TUCSON, Ariz. – University of Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl has seen enough football during his career to know that, when a team reaches its bowl destination, it can look like a “herd of cattle,” lacking direction and not knowing exactly where to go.
But on Saturday, practicing outdoors in Arizona for the first time, the Cowboys had a plan. Though the temperature was uncharacteristically chilly, Bohl said he expects a hot one against Georgia State in the Arizona Bowl come Tuesday.
“I’m not the smartest guy in the room, but I’m pretty dang experienced on bowl games,” said Bohl, who has led UW to three bowl appearances in six seasons. “This has the makings to be a great, great bowl game,” Bohl said.
While Georgia State didn’t arrive in Tucson until Saturday afternoon, UW (7-5) had the benefit of an indoor practice Friday and a partially-padded practice Saturday morning at the Kino Sports Complex. The Cowboys have their game plan installed and, at this point, don’t intend on adding more to it, Bohl said.
The question on everyone’s mind revolved around who would line up under center. Redshirt sophomore Tyler Vander Waal, who had started four games since redshirt freshman Sean Chambers went down with a left knee injury, entered the transfer portal earlier this month. True freshman Levi Williams, who has played in the past two games for the Cowboys, had been receiving equal first-team reps with Vander Waal prior to his entering the portal, Bohl said at the time. Bohl told reporters an announcement on who would start under center Tuesday would be made in the near future.
“We’ve made a decision,” Bohl said.
Bohl also said redshirt sophomore running back Xazavian Valladay, who battled various leg injuries in the regular season, is at “100%.” Freshman running back Titus Swen, who has missed the past six games with a knee injury, traveled with the team and will dress for the game, though his playing status is still unknown due to his being, “just off a little.”
While players skipping bowl games to maintain draft stock to avoid risking injury has become a hot topic in recent years, Bohl said that redshirt senior linebacker Logan Wilson’s decision to play in the Arizona Bowl is a breath of fresh air. Wilson, who was named first team All-Mountain West and was selected to numerous All-American teams, is a projected NFL draft pick by several publications, including CBS Sports.
“You know, what is great as many of these guys are skipping their bowl game, because they feel like it’s going to really hurt their chances in the NFL. And that’s really quite frankly not the case,” Bohl said. “(It) says something about Logan’s character. He is going to be a fairly high draft choice. And it also (shows) his commitment to the University of Wyoming.
“This is an important game for him, and it didn’t even cross his mind not to play. And so I think that epitomizes the culture that we have, the type of players that we have.”