With Sean Chambers Out For The Year, What’s Next For Wyoming?
Tyler Vander Wall takes over.
Knee injury ends Chambers season.
The knee injury that Chambers suffered against Nevada on Oct. 26th must have been worse than initially reported after the game. Chambers even returned to action after the leg injury he suffered in the second quarter in Wyoming’s most complete win of the season.
Wyoming coach Craig Bohl confirmed this at Monday’s press conference. Chambers is indeed out after doctors discovered more damage to his knee that will need to be repaired. Cowboy faithful will have to face the reality going into Boise State week as 12-point underdogs, they will be minus their leader under center.
So, without Chambers how does Wyoming keep this momentum going of its best start since 2016? Fortunately, the defense is still stout, but will that be enough if the offense continue its upward trend?
Here’s three things that might do the trick:
Make Sure the Right TVW Gets In The Game
Sophomore Tyler Vander Waal has been chomping at the bit after losing the job to Chambers in the spring and suffering through a 2-6 start to start the 2018 season. Chambers took the reigns and after turning the tide in a losing effort to Utah State and led the Cowboys to two straight wins before breaking his fibula at the start of the Air Force game.
Enter Vander Waal for the second time and the renewed confidence to lead the Cowboys the last two games of the season to be bowl eligible. He was most impressive against that Air Force squad in Laramie. Vander Waal led the Cowboys with a four-touchdown performance (two in the air and two on the ground) to a comeback win. He had 225 yard passing that snowy day and led the team with a swagger that wasn’t there in the previous eight appearances.
That’s the quarterback Wyoming needs to continue the winning ways. The same one that tossed a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jackson Marcotte against Nevada after Chambers went down.
Stay True To Who They Are
Chambers ran it. Xazavian Valladay ran it. Anyone else that’s been in the backfield has run it. And they’ve done well.
While the Cowboys were just starting to find their groove in the passing game, their identity has been to run over teams. Despite having a depleted offensive line, Wyoming has made holes for its backs quite well this season. Through eight games, Wyoming has the 14th best rushing attack in the nation.
Obviously, Chambers was a big part of that, but Valladay showed the last two games that the sophomore back is ready to take the brunt of the carries as long and far as he can. He has amassed 333 yards in the last two games.
That doesn’t mean the offense should just run the ball up the gut the whole time, which has been an audible knock on the Wyoming play-calling in recent years. They will need to continue to do what they did against the Wolf Pack and create opportunities for Vander Waal and the running game to continue to be successful.
What if the offense does flounder in the next couple attempts? What if Vander Waal, as capable as he has shown to be, can’t keep the points coming.
The Cowboys are already bowl-eligible for the fourth time in Bohl’s tenure, but that doesn’t secure a bowl game as last year’s team can attest to.
What if they need one more win and it doesn’t happen against the Broncos next week on ESPN or on the road again at Utah State the following week?
Why not bring in another true freshman like last year with Chambers and take advantage of the new redshirt rules? Bohl has said that he would with other positions if they could contribute. This might just be another opportunity.
Bring in Levi Williams, the one-time Houston decommit from Smithson Valley High School in Spring Branch, Tx. The three-star recruit had over 2,500 yards passing and 31 touchdowns his senior year.
Williams enrolled early to Wyoming and was present for spring ball. He is listed right behind Vander Waal on this week’s depth chart.
It would be interesting to see Bohl bring in the pro-style freshman if the season starts to go south.
Hopefully, the wild card won’t have to be pulled, but there is a big question mark for the Cowboys moving forward without Chambers.