LARAMIE (AP) — Wyoming’s attempt to balance out its offense with Sean Chambers at quarterback is still very much a work in progress. Most of that work, Chambers admits, starts with him.
As much focus as there was during fall camp on bringing Chambers along as a passer so the Cowboys could expand their playbook after using their young quarterback primarily as a runner last season, Wyoming’s passing game has looked much like it did last year through two games this season. Chambers has yet to complete more than eight passes in a game, connecting on just 41.2%.
That’s the fourth-worst completion percentage in the Football Bowl Subdivision and lower than Wyoming’s 49.8% last season. Tyler Vander Waal spent most of last season at starter and completed 48.8% before being benched in favor of Chambers, who attempted just 25 passes in his four games as a freshman.
There are still some looks from opposing defenses he’s having to adjust to, but Chambers has thrown just one interception this season, and that came when he tried to give his receivers a chance to make a play on a jump ball in the end zone as the final second ticked off the clock on the first half against Texas State.
The primary issue for Chambers has been throwing wide of open receivers.
“There’s a lot of stuff, but I just start with myself,” he told the Casper Star-Tribune. “I look at myself in the mirror and ask myself what I can do better. It’s just stuff with my mechanics and footwork.”
Chambers went 8 of 18 passing for 103 yards against the Bobcats after going 6 of 16 through the air against Missouri.
Three plays in particular stuck with offensive coordinator Brent Vigen, where better accuracy and decision-making from the redshirt freshman could have resulted in more production: an errant third-down throw to Xazavian Valladay out of the backfield, a throw off a run-pass option that sailed high over the middle, and a shot to Rocket Ismail Jr. in the corner of the end zone that Chambers put high over the Bobcats’ zone coverage.
“He probably should’ve taken the easy [checkdown],” Vigen said. “So it’s part maybe decisions at times, and it’s been maybe some footwork things. They’re all throws he’s able to make.”
On Wyoming’s opening possession of the third, Chambers placed one in the breadbasket to Gunner Gentry for a 44-yard completion on third-and-9 to keep alive a drive that ultimately ended in a field goal toward UW’s 23-14 comeback victory. He also completed 15 of 25 last season and threw for more touchdowns (3) than he ran for (2), so it’s not like Chambers isn’t capable of more.
But there have also been attempts that left a lot to be desired. The one that won’t soon be forgotten is Chambers’ short hop of a wide-open Josh Harshman in the end zone that left the Cowboys settling for a chip-shot field goal in the first quarter against Missouri.
It’s the kind of rushed throw that Chambers said has occurred far too often in the early going this season.
“I’ve just got to stay calm. I have happy feet out there sometimes,” Chambers said. “I’ve just got to be calm and deliver the ball accurately.”
Wyoming is one of nine FBS teams that still doesn’t have a passing touchdown this season. A running game averaging 243.5 yards and a defense that has forced six turnovers and found the end zone twice itself have helped, but the Cowboys need air power to catch up.
“Right now, we’re off,” Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said. “Those numbers have got to improve, and we’re going to work hard on that over the course of this week.”