LARAMIE — Wyoming’s quarterback competition is heading into the spring at full strength.
Last season didn’t come without change for the Cowboys at the most important position on the field. Redshirt freshman Tyler Vander Waal was benched after seven full games in favor of Sean Chambers, and the true freshman started Wyoming’s ninth game of the season before breaking his leg in the Cowboys’ home finale against Air Force.
Chambers underwent season-ending surgery with the expectation he’d be fully recovered by the time Wyoming begins spring practice March 26. Chambers confirmed that progress with a tweet last month and was in attendance at Wyoming’s Pro Day on March 7 without any sort of cast on his right leg.
“Just got fully cleared today,” Chambers tweeted Feb. 28. “God is good! Let’s work.”
Since the injury limited Chambers to just four games, he was able to keep his redshirt and will play his freshman season all over again in the fall. Whether he takes the first snap then is still to be determined, but Chambers will start the spring back atop the depth chart.
Wyoming coach Craig Bohl confirmed as much in December, saying he’s never demoted a player because of an injury. Chambers’ production late last season also warrants it.
A true dual threat, Chambers sparked an offense that finished ninth in the Mountain West in total offense and next to last in scoring and passing offense. He ran for 329 yards and two touchdowns while completing 60 percent of his passes for 266 yards and three scores as the Cowboys averaged 24.6 points and 404 yards in his first three games.
Vander Waal completed just 48.8 percent of his passes in nine games with nearly as many interceptions (4) as touchdown passes (5). The expectation is for both quarterbacks to take a natural step in their development as they move into their second season of competition, and the spring will be the first chance for each to start showing that.
“(Chambers) did some good things on the field,” Bohl said after last season. “Tyler did some good things. For them to continue to mature, this spring is going to be important.”
The Cowboys will have a third scholarship quarterback going through spring practice in three-star signee Levi Williams. A surprise addition to Wyoming’s most recent signing class after being released from his scholarship at Houston after a coaching change, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Williams enrolled early at Wyoming and will give the Cowboys some much-needed depth after losing backup Nick Smith to graduation.
It will also give Williams a head start on the Cowboys’ playbook as well as a chance to get acclimated to the speed of the college game, but barring injuries, Williams is likely looking at a redshirt. The real question is whether there will still be a competition between the Cowboys’ other two quarterbacks heading into the summer.