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What Wyoming coach Craig Bohl is saying about Saturday’s matchup with No. 19 BYU

Among other things, the nine-year Cowboys coach says he expects an ‘electric’ atmosphere in Provo when Wyoming visits LaVell Edwards Stadium for the first time since a 25-20 loss in 2010

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Wyoming coach Craig Bohl looks around his team’s bench during a game against Illinois, Aug. 27, 2022, in Champaign, Ill.

Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl looks around his team’s bench during a game against Illinois, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, in Champaign, Ill. Bohl will bring his 3-1 Cowboys into Provo Saturday night.

Charles Rex Arbogast, Associated Press

After facing Air Force’s vaunted “flex-bone” offensive attack last week, and mostly shutting it down in a 17-14 upset win, Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said Monday he looks forward to going against the “traditional football” that No. 19 BYU plays on offense.

“The biggest thing is you have an offense that truly is balanced,” Bohl said. “You have a quarterback (Jaren Hall) who I think is exceptional. Not only myself, but all the defensive coaches (think that). And they can do so many different things. So it is back into a normal game plan scheme.”

“But I know this: We are going to be jacked up, ready to play. And so it is really going to come down to executing. There is going to be a hard edge that we will have, and I am sure there is going to be a hard edge that BYU has.” — Wyoming coach Craig Bohl

Having won three straight games after dropping its opener 38-6 at Illinois, Wyoming (3-1) is riding high as it rolls into LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday for an 8:15 p.m. encounter with the 2-1 Cougars, who are coming off a humbling 41-20 loss to Oregon.

Speaking at his weekly news conference Monday in Laramie, Bohl was especially happy with the way Wyoming outrushed Air Force, 180 yards to 171. 

But, he quickly noted, BYU is an entirely different animal, what with its size and offensive balance.

“It is going to be a great challenge for us,” Bohl said. “But like I said, our guys, I don’t think they look at all at the people that say you can’t do this or can’t do that. (Our) front played well against Air Force and it will be a different challenge.”

The Cougars dropped from No. 12 to No. 19 in The Associated Press Top 25 survey after losing in such as humbling way to the Ducks, but Bohl said they “deserve to be in the top 25.” He called BYU coach Kalani Sitake, whom he met at the 2016 Poinsettia Bowl when BYU edged Wyoming 24-21 in San Diego, “a great, great head coach” for BYU.

“He understands their culture. That is apparent when I watch the tape, how they play. He is a great fit for BYU, and I would consider him a friend,” Bohl said. “… Their players play hard. They play smart. They play physical, and they make plays and they are aggressive, and that is what you would think (from) a talented BYU football team.”

Bohl, who became Wyoming’s coach in 2014, called Hall a “great quarterback” who is accurate and can make all the throws.

“He can throw on the run. He can throw a field-side out, he can throw a vertical pass,” Bohl said. “He makes really good decisions. There is a great presence about him.”

Here’s more on the Cougars from Bohl

On whether he considered bringing in former Wyoming players to talk about the old rivalry with BYU

“Yeah, there’s some (validity) to that. But I know this: We are going to be jacked up, ready to play. And so it is really going to come down to executing. There is going to be a hard edge that we will have, and I am sure there is going to be a hard edge that BYU has. … I am not minimizing some of the past history of some of our players. But we are on a 20-hour work week and I got an idea of what this game is about. We are going to articulate that to our players.”

On the makeup of his own team and pride it has

“This team is emotionally invested in Wyoming. They are buying into the culture of who we are, the fabric of who we are. They are embracing some of our traditions, and when you have that kind of emotional buy-in, that can be a really, really great ace in the hole to pull out. And these guys have been really fun to coach.”

On BYU still having players (Keenan Pili, Jake Oldroyd) who were on the 2016 Poinsettia Bowl team

“You know, every year is a unique year. What has been really enjoyable about our players is I don’t know if they knew they were 17-point underdogs last week. They just went out and played. And they are getting better, and they will play hard.”

On the size of BYU’s offensive line

“As always, they are big and huge up front in the offensive line. They have done a really good job. They get man on man. I heard Kalani talk, he probably wasn’t happy with the number of rushing yards they had against Oregon. I think Oregon is pretty good up front. But nonetheless they have a really big offensive line, which is always the case.”

On the atmosphere Wyoming can expect in Provo

“Personally, I have not been to Provo before, but I understand it is a pretty electric atmosphere, and so as a coaching staff and players, we are excited about playing. We are coming off a great win against Air Force, and our mantra around here is 1-0, get focused on the next team.”


Cougars on the air

Wyoming (3-1) at No. 19 BYU (2-1)

Saturday, 8:15 p.m. MDT

LaVell Edwards Stadium

Provo, Utah

TV: ESPN2

Radio: KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM/1160 AM