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Cowboys loading up on offense for football season
Aug 15, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor
LARAMIE -- The potential is there for the University of Wyoming football team to put together one of the most explosives offense in the Mountain West Conference.
With UW quarterback Brett Smith returning for his junior year as the man under center, the Pokes are ready to take the step into the elite category.
Wyoming wide receiver Robert Herron has leaped into the No. 1 position in hauling in passes from Smith's right arm.
Herron recently was named to the 2013 Biletnikoff preseason award watch list. The award honors college football's best receiver.
"First of all, you can expect hard work from all of us," Herron said Friday during UW media days. "You should be looking at a lot of points. That is the high expectation."
Herron earned honorable mention all-conference honors in 2012.
The junior finished with 10 receptions and two touchdowns against San Diego State in one of his most productive games last season.
Herron missed four games last year due to a shin injury.
When Herron was out, the Cowboys struggled.
"We are very good this year with the other wide receivers ," Herron said. "This is probably the best team that Wyoming has had since I have been here."
Juniors Dominic Rufran and Jalen Clairborne are right behind Herron. Clairborne had a strong first season last year for the Pokes with 34 catches for 490 yards.
"We have a lot of returners that have experience," Herron said. "When they get the ball in their hands they can score touchdowns."
Smith is one of the most experienced quarterbacks in the MWC after starting his first two years.
"Brett is a very good quarterback," Herron said. "He can always take off when the pocket breaks down. He can scramble. He is so determined."
UW head coach Dave Christensen has made it a point to increase the offensive tempo during practice.
"We are doing a tremendous job in the fall camp with the tempo of the offense and getting to the ball on defense," Herron said.
"If we put all that together, we will have a very good team."
Herron said the plays are coming in faster from the sideline to the huddle.
"Coach Christensen has taken over the offense, which I love. It's just going how he wants it to go," Herron said. "It's getting faster every day."
The first MWC game of the season for the Pokes is Saturday, Sept. 21, at Air Force. The contest is the fourth one of the season.
"We have a conference game early, and that makes us focus earlier in the season," Herron said. "I love starting off with Nebraska because it shows everybody that we can hang with the big team."
Fresno State and Boise State are the two preseason picks to compete for the MWC title.
"Other teams have very explosive offenses," Herron said. "I would take Fresno State, for example.
"They have playmakers. Boise State wide receivers have fundamentals. I'm looking forward to watching them and playing against them."
The ground game is one of the biggest questions for the Pokes in the fall camp.
"The running game is a big part of our game to open up the passing game," running back Shaun Wick said.
"If the defense covers one, then we have another game."
Wick has a goal of emerging as one of the top running backs on the depth chart before the season starts.
"I just want to be a tough-nosed running back," Wick said. "Give me the ball, and I will do what I can.
I will try to my best of abilities to make big plays."