Cowboys Are a Team; Personal Agendas Have No Place on the Football Field
In the moments after the Cowboys football team had retained the Bronze Boot for the third year in a row by beat Colorado State, the players and Wyoming fans who had made the trip to Fort Collins were celebrating.
And in the midst of all that, Tyler Vander Waal, the starting quarterback in the Cowboys’ first six games, found his replacement, Sean Chambers, and embraced him with a man hug of joy.
“That meant a lot,” said Chambers, a true freshman. “I mean, having his support.”
Not that it was a surprise, said Chambers.
“We are all tight, me, Nick (Smith, a fifth year senior) and Tyler,” Chambers said in reference to the other quarterbacks. “If I’m having success, they are happy. If they have success, I’m happy.”
It’s part of a commitment to the team that coach Craig Bohl and his staff has worked to create.
It’s not for everyone. And the Cowboys, like other universities, have had their share of players either quit or transfer. But they also have had a stronger commitment to the team than you find at many schools.
The quarterbacks are prime examples. Smith is working on his masters in his fifth year at Wyoming, and his playing time has been limited. He, however, has become a critical mentor to his teammates, and one of the most respected players on the team. Not once has Smith, who came to Wyoming from Merritt, Island, Fla., lost his commitment to the team.
“For me, personally, quitting or moving on or some someplace else was never an option,” said Smith. “I have been here and I want to finish here. Once I get to the end of the road, I want to be able to finish what I started.”
Vander Waal, a redshirt freshman, expressed a similar feeling to Robert Gagliardi of WyoSports.net on Monday.
“ Wyoming was one of three schools to offer me a scholarship,” he said. “I’m a Cowboy for life. I signed that letter of intent to stay here for four or five years. I’m going to give this school everything that I have.”
Vander Waal said “it was tough to take” when UW went with Chambers as the starter, but things have gotten better, in large part due to the team’s success – along with what Chambers has done.
“It is what’s best for the team. It is not about me, it is about the team,” he said. “Sean is getting the job done, and I’m going to support him no matter what. I’m so glad Sean is tearing it up, and I love every second of it.”
The Cowboys have won both games started by Chambers who was being redshirted until he came off the bench at Fresno State for two players in the first half, and then the bulk of the second half, in which he rushed for 100 yards.
Then came the wins, at Colorado State and at home against San Jose State, which puts the Cowboys in position for bowl eligibility if they can repeat the success in their final two games – Air Force at War Memorial Staidum on Nov. 17 and at New Mexico a week later.
Chambers and Evans have become only the second pair of teammates to each rush for 100 or more runs in three consecutive games this season. Chambers, in two and a half games, has become the Cowboys’ second-leading rusher with 58 carries for 330 yards and two touchdowns.
He has only throw 23 passes, but he has completed 14 of them, covering 229 yards, and resulting in three touchdowns. He has not thrown an interception.
He has quickly been accepted by Wyoming fans.
But what hasn’t been lost in the locker room and during practices is the way Vander Waal has handled his situations.
“The times I’ve talked to Tyler, he’s always taking notes and paying attention when not taking reps,” Bohl said. “He’s been encouraging to Sean. He’s been a really good teammate, which is a good indication of where we are as a football team. We don’t have guys with a selfish agenda.”
“We appreciate Tyler,” Bohl added, “and there may come a time where his services are needed, and he’s prepared for that.”
When that time comes, Vander Waal has said he will be there, just like Smith has been there in times of need, doing whatever it takes to make the team better.
It’s the Cowboy Way.