LARAMIE, Wyoming — The setting was the same, but the view was very different.
For the sixth consecutive season, Pete Kaligis attended a National Signing Day press conference as a member of Wyoming's football staff. Only this time, all of the following had changed: the rest of the coaching staff, his job title and the personnel at his position.
The lone holdover from Dave Christensen's previous staff in Laramie, Kaligis stood to the side of the podium in the Wildcatter Suites on Wednesday, surrounded by new coaches who were still living out of hotel rooms and familiarizing themselves with the stadium covered with sheets of snow to their right.
Kaligis, a veteran outlier lost in a sea of newcomers, stood up and waved to the crowd after being introduced by new Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl.
Though the room was filled with a different group of people a year ago, Kaligis is thankful that his home hasn't changed.
"I know I'm blessed to be part of this staff," Kaligis said. "For Bohl to make me part of it, I'm blessed to be here. It's an honor to still be here."
But Kaligis' position has shifted within the team. Earlier this month, Bohl announced that Kaligis, who previously coached running backs and offensive linemen at UW, will handle the defensive tackles next season.
While Wyoming's newest head coach had never met Kaligis prior to landing the job in Laramie, he learned very quickly what the player-friendly coach with the handlebar mustache could contribute to the staff.
"He brings a great deal of energy," Bohl said on Jan. 8. "And I think it's important for us: if we're going to establish a great defense, you better be great at the defensive tackle position."
"Great" wasn't a word used often to describe Wyoming's 2013 defensive line. The Cowboys allowed 220.2 rush yards per game last season, as opposing linemen and running backs wore down a thin Wyoming front and repeatedly burst through holes into the secondary.
In 2014, experienced defensive tackles Patrick Mertens and Uso Olive both return. And as Bohl announced to a room crowded with media, donors and fans, they will have plenty of competition at the position.
Wyoming signed three defensive tackles on Wednesday — "big, strong rascals," Bohl said with a giddy grin.
They are: Conner Cain, 6-4, 250; Daniel Vega, 6-4, 260; and Sidney Malauulu, 6-3, 280.
Kaligis was excited about the team's determination to add depth at his position. Because with depth, he knows, comes competition and improvement.
"You just know that when you come to work every day — when you come from upper campus and come to this area — that you've got to be ready to go," Kaligis told the Casper Star-Tribune (http://bit.ly/LEuZOy ). "When you step on that field, you've got to do your best at all times.
"If you don't have competition, you can relax a little bit and think the person behind me can't catch me. If you've got someone pressing you all the time, you have to be on all the time. And that's what makes you a better player."
As the freshmen learn the ins and outs of Division I football in the fall, Kaligis will be learning as well. The former national champion offensive lineman at Washington hasn't coached defensive tackles since very early in his career, spending much of his time on the offensive side of the ball.
It will be an adjustment, he said, to master the new responsibilities and techniques that he will pass down to his players. But that "in the trenches" mentality — tough, gritty, always looking for a hit — has never left him.
Kaligis smiles when he talks about it, the physicality and grit that only a lineman can really know. In the defensive tackles room, he will once again be among kindred souls — mighty men searching for contact.
No matter the position or the company on staff, Kaligis has always coached the same way. That isn't likely to change next season.
"I don't think it matters what position you coach. It's from the heart," Kaligis said, pointing to his chest. "That's how this game is supposed to be played."
Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com