LARAMIE – This season has messed with Craig Bohl.
Perhaps the Spartans will get the horns.
Wyoming’s head coach is searching for answers as his team attempts to turn the season back around after suffering three consecutive losses entering the game against San Jose State on Saturday at CEFCU Stadium (2 p.m., FS2).
“I can tell you what, I’m trying like a steer to figure out a way to win a damn game around here,” Bohl said during his Monday press conference. “We’ll look at everything we can, but it’s just been perplexing to me. I’m in hopes we get the ship righted this week.”
Bohl’s response came after being asked if any true freshmen, who can play in up to four games without losing a year of eligibility, might be able to spark the offense.
The Cowboys (4-3 overall, 0-3 Mountain West) have only scored three points – courtesy of a 27-yard field goal by John Hoyland during last Saturday’s 14-3 loss to New Mexico – over the last 10 quarters.
UW’s offense is loaded with experienced players at nearly every position, which makes this unwatchable scoring slump even more frustrating.
“That’s one of the things I’m profoundly disappointed in,” Bohl said. “We’re 4-3 with a senior, veteran football team. I’d expect us to be further along than what we are.”
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Sean Chambers and Levi Williams both struggled after competing for the starting spot last week during practice and sharing time during the loss to the Lobos (3-5, 1-3).
Bohl plans to announce whether Chambers or Williams will start against the reigning MWC champion Spartans (4-4, 2-2) this week after speaking with the players instead of making it a game-time decision.
“I understand that’s a point of emphasis, and I get that,” Bohl said of the spotlight on the quarterback situation. “It’s a team game, and there’s a lot of guys that go into winning and losing.”
Bohl was pleased with the Pokes’ defensive performance, but also said he thought they would need to hold New Mexico to seven points to win.
That’s a stinging indictment on Tim Polasek’s unit, which ranks 106th in scoring (22.1 ppg), 77th in rushing yards (153.1 ypg), 114th in passing yards (169.0 ypg) and 116th in total yards (322.1 ypg).
When asked how much influence he has on the play-calling, Bohl explained his approach to working with his first-year offensive coordinator since.
“He’s the guy that sits up until 3 o’clock in the morning culling through every film clip and every data point,” Bohl said. “Certainly, I have some input, and I had some input with Tim during the course of the (New Mexico) game. But you just can’t get into a rhythm if you have someone chattering in your ear, ‘Run this, run that.’”
Bohl said he does make suggestions to Polasek between series. Chambers was benched in the second quarter and Williams was benched in the fourth quarter during the dizzying QB shuffle last week.
“Tim and I have a really good relationship. It’s a long history. Tim’s not happy either,” Bohl continued. “We see where we’re at. I would say this, if I’m going to start to micromanage the offensive coordinator, then I need to be the offensive coordinator. I don’t think that’s how I’m best suited, I don’t think that’s what is best for our program, and I’m confident that we’re going to make some progress this week.”
Training roomThe Cowboys have not had many significant injuries this season, but starting defensive tackle Ravontae Holt will miss the rest of the season, according to Bohl.
Holt, who did not play against Fresno State or New Mexico after coming off the field early in the Air Force game, has suffered three torn ACLs during his career. Bohl did not disclose the nature of the senior from Sacramento’s latest physical setback.
Starting tight end Treyton Welch, who suffered a lower-leg bruise against the Lobos, is expected to play against San Jose State.
NotableBohl noted that takeaways will be the key to getting back on track. UW was plus-five in turnover margin during its 4-0 start and has turned the ball over seven times without creating any turnovers during the 0-3 start to MWC play.
The Cowboys are expecting to see Nick Nash, who had 213 yards passing and a career-high 121 yards rushing during San Jose State’s 27-20 win at UNLV, starting at quarterback. Nick Starkel has missed the last four games with a shoulder injury after leading the Spartans to the 2020 conference title. …
San Jose State opened as a 3-point favorite over UW.
“I can say it was a really disappointing loss and maybe one of the most disappointing losses that we’ve had at home since I’ve been our head coach,” Bohl said of the homecoming loss against the Lobos, who were 20-point underdogs. “But it’s one game. We have to learn from that.”
Follow UW beat writer Ryan Thorburn on Twitter @By_RyanThorburn