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Cowboys dig in on defense
Blair Burns is a returning starter at defensive back for University of Wyoming this summer. University of Wyoming photo

Cowboys dig in on defense

Aug 14, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

UW ranked dead last in yards allowed in 2012.

LARAMIE -- There is no place to go but up for the University of Wyoming's defense in the Mountain West Conference.

The Cowboys were ranked last in the total yards in the high-powered offensive league.

In eight league games in 2012, UW yielded an average of 477.5 yards per game.

Members of the UW defense were at War Memorial Stadium on Friday taking questions from the media.

"I expect this defense to respond better than we did last year," UW starting cornerback Blair Burns said.

"We are hungry. We didn't do the things that we wanted to do last year."

Boise State had the best defense in the league at 293 yards per game. Fresno State was second with 322 yards.

"We are going to thrive on that," Burns said. "We are going to go every play 100 percent and give our best effort."

Burns had a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown for one of the highlights by Wyoming against Colorado State.

It was one of the best plays by the Wyoming defense last season.

"Our secondary is pretty strong," Burns said.

"We are just trying to make the rest of the group strong and get everyone motivated."

Burns said it's critical for the Pokes to come out and pick up some early wins.

"Anytime you can get off to a good start that builds confidence," Burns said. "The teams know that you will mean business. It's very important for us to get off to a great start and also have with a great finish."

Tormey leads defense

UW defensive coordinator Chris Tormey returns for his second season working under head coach Dave Christensen.

"We are focusing in on fundamental improvements," Tormey said.

"We are going to play against a variety of different styles of offense this year. At the end of the day, you are going to have to fall back on your fundamentals no matter of what kind of offense you are playing against."

Tormey came to UW after being an assistant coach at Washington State.

"I think that consistency shall be your hallmark," Tormey said. "We should get better as the season goes."

UW cornerback Marqueston Huff and defensive tackle Patrick Metens were recently named the defensive captains.

"We have shown improvement," Tormey said. "Our guys are playing faster. We have some new kids that are going to give us depth, or start for us, this year."

Huff ranked second among UW defensive backs in tackles with 57.

Mertens recorded 34 tackles last season after missing the entire 2011 year due to an illness.

"They have played a lot of football for the University of Wyoming," Tormey said.

"They are both doing a great job for us. They have both set a high bar for the team. As leader, it's not what you say but what you do that counts."

Conference outlook

"We are going to see a lot of great offensives in the Mountain West and some great quarterbacks," Tormey said.

One of those strong armed quarterbacks is Fresno State's Derek Carr.

Carr led the league with 4,104 yards last year. He had 37 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. UW hosts Fresno State on Nov. 9 at War Memorial Stadium.

"Defensively, you are challenged in this league," Tormey said.

"We are going to have to rise up to the challenge."

Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick was fourth in the league after throwing 2,730 yards and 20 touchdowns.

"As a secondary type of person, I like to see those great quarterbacks," Burns said.

"We want to go against the best and show that are we are the best.

We are really looking forward to that. We can't wait to step on the field against those guys."

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