LARAMIE — This time a week ago, Wyoming was getting as healthy as it’s been all season coming off a bye week. Now as the Cowboys prepare to start the second half of their season, they’re hurting again.
Wyoming is once again dealing with a handful of injuries heading into Saturday’s homecoming game against New Mexico. First it was offensive lineman Eric Abojei, who went down with a knee injury during the first half against San Diego State last week that will keep him out for the foreseeable future. Freshman running back Titus Swen, the Cowboys’ second-leading rusher, will also be out approximately four weeks with a knee injury he suffered late against the Aztecs, Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said Wednesday.
With Trey Smith still sidelined with an ankle injury, that leaves Wyoming without two of its top three running backs. Bohl said he isn’t sure if right tackle Alonzo Velazquez will be available against the Lobos either.
Velazquez returned to the starting lineup against SDSU after missing the UNLV game on Sept. 28 but tweaked the same knee he injured earlier this season. Redshirt freshman Frank Crum stepped in to finish the game against the Aztecs and could get his second career start Saturday if Velazquez, who still has yet to practice this week, isn’t able to go.
“We’re hopeful,” Bohl said. “(Velazquez) is an experienced guy, but he’ll need to have pretty significant improvement tomorrow.”
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The offensive line has been dealing with attrition since the spring when guards Gavin Rush and Zach Watts sustained season-ending knee injuries, but the good news for the Cowboys is Logan Harris has cleared concussion protocol and is expected to return to his right guard spot Saturday. Harris, who’s missed the last two games after sustaining the scary head injury against Tulsa on Sept. 21, had been practicing in a no-contact jersey but was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice.
Sophomore Patrick Arnold is in line to get his third straight start Saturday, this time at left guard. Redshirt freshman Blayne Baker and true freshman Latrell Bible, who got his first collegiate snaps against SDSU, will provide depth on the interior of the offensive line.
As for who will supply depth at running back behind Xazavian Valladay, Bohl said Casper native Brett Brenton and converted fullback Jeff Burroughs, a Yoder native, will be the No. 2 and 3 backs, respectively, for Saturday’s game.
“Those two could probably switch back and forth,” Bohl said of Brenton and Burroughs. “And (true freshman) Alphonzo (Andrew Jr.) will be the fourth back.”
Sophomore tight end Nate Weinman is also out this week. Weinman, who played in the first five games but didn’t make the trip to SDSU, has a broken thumb that’s keeping him from practicing. Bohl said it’s not a season-ending injury but rather a matter of how soon Weinman is able to return.
That leaves senior Josh Harshman and redshirt freshman Jackson Marcotte as the primary tight ends. True freshman Treyton Welch is No. 3 at the position.