Wyoming’s quarterback is fine.
It’s the running back position that became the issue.
Cowboys coach Dave Christensen reiterated Monday that starting true freshman quarterback Brett Smith will be ready to play at Air Force on Saturday, but also announced that junior running back Ghaali Muhammad will miss the remainder of the season with an injury sustained early in Saturday’s 31-20 loss to TCU.
“It’s devastating to see such a great player go down,” sophomore running back Brandon Miller said. “He’s a contributor to the team not just at running back, but special teams. We all just hope for a speedy recovery.”
Christensen said he expects Muhammad to be back in time for spring camp.
Muhammad appeared to suffer a left leg injury on a run during the first quarter.
The converted linebacker, who missed some of UW’s spring and fall camps due to injuries, had carried the ball 60 times for 388 yards, an average of 6.3 yards per carry that led the way for all major rushing contributors.
“That’s really unfortunate and too bad to hear,” UW senior linebacker Brian Hendricks said. “He was a big asset to this team. That’s pretty disappointing.”
Christensen said junior Alvester Alexander, the team’s leading rusher, and Miller, who had switched more to a slot receiver position, will shoulder more of the load.
But the third-year coach has also decided to pull the redshirt off true freshman Kody Sutton, a highly touted prospect who sat out the first eight games.
“He just needed to mature, and thank goodness he’s done that over the past month,” Christensen said. “When I brought him in and asked him if he wanted to help the football team, he was very excited.”
Sutton, a 5-foot-8, 190-pound, back out of Texarkana, Texas, was rather impressive during fall camp, but was bottled behind the trio of running backs.
Christensen also praised an increased work ethic in practice.
“He, in the last month, has really improved,” Christensen said. “He’s matured a lot. He’d have played right away had he practiced like he’s practicing right now and training camp, all the way through.”
The stunning running back news came during Christensen’s weekly Monday press conference where much of the discussion going in surrounded the health of Smith.
The rookie quarterback went down on the first play of the fourth quarter with what appeared to be a head injury — though UW does not talk about specific injuries.
“He’s fine,” Christensen said. “He’s 100 percent ready to go.”