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Defensive Backs

Wyoming cornerback Tyler Hall tackles Missouri wide receiver Johnathon Johnson during their game on Aug. 31 at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie. Hall is attempting to return from a concussion.

LARAMIE — There were a number of reasons why Wyoming coach Craig Bohl believed the Cowboys’ first open date of the season came at an opportune time.

It gave Wyoming a chance to spend more time focusing on fundamentals as the Cowboys enter the teeth of their Mountain West slate. The extra week also allowed Wyoming to get a head start on its preparation for San Diego State, which, in a matchup of 4-1 teams, will be a step up in competition from what the Cowboys faced in their 53-17 rout of UNLV two Saturdays ago.

But most importantly, the off week gave Wyoming time to heal up to the point the Cowboys should be as healthy as they’ve been all season against SDSU.

“We do anticipate being at full strength, so we’re excited about that,” Bohl said. “It’s going to be the first time in a long time.”

Against UNLV, Wyoming pulled off its largest margin of victory since 2017 despite being without four starters because of injuries, including the entire right side of its offensive line. Guard Logan Harris (concussion) and tackle Alonzo Velazquez (knee) watched from the sideline, though Velazquez returned to practice last week and was listed atop Wyoming’s updated depth chart Monday.

So was Harris, who’s been eased back into the fold after being briefly hospitalized following a hit near his head against Tulsa in the Cowboys’ final non-conference tilt. The Torrington native is still going through protocol but returned to team activities on a limited basis last week and is expected to return to the field Saturday barring any setbacks.

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“It meant a lot when I was able to start running too,” Harris said. “Just being able to do something and being back with the team. Being cleared to go back to meetings and stuff like that was pretty big.”

Cornerback Tyler Hall (concussion) said Monday he is close to clearing protocol and will be back in the starting lineup come Saturday. Hall’s return will also be a boost in the return game with the senior averaging 36 yards on kickoff returns, but he’s a body the Cowboys desperately need at a position that’s been thinned out with Antonio Hull (personal reasons) and C.J. Coldon (season-ending injury) no longer available this season.

The attrition has true freshman Jordan Murry, who made his first career start against UNLV in Hall’s absence, as Wyoming’s third corner behind Hall and Azizi Hearn.

“I’m ready to go,” Hall said.

Defensive end Josiah Hall (arm) is in line to play for the first time since Wyoming’s 21-16 win over Idaho on Sept. 14. The fifth-year senior practiced in a red no-contact jersey last week.

Running back Xazavian Valladay has gotten closer to full strength with each passing week after spraining his ankle early in the season. Valladay had a season-high two touchdown runs against UNLV on 13 carries — his second-most of the season.

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College Sports Reporter

Davis Potter is the University of Wyoming athletics reporter. An Alabama native and 2011 Auburn University graduate, Potter joined the Star-Tribune in 2018 after five years covering Ole Miss and the Southeastern Conference. He lives in Laramie.

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