LARAMIE — Wyoming coach Craig Bohl talked as if he would have forked up some money had the Cowboys’ first open date of the season come a week earlier.
“I’d have given a month’s salary to move that bye week up going into this last week,” Bohl said Monday.
One can only speculate as to whether he would’ve actually paid up, but the sentiment alone speaks to how desperate Wyoming is for some extra time off considering its laundry list of injuries. Games against SEC foe Missouri, Texas State, Idaho and Tulsa in particular have thinned out even some of Wyoming’s deepest positions.
Bohl said the Cowboys got through their 53-17 shellacking of UNLV over the weekend “relatively healthy.” Now Wyoming gets its first week off before heading to San Diego State on Oct. 12 — one that couldn’t come soon enough for the ailing Cowboys.
“It’s a perfect time of the year for a bye week,” defensive end Solomon Byrd said.
Four starters watched the UNLV game from the sideline in street clothes. That doesn’t count running back Trey Smith, who got the start against Tulsa in place of a hobbled Xazavian Valladay before going down with an ankle injury that could cause him to miss the rest of the season.
Bohl said he’s hopeful the open date will give right guard Logan Harris (concussion), right tackle Alonzo Velazquez (knee) and cornerback Tyler Hall (concussion) enough recovery time to be ready for SDSU, though he added Harris still hadn’t started going through protocol as of Monday afternoon. Hall said while he’s not that far along in protocol, he “most definitely” expects to play against the Aztecs.
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Bohl said last week he expected defensive end Josiah Hall (arm) to be ready for UNLV after sitting out against Tulsa, but Hall didn’t play against the Rebels either. Bohl added he’d know more on the status of all of his injured players as the week progresses.
“We’re in hopes that we’re going to have a whole boatload of those guys back in a healthy fashion when we hop on the plane to go out to San Diego,” Bohl said.
Valladay had 13 carries and two touchdowns against UNLV after getting just five carries the previous week against Tulsa — a sign his ankle is getting healthier — but true freshman Titus Swen got the most significant workload in the backfield in his first career start. Swen was the primary contributor to Wyoming’s best rushing performance of the season (374 yards), busting a career-long 59-yard run and a 44-yard touchdown scamper as part of a 136-yard night. Sophomore Patrick Arnold and redshirt freshman Frank Crum filled in for Harris and Velazquez on the right side of the offensive line.
True freshman Jordan Murry wasn’t anywhere near the two-deep at the start of the season given Wyoming’s depth at cornerback, but he got his first career start against UNLV with Hall and C.J. Coldon (season-ending injury) both out. Antonio Hull (personal matter) rejoined the team before the Tulsa game but has yet to play this season. Bohl declined to comment on Hull’s status after Saturday’s game, but the senior corner was still on the Cowboys’ two-deep Monday.
“Some of it was kind of like we didn’t have a lot of other options,” Bohl said of starting Murry, who finished with five tackles. “If you look at the number of corners we’ve got right now compared to where we were at during fall camp, it’s significantly different.”
As for how the Cowboys plan to use the bye week, Bohl said practice time will be split between rehashing fundamentals and preparing for SDSU. The coaching staff will also hit the road recruiting, but Wyoming needs to heal up more than anything.
“I think everybody can get in the training room whether they played a lot or played a little bit,” linebacker Cassh Maluia said. “Get in the training room, get right and get ready for San Diego State.”