Wyoming Football 2011: Is There Turmoil in Laramie?

Anthony RainwaterCorrespondent IJanuary 14, 2011

Carta Samuels. 3,655 Total Yards & 19 Total TDs in 2 Years
Carta Samuels. 3,655 Total Yards & 19 Total TDs in 2 YearsEthan Miller/Getty Images

After the the '09 season where the Cowboys went 7-6 and won their first bowl game since '02 there was a lot of optimism in the state of Wyoming.  Then 2010 came around and the Pokes fell to a 3-9 record.  Devastating blow to the Wyoming faithful but there was still hope in Coach Christensen to rebound in 2011.  But is there still hope now after four promising students left the program earlier this year?

Earlier this year the University of Wyoming was informed that Freshman All-American Shamiel Gary was not going to be returning to the program.  Gary was a stud in that secondary, recording almost 200 tackles and four interceptions.  And with the loss of S Chris Prosinski and CB Marcell Gipson due to graduation, that secondary could be in trouble this year.

Then not long after that we find that both K Ian Watts and WR David Tooley also left the program.  Ian Watts was an above average kicker who helped the Pokes stay in games.  But the real hit to the program was when the captain and face of the Cowboys, Austyn Carta-Samuels, left the program earlier this week.  Carta-Samuels was a fine QB for the Pokes.  His ability to make plays always gave Wyoming a shot at winning the game.  He had great awareness of how to pick up yardage when the play would breakdown.

So what caused these players to leave UW and can the Cowboys bounce back in 2011?  Gary's uncle passed away last year and sources say this was very devastating to the young man.  Could it be possible that he just doesn't have the same desire to play any more?  Or is it something else.  As for Carta-Samuels, he's leaving to go to a Junior College next year, and so it's possible he'll try to make a run at playing Division I football the year following.  Did he leave the program because the offense went to more of a running spread offense instead of a passing spread offense?  Or did all these players leave because they weren't confident in the direction of the team or Coach Christensen?  Only time will tell.

But maybe we won't have to worry too much Cowboy fans.  High School standout QB Adam Pittser has verbally committed to Wyoming and if the scouts are right, he could a real talent.  The Cowboys are also first on K Daniel Sullivan's list of places to play football next year.  The linebacking crew is talented and the D Line is coming along, so if they play to their capacity, the Cowboy's secondary might be in good shape.  Guess we'll just have to see what Spring Football brings for the Pokes to know for sure how they'll look next year


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