College football: Wyoming sees resurgence under Craig Bohl
LARAMIE, Wyo. -- Wyoming coach Craig Bohl learned how to build a football program from one of the best — Hall of Fame coach Tom Osborne.
"There's a lot of things that go into it, but if you have a plan and if you work the plan, the plan works," Bohl said after Wyoming upset No. 13 Boise State 30-28 on Saturday.
Bohl's plan is paying dividends at Wyoming, where the resurgent Cowboys are undefeated in the Mountain West Conference. Wyoming (6-2, 4-0 Mountain West) is now bowl eligible for the first time since 2011 and starting to draw attention, earning five votes in this week's AP Top 25 poll.
"By no means am I saying we've arrived, but it has changed how our players see themselves," Bohl said Monday. "To a certain degree I think it certainly changed how we're viewed nationally and it gives a real shot in the arm for our program."
Bohl took over a floundering Wyoming program in late 2013 after building a winning program at North Dakota State that included three straight national championships.
He immediately jettisoned the spread offense that Wyoming had used under former coach Dave Christensen and set to building a team based on a more traditional (think Osborne) style, featuring an offense that ground out yards with a powerful run attack and a defense that emphasizes a blue-collar toughness.
Bohl, a native of Lincoln, Nebraska, played for Osborne as a reserve defensive back from 1977 to 1979. He later was a linebackers coach under Osborne for five seasons, including in 1995 and 1997 when the Huskers won national championships.
"Craig Bohl, this is no surprise," Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said last week. "Nebraska graduate, so he brings that toughness."
In his first two years at Wyoming, the Cowboys won just six games, but Bohl stuck to his rebuilding plan.
"We weren't going to take shortcuts," he said. "Maybe some people on the outside were wondering what the heck's going on, but it's rewarding."
Wyoming has developed a rushing attack that is tied with Oklahoma at No. 28 in the nation, gaining an average of 223.9 yards a game. Cowboys running back Brian Hill is No. 2 in the nation in rushing with 1,156 yards.
Bohl describes Hill as "relentless." The 6-foot-1, 219-pound Hill has a reputation around the league for breaking tackles and carrying more than one would-be tackler for extra yards.
"That's beginning to spill over within our football team — that we have a relentless cowboy-tough football team," Bohl said.
Bohl has high expectations for the Cowboys.
"I'm firmly convinced that there's greatness here," he said. "I believe that we can return Cowboy football back to having national relevance."
This article was written by Bob Moen from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.