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Bohl Q & A in Wyoming reveals large recruiting footprint

by Mike McFeely

Former North Dakota State football coach Craig Bohl, the brand-new head coach at Wyoming, did a lengthy question-and-answer session with the newspaper in Laramie, Wyo. It is available in its two-part entirety at www.wyosports.net.

Here is Part 1, and ...

Here is Part 2.

Nothing particularly earth-shattering came from Bohl's interview with sports editor Robert Gagliardi. The coach sounds pretty much like the coach who made NDSU into the FCS powerhouse that it is. Bohl talked about building a program like he did in Fargo, the importance of changing "the style of play" at Wyoming into a hard-nosed, physical style and his love of flying and Harleys. The usual stuff.

Craig Bohl

There were a couple of interesting tidbits, however. When asked about the areas he plans to recruit, Bohl cast a wide geographic net -- including the Dakotas and Minnesota.

“Here’s a picture of where we will go. We will scour Wyoming. How many players that we recruit from Wyoming will vary, but it will be fairly limited. But it will be an important area.

“Colorado is going to be huge with its population base, its (UW) alumni base and its proximity to us. We will double down our efforts there.

“An area they have not recruited lately here is Montana. Another area we are going to look hard into is Nebraska. If you look back at good Wyoming teams under Paul Roach (1987-91) and Joe Tiller (1991-96), they had success in those areas.

“We will branch out to Iowa, which I think has some potential. The Kansas City area also does. The state of Kansas does. We will look in Phoenix. California is going to be important because of the Mountain West.

“The Northwest is an area that I think can really be good for us. (Assistant coach) Pete Kaligis (a holdover from former coach Dave Christensen’s staff) has extensive recruiting experience there.

“Texas, right now, is not going to be a real high priority. But I have a great deal of recruiting experience in Texas. I’m not saying we won’t recruit in Texas, but it probably won’t be emphasized as much as it has in the past.

“We still will dabble in the Dakotas and maybe look in Minnesota a little bit.”
Bohl also sounded more than a little peeved about redshirt sophomore Jason Thompson leaving Wyoming after starting quarterback Brett Smith decided to forgo his senior season with the Cowboys and enter the NFL Draft. Let's just say Thompson won't be able to ask Bohl for a job reference once he decides to enter the workaday world. Thompson can ask Chris Klieman about the Bohl Freeze Out.
"Brett was real upfront. We had two really good visits with him. He has always wanted to play in the NFL. The NFL has a mechanism to give them a potential grading. He said ‘Coach, I love what you guys are talking about. But if my grade comes out in a certain area, I’m going to go.’

"Jason was a little bit different. Jason had three years left here. How he made his decision, I can’t put myself in his shoes. I know that he didn’t know Brent and me from whomever.

"I really believe we let him know he was important, and we were in his home less than 24 hours after we just won our third national championship (at North Dakota State).

"That was his decision. For us to try to analyze every single thing is counterproductive. He seemed like a great young man, and I wish him well in his future."

Another nugget from Bohl was in regards to the challenges of the geographic landscape of the Mountain West and the different styles of play the schools play. While at NDSU, Bohl often talked about how the Missouri Valley Football Conference had a rugged, physical style of play and he was accurate -- all of the schools lined up and played Midwest football. No spread offenses, no flavor-of-the-day stuff. Not so in the Mountain West:

"What also is a challenge is the geographic landscape of the Mountain West. I don’t how many time zones there are from Hawaii to here. There are tons of different styles of play. That in itself poses much more of a challenge to be able to adapt.

"This is a very competitive league with a lot of different skill sets within it."
Bohl, as he is wont to do, also dropped a bunch of names when asked who has influenced his coaching life, including one I had not heard him drop before -- Mark Dantonio of Michigan State. He also mentioned Lovie Smith, along with the usual suspects of Tom Osborne and Don Morton.
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