Nov. 18, 2003
Head Coach Rocky Long
Question: Have you thought about the possibility of becoming co-Mountain West Champs after this weekend's games?
Rocky Long: "Well, we are pulling for BYU to beat Utah. But we have to play well to win our game, and if we win, that's the only way for us to become co-champions. In my mind and the players' minds, if Utah happens to lose to BYU and we win, there's no co-champions in this league, because we beat Utah. Our major goal in this program is to win the conference championship, and we haven't done that yet, but we have to do our part. Beating Wyoming in Laramie during this time of year is not a foregone conclusion by any means, because they are a much better team this year than last year at this time. Plus, they are playing us at home where the temperature is expected to be 21 degrees with winds up to 28 mph and the possibility of snow. The cold weather might affect our guys a little more than theirs."
Q: You've coached in Wyoming in late November - how difficult can it be to play there as a visiting team?
RL: "Even when the weather is good, it's a hard place to play, just because it's isolated and it's hard to get too. Plus, the altitude has a little something to do with it. This time of year, it's going to be really cold. That and Wyoming being really good on offense are the biggest hurdles we face in order to win the game.
"They're a lot better on defense then they were a year ago. They're simpler than they were a year ago, they're fundamentally more sound and they're playing a lot harder. And they're keeping the score in range where their offense can win the game for them."
Q: Are Wyoming's three receivers interchangeable?
RL: "They're different, but their quarterback doesn't seem to favor any one of them. The best athlete and the one that's the quickest, (So. Jovon Bouknight), they will use him at quarterback. They do the same thing that BYU and Utah do, meaning they will come out of the huddle and the quarterback goes out and lines up at wide receiver, and Bouknight lines up as the quarterback. They run the option and quarterback sweeps and quarterback draws and he also throws it once and awhile. He's probably the best athlete out of all the receivers. The fastest one, the one they throw all the fades too is the 6-6 guy (Sr. Malcom Floyd). The intermediate route runner is (Sr. Ryan) McGuffey and he's probably the possession guy.
"But their quarterback doesn't seem to favor anyone. When he's under pressure, he doesn't throw it just to one guy. He goes through his progression reads, lets people bounce off of him, and he still throws out because he's a big, strong guy. He's the best throwing quarterback in the league. I believe their quarterback is a pro prospect. The NFL is going to guys who can get out of trouble and win games with their legs; he can get out of trouble and can bide time, but he's not going to beat you by running the ball. He does a nice job of slipping and sliding to get rid of the ball, but he doesn't necessarily want to carry it."
Q: Is Wyoming better this year because of the coaching change?
RL: "I think the coaching change has re-energized them. I think they walk with a lot more confidence now and they're playing a lot harder. They believe they have a chance to win the game, and that's all an attitude change. I'm sure the new coach coming in has allowed them to reevaluate the way things were and have a new lease on life. Joe Glenn is a very, very good coach. He's won national championships and been successful everywhere he's coached. He does a nice job with players too and gets them to play as hard and as well as they can play."