“We want to strive to do everything we can to take a quarterback out of his comfort zone,” Bohl said. “That means changing up coverages, that means putting people in different rush lanes, that means getting legal hits on him and getting some hurries.
“We’re going to be needing to put some pressure on that quarterback.”
Offensively, the Cowboys will see a different defensive scheme from Nevada under first-year coordinator Brian Ward, who’s ditching the 3-3-5 base defense the Wolf Pack ran previously for a four-man front. The Cowboys have some familiarity with Ward, who spent the 2010 season on staff with Bohl and some of UW’s current assistants when they were still at North Dakota State.
“We’re familiar with Brian and familiar with the general package he likes to run,” offensive coordinator Brent Vigen said. “But still, how is that going to look in the first game?”
The Cowboys have a healthy Sean Chambers back at quarterback to try to combat whatever Nevada throws at them. It will be Chambers’ first game action in nearly a full calendar year after the redshirt sophomore sustained a season-ending knee injury against the Wolf Pack last October.
UW has a plan for both Chambers and redshirt freshman Levi Williams to take snaps, and Xazavian Valladay, the Mountain West’s leading rusher a season ago, will once again be the Cowboys’ featured back. But UW will need its experienced offensive line to help keep the pocket clean and open up running lanes against the Wolf Pack’s defensive front, which features a disruptive force in the middle in junior defensive tackle Dom Peterson. No returning player in the Mountain West had more tackles for loss (15) or sacks (9) last season.