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UW mentor focus: Bowl game for Pokes
University of Wyoming head football coach Dave Christensen is preparing this month to guide the Cowboys into the regular season. University of Wyoming photo

UW mentor focus: Bowl game for Pokes

Aug 13, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

The last bowl appearance for UW was a 37-15 loss to Temple in the 2011 New Mexico Bowl.

LARAMIE -- University of Wyoming head football coach Dave Christensen's top focus is leading his program back to the postseason.

The last bowl appearance for UW was a 37-15 loss to Temple in the 2011 New Mexico Bowl.

Christensen outlined his goals for the 2013 season on Friday during the annual media day in Laramie.

Wyoming finished the 2012 schedule with a 4-8 mark in Christensen's fourth season at the helm.

Christensen has an overall mark of 22-28 in his UW career.

"We have a good schedule with two byes in the middle," Christensen said. "Our goal has not changed, and that is to play in the postseason. That is again our expectation going into this year."

Conference

The Mountain West Conference has locked up six bowl agreements, the New Mexico Bowl, Las Vegas Bowl, Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, and the Armed Forces Bowl.

The MWC this year consists of the Mountain and West divisions.

Teams in the Mountain league are Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, Utah State and Wyoming.

Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, San Diego State, San Jose State and UNLV are the in West division.

The top teams from each division will play in the MWC championship game in early December.

The title game will be played at the home field of highest ranking team in the Bowl Championship Series.

"I'm really excited about our football team," Christensen said. "We have a team full of kids that we have recruited. They are very committed into what we are doing and buying into what we are doing."

The Pokes begin the season at Nebraska on Saturday, Aug. 31. Game time is 6 p.m.

Nebraska pounded Wyoming 38-14 in September 2011 at War Memorial Stadium.

"It's a big game and a great opportunity for our kids," Christensen said. "Our season isn't going to be determined by one game."

UW opens the home schedule with Idaho on Sept. 7. Start time is 2 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium.

Good offseason

The Pokes opened fall camp last week and had their first scrimmage on Sunday at War Memorial Stadium.

"We had a great summer," Christensen said. "Every veteran passed our fitness test. That allowed us to know our kids came back in great shape."

Team depth has been developed to the Pokes in all different areas of the game.

"We added a bunch of new kids to our program this year," Christensen said. "For the first time since I have been here, we have competition between our first team, second team and even guys on the third team our pushing for playing time. The competition has been great."

Strong points

"We are excited about a lot of different areas," Christensen said. "We have a lot of experience coming back."

The headline star on the offense is UW junior quarterback Brett Smith.

"Brett has been as sharp as can be in training camp," Christensen said.

The backup quarterback is sophomore Jason Thompson.

"Jason has competed extremely well," Christensen said. "We have finally developed some depth at that position. We are in better shape now than we were a year ago. "

Christensen feels he is loaded at the wide receiver crew.

"We probably have 10 guys that are competing for four spots," Christensen said. "We have great competition at that position."

Running back D.J. May had a season-ending injury during the summer.

"We have a number of young guys that are competing well for the running back back positions," Christensen said.

Junior college transfer Albert Perez has made a quick impact at the center position. He arrived on the UW campus just in time for fall camp.

"Albert has done a phenomenal job for us in his first four days of practice," Christensen said. "I'm getting more involved with the offense this year."

Stuart Williams will handle the field goal duties.

Williams went 7-12 field goals last year for the Pokes. Williams is challenging to be the punter as well.

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