Wyoming Cowboys

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 12:  Quarterback Josh Allen #17 of the Wyoming Cowboys throws against the UNLV Rebels during their game at Sam Boyd Stadium on November 12, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. UNLV won 69-66 in triple overtime.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Craig Bohl ‘excited’ QB Josh Allen’s returning to Wyoming

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If you listened to some of the growing draft chatter, Josh Allen had the kind of talent that wowed scouts and could’ve led to the redshirt sophomore being the first quarterback taken in the upcoming draft. Instead, he decided a little additional seasoning is in order.

Allen confirmed to Craig Bohl Thursday that he will indeed be returning to Wyoming for his fourth season, with the school confirming the news in a press release. This past season was Allen’s first full year as the starter and, while it didn’t prevent Mitch Trubisky of North Carolina from leaving early, it was likely a wise decision on his part to eschew the NFL and return to Wyoming — especially as it’ll give him another year in a pro-style offense.

“We always support our student-athletes in pursuing their potential professional options,” said Bohl in a statement. “We’re excited that Josh and his family have made the decision for him to return to Wyoming for next year and help continue to build on the success that our program enjoyed this past season.

“Now we’re looking forward to getting ready to play Iowa in our season opener next fall.”

In 2016, the 6-5, 222-pound Allen was first amongst Mountain West quarterbacks with 28 touchdowns; second in passing yards with 3,203; and third in passing efficiency (144.9). Those numbers were tied for 20th, 32nd and 33rd nationally.

Barring an unexpected development, 2017 will likely be Allen’s last season at the collegiate level.

Wyoming announces DC Steve Stanard’s contract won’t be renewed

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 12:  Linebacker Logan Wilson #30 of the Wyoming Cowboys tackles quarterback Kurt Palandech #14 of the UNLV Rebels after he rushed for five yards during their game at Sam Boyd Stadium on November 12, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. UNLV won 69-66 in triple overtime.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Despite his most successful season in his three years at Wyoming, Craig Bohl is making a change to his Cowboys coaching staff.

In a very brief press release, Wyoming announced that the contract of defensive coordinator Steve Stanard will not be renewed.  Stanard had served as Bohl’s coordinator during all three of his seasons in Laramie.

Stanard had also been on Bohl’s North Dakota State staff for two seasons prior to following the coach to Wyoming.

“We appreciate Steve’s efforts these past three seasons and wish him well in his future,” a terse statement from Bohl read.

This past season, one that included a trip to the Mountain West championship game, Wyoming was 101st nationally in scoring defense at 34.1 points per game.  In 2015 they were 102nd in giving up exactly 34 a game, one season after they were tied for 102nd at 32.8 per game in Stanard’s first season.

Dennis Erickson to retire, co-OC won’t be retained by Utah

CORVALLIS, OR - OCTOBER 15:  Head Coach Kyle Whittingham of the Utah Utes calls a play against the the Oregon State Beavers at Reser Stadium on October 15, 2016 in Corvallis, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
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It appears Utah will be moving in a new direction on the offensive side of the ball.

The Utes announced Friday afternoon that assistant head coach/running backs coach Dennis Erickson has decided to step away from the game and retire from the sport.  Additionally, co-offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick will not be retained by head coach Kyle Whittingham.

“Both Dennis and Aaron have been instrumental to the success of our program and we appreciate their contributions,” said Whittingham in a statement. “Dennis is one of the most respected coaches in the history of college football and the opportunity to work side by side with him and learn from him has been an invaluable experience. Aaron has been an incredibly loyal member of our staff for many years and has been an integral part of this program’s growth.”

Erickson had spent the past four seasons with the Utes as an assistant on Whittingham’s staff.  Prior to that, the 69-year-old had been a head coach for the previous three decades, with collegiate stops at Idaho (1982-85, 2006), Wyoming (1986), Washington State (1987-88), Miami (1989-94), Oregon State (1999-2002) and Arizona State (2007-11).  He won a pair of national championships with the Hurricanes.

There were also two NFL stops as a head coach, with the Seattle Seahawks from 1995-98 and the San Francisco 49ers from 2003-04.

Roderick, who played his college football at BYU, had served as a Utah assistant since 2005.  During his time with the Utes, Roderick had been a receivers coach (2005-13), quarterbacks coach (2014-16), passing-game coordinator (2012-13) and co-offensive coordinator (2010, 2015-16).

Wyoming RB Brian Hill to reportedly enter NFL Draft

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 12:  Running back Brian Hill #5 of the Wyoming Cowboys runs against defensive back Darius Mouton #21 of the UNLV Rebels during their game at Sam Boyd Stadium on November 12, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. UNLV won 69-66 in triple overtime.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Wyoming running back Brian Hill will enter his name into the NFL Draft, according to a report from The Sporting News.

Hill gave no indication following Wyoming’s Poinsettia Bowl loss on Thursday night that he would enter the draft, but a local radio outlet had already reported Hill intended to leaving school after the game.

If Hill indeed does leave, he’ll join a strong list of early-entrant running backs, including Christian McCaffreyLeonard Fournette and D’Onta Foreman. That list will certainly grow as other highly-touted running backs — read: Dalvin Cook — finish up their bowl responsibilities.

That’s not to say Hill is a lightweight, however.

He stands today as the nation’s third-leading rusher, carrying 349 times for 1,860 yards with 22 touchdowns while also catching eight passes for 67 yards. He rushed 26 times for 93 yards after sitting out the first quarter of Wyoming’s 24-21 loss to BYU. By far the best running back in program history, this season Hill set both the single-season and career (4,287) rushing records. In fact, no Cowboy before him had ever so much as crossed the 3,000-yard barrier.

Hill was a First Team All-Mountain West selection in 2016. He is projected as a mid-round draft pick.

New Mexico State putting together FBS independent schedule for 2018

STATESBORO, GA - OCTOBER 17:  Quarterback Andrew Allen #8 of the New Mexico State Aggies attempts a pass against the Georgia Southern Eagles during the second quarter on October 17, 2015 at Paulson Stadium in Statesboro, Georgia.  (Photo by Todd Bennett/GettyImages)
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The Sun Belt is giving Idaho and New Mexico State the old heave ho after next season, and college football’s newest orphans are going about their futures in separate ways. Idaho has announced it will join the Big Sky Conference beginning in 2018, while New Mexico State is going to go it alone as an FBS independent.

Which means, obviously, New Mexico State will have to build its own schedule, each and every year.

The Aggies have begun doing so for 2018. On Monday they announced a home-and-home with Wyoming that will see the Cowboys visit Las Cruces on Aug. 25, 2018 — New Mexico State’s first game as an independent — while the Aggies will make a return visit to Laramie on Sept. 21, 2024.

It will be the two programs’ first meetings since 1953 — the only time New Mexico State and Wyoming have met on the field.

“Deputy AD Braun Cartwright and I have put in an enormous amount of time on football scheduling with the focus on securing games with regional Group of 5 opponents,” New Mexico State AD Mario Moccia said earlier this week. “Unlike in 2013 when we played four Power 5 conference programs, which had ripple effects on future year’s schedules, we have really focused on the home-and-home model.”

On Thursday, New Mexico State another home-and-home with current Sun Belt bunkmate Louisiana-Lafayette. New Mexico State will visit Lafayette on either Sept. 8 or Oct. 6, 2018, while the Ragin’ Cajuns will return the favor on Nov. 16, 2019.

New Mexico State also has a previously scheduled game at Minnesota on Aug. 30, leaving nine games still to be filled. The Aggies could seemingly find dance partners in fellow FBS independents BYU, Army and Massachusetts (Notre Dame is a different story), but even then New Mexico State still has to fill seven more games with the 2018 season only 20 months away.