my head down. I’ve never been punched in the mouth like that. I was embarrassed, I was upset, I didn’t want to talk to anybody, I was a bad husband.

"I had people over, and I think I fell asleep on the couch while people were at the house. But that’s just an embarrassing situation.”

Cain takes over a defense that has allowed more than 50 points in two consecutive games, a first in the Dave Christensen era. His unit, the defensive line, has also struggled at times, allowing an average of 236 rushing yards per game and picking up 13 sacks in eight games, tied for 78th nationally.

Cain, who coached the defensive line the previous four seasons at Cal Poly, was certainly motivated to turn things around after the Colorado State loss.

"You have to have pride in what you do. You can’t just let your rival come in and smack you in the mouth like that and just take it," Cain said. "And we just took it on the chin.

"Like, I don’t know. We just have to get better. We’ll definitely get better. You can see I’m getting fired up just thinking about it.”

Prior to his four-year stint at Cal Poly, Cain coached the defensive ends at Missouri State from 2006 to 2008. Cain was also a defensive graduate assistant at Ohio University in 2005 and an assistant coach at Sacramento City College, where he also played for two years, in 2004.

He recruits the Missouri and northern Colorado regions for Wyoming.

9:30 a.m. update: Former Wyoming defensive coordinator Chris Tormey spoke to the Star-Tribune on Monday, and he did not appear to know he would soon be relieved of his duties.

Tormey spoke to the Star-Tribune during the team's weekly media availability on Monday afternoon, and he certainly did not seem like a coach who knew he would imminently be fired.

“We’ve got a little bit of a luxury of time here to address the issues we had in this last game before we move forward," Tormey said. "So we’re certainly going to address those in practice tomorrow and make sure they’re corrected and make sure everybody understands exactly how we’re going to stop them in the future, and move on from there.

"But we’ve got two days this week to introduce our base game plan for Fresno State, and then we’ll get back on Sunday and get going again next week.”


Initial update:Wyoming fired defensive coordinator Chris Tormey, head coach Dave Christensen announced Tuesday morning.

Christensen has named defensive line coach Jamar Cain as interim coordinator.

“I felt that we needed to make a change at this time to give our football team and the young men on it the best opportunity to win our remaining four regular-season games,” Christensen said in a statement. “The last two weeks, our defense has not performed up to the expectations of our coaching staff, our players, nor our fans.”

Wyoming has lost three of its last four games since starting the season 3-1, falling to Colorado State 52-22 and San Jose State 51-44 in its last two games.

Wyoming is giving up 31.6 points and 465.8 yards per game this season.

Tormey had been Wyoming's defensive coordinator for the past two seasons. He will be paid through the conclusion of his contract, which expires in Dec. 2013.

Wyoming's defense did not meet expectations in Tormey's first season as defensive coordinator in 2012, and there has been little improvement even with a change in scheme this season.

In 2012, the Cowboys gave up an average of 32.25 points, 232.3 rushing yards and picked up only 14 sacks in 12 games, tied for 112th nationally.

Despite a change from the 4-3 base set to the 3-4 in the offseason, Wyoming's defensive statistics have not looked much different this season.

The Cowboys have allowed an average of 31.6 points and 236 rushing yards per game and picked up 13 sacks in the team's first eight games.

Wyoming (4-4, 2-2 Mountain West) has a bye this week and hosts No. 16 ranked Fresno State on Nov. 9.


Check back for more on this story.

Reach reporter Mike Vorel at Mike.Vorel@trib.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikeVorel.

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

(19) Comments

  1. Kool Kat
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    Kool Kat - October 30, 2013 2:20 pm
    I took three coaches to find Christensen. I'd tar and feather Wyoming's AD if he did fire Coach Dave
  2. pappy
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    pappy - October 30, 2013 8:33 am
    We seem to be able to recruit good offensive players and quite frankly we have some very good defensive players. The problem isn't with the athletes it's with the coaches. WY fans shouldn't expect any miracles from an interim coach. There isn't time to make wholesale changes now.
  3. sourshoes
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    sourshoes - October 30, 2013 8:29 am
    kind of joking but i wouldn't cry if he got axed.
  4. Kool Kat
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    Kool Kat - October 29, 2013 7:12 pm
    Attn Pokes, I guess I'm not used to your "creative writing" when you responded.
    1) The points I took were Laramie is as good as any to recruit
    2) Your blame assignment to a coach that offers no excuses but, accepts blame for his coaches.
    3) Vegas, Fort Collins, Albuquerque, San Jose and Logan are no better places to recruit that Laramie?

    Reality check: the changing landscape of the BCS and their baiting out mid-major conference leaders takes away what you and I saw during the WAC days and pre-BCS shift days.
    Utah, TCU and BYU gone really dwindles the attractiveness of the mid-majors. It even killed a former AQ Conference Big East. A death that brought back Boise and San Diego State.
    Before you lecture me, understand the Wyoming WAC days died and are gone. And today, Mid-Major teams have to fight to get top athletes from the glamor of "very choosy" AQ teams.
    Brett Smith came to Wyoming cause no PAC12 team offered him a scholarship, not cause it was Laramie that attracted him. But the opportunity to start as a freshman.

    Who's sniffing glue?
  5. Pokes
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    Pokes - October 29, 2013 6:33 pm
    Kool Kat, obviously you don't have the ability to grasp a point being made. Based on your incoherent response, that doesn't surprise me. Get off the Laramie recruiting nonsense. There have been a lot of good football players pass through Laramie over the decades and with competent coaching have succeeded. Quality coaches can recruit enough decent talent anywhere -- Laramie included.

    Based on the performances in the last four games against very mediocre teams, if you actually think this Cowboy team will beat Fresno, Boise or USU to get to post-season, you're sniffing glue.
  6. Kool Kat
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    Kool Kat - October 29, 2013 6:03 pm
    Lets see what Coach C has planned, as I know he's not happy to see what he has to account for. Just as many poke fans are not happy with the current situation, either.
    But for anyone to suggest Coach C going, isn't thinking but, angrily reacting over emotion, instead. I'm like most Wyoming fans, believing in Coach C's abilities and his future as head cowboy.
  7. milesbygrace
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    milesbygrace - October 29, 2013 4:59 pm

    Also, he played a key role in the Chris Ault era at Nevada coaching the d-line for a number of years.
  8. Kool Kat
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    Kool Kat - October 29, 2013 4:43 pm
    Your really joking, aren't you?
    I used to not attend in Laramie but now, there's hope for competitive action.
  9. Kool Kat
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    Kool Kat - October 29, 2013 4:41 pm
    Who's that?
  10. milesbygrace
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    milesbygrace - October 29, 2013 4:26 pm
    Well all of that aside, we now find ourselves in need of a a new Defensive coach. Hire Jim House. Who agrees? I know he is itching to get back to Wyoming.
  11. Kool Kat
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    Kool Kat - October 29, 2013 3:21 pm
    Wow, you're comparing Vegas, Fort Collins, San Jose and Logan to Laramie? I know Laramie is close to Colorado but please put down the whacky weed, in case.
    Wyoming has not had a good and meaningful coach since becoming part of the new MWC. Wyoming has at least gone 1 win and 1 loss in the last five years under Christensen in Post Season action.
    And still has a shot at post season this year. Whether you admit it or not? Christensen has been good for this program as this school happens to be in a "hard-to-recruit" area of the United States for Football.
    I'm usually one to get down on Wyoming's AD but, in this case here, Wyoming's been on the radar offensively, while defensively led by a coordinator.
    The process of elimination has to start somewhere, and losing is not acceptable to many Wyoming fans, and sporting only one football team.
  12. sourshoes
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    sourshoes - October 29, 2013 1:52 pm
    fire DC!
  13. Pokes
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    Pokes - October 29, 2013 12:55 pm
    Then it must be tough to recruit to Vegas, Fort Collins, Albuquerque, San Jose and Logan also as these schools have been as bad or worse than Wyoming over the last decade.

    Toss the Laramie recruiting excuse. Glenn's defensive personnel were no more talented or athletic than Christensen's. Breske just did a much better job preparing the defense and calling the games. Get competent coaches to coordinate and you can get the job done. That's Christensen's responsibility and he's failed so far on the defensive side.
  14. PokesnBroncos
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    PokesnBroncos - October 29, 2013 12:45 pm
    Kook Kat is exactly right. At least with Christensen the Pokes have a change of winning each Saturday's game. His offensive strategies seem to be the ticket to success. Now's he's got to figure it out defensively. And he's doing that. As far as the remaining games, that's a pretty tough road ahead. The defense will have to pick up it up several notches. They've got two weeks to get ready for a very physical Fresno State. Hopefully they'll come swinging and beat a very good Top 20 team.
  15. Kool Kat
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    Kool Kat - October 29, 2013 11:40 am
    You're overlooking something big here, like recruiting to Laramie for one.
    Without the best recruits, you get a fairly good defense. And if not coached properly? You get a defense like Wyoming has witnessed.
  16. Kool Kat
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    Kool Kat - October 29, 2013 11:33 am
    Wyoming hasn't had any more 1 and 11 or 2 and 10 seasons since Christensen has been there, as verses Glenn and Koenig. And Christensen is at least looking to correct during the season as verses after more damage is afflicted through a very weak looking defense. So I would be to differ regarding Christensen, at least he doesn't play politics with Wyoming only pride and joy in NCAA Division I football. Ever notice Chris Petersen of Boise State? That guy is always passionate about his team and it has shown for years.
  17. pappy
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    pappy - October 29, 2013 11:30 am
    I agree with P16, Christensen is a good offensive coordinator but not much of a head coach. Burman is also playing CYA. This is twice this has happened in 4 years, maybe there is a bigger problem here.
  18. p16
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    p16 - October 29, 2013 10:21 am
    Firing the defensive coordinator is just the head coaches way of deflecting the blame. Christensen has always been offense first and to heck with the defense. We need to start all over again
  19. Kool Kat
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    Kool Kat - October 29, 2013 9:28 am
    Its not as if Wyoming fans didn't expect a defensive coach to go after getting blown out and last weekend's marathon game with a defense that could not stop the Spartans.
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