LARAMIE, Wyoming — Wyoming football fans will see a lot of new faces on the field when the Cowboys host North Dakota in the season opener on Saturday.
Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said 13 freshmen will see significant playing time this season, especially on special teams.
It's a situation Bohl called unique in his coaching career, but he said playing so many freshmen now will pay off in the long run.
"We're going to ask a lot of these freshmen — the guys who are playing this year and then the guys that are redshirting — to have a huge impact in this program not only this year but in years to come," Bohl said Monday at a news conference.
The large number of freshman is a result of having only eight seniors on this year's team and a need for faster and more athletic players on the field, he said.
"They're all young, but they're going to run fast," Bohl said.
But Bohl acknowledged there will be challenges from playing so many freshmen.
"It'll be exciting to see, but they'll probably be some time we'll have growing pains as we go through that," he said.
Bohl said he and his staff worked and mentored the new players hard during fall camp.
"That's going to be our charge as coaches to make sure we're putting these guys in position to utilize their athleticism," he said.
But he said the young players will be exciting to watch.
"To say that this is an immature group may not be completely accurate, but they're certainly not seasoned," he said.
And Bohl promised that the freshmen will make an impact.
"A lot of these guys are going to be household names for a long, long time," he said.
Bohl is in his second year as head coach at Wyoming. Last year, the Cowboys finished 4-8.
Kickoff at War Memorial Stadium is set for 2 p.m.