LARAMIE — Craig Bohl would like Wyoming’s first scrimmage of fall camp to be a lengthy one.
If that happens, the Cowboys’ coach could be just days away from making some more decisions when it comes to the depth chart, which has some spots that still need to be sorted out with Wyoming’s season opener against Missouri on Aug. 31 nearly two weeks away.
The Cowboys are officially past the halfway point of camp after holding their 11th practice Wednesday morning. Wyoming is scheduled to hold a full-scale scrimmage Saturday, though how hard — and how long — the Cowboys go will depend on how healthy they are after sustaining their first significant injury of camp.
“We’re going to look to see. Hopefully we don’t have anybody else go down,” Bohl said. “If we don’t, we’ll have a 100-plus play scrimmage, which is going to be important.”
Ravontae Holt, who was in line to begin his first season as a full-time starter at defensive tackle, is done for the season after tearing his ACL last week, further depleting the depth at the position with true freshman Alonzo Hall (foot fracture) also out for the foreseeable future. Braden Smith topped the depth chart at free safety coming out of the spring and has held that position, though he’s been hampered by a hamstring injury to the point that Bohl said they’ll have to make a decision as to whether the junior will participate in the scrimmage as he tries to get back to full strength.
“We’re getting closer to the opening of the season, and so we need to make sure he’s set by that time,” said Bohl, who added Smith is about “90 percent” healthy.
But Wyoming is far enough along in camp that decisions need to start being made. The punting competition between Tim Zaleski and Ryan Galovich is ongoing, but Bohl said Galovich has the edge right now. Zaleski is still nursing his surgically repaired left knee that’s still making for too much inconsistency, Bohl said.
“There’s some pain,” Bohl said. “Sometimes he’ll hit a good one and other times he’ll wince.”
Sophomores Eric Abojei and Patrick Arnold continue to compete for the starting left guard spot while redshirt freshman Frank Crum is starting to emerge as the Cowboys’ third offensive tackle behind starters Alonzo Velazquez and Rudy Stofer, offensive line coach Bart Miller said.
In the backfield, Wyoming is set at the top of the depth chart with Xazavian Valladay and Louisville grad transfer Trey Smith, but the competition to be the third running back is still among true freshmen Titus Swen, Dawaiian McNeely and Alphonzo Andrews Jr.
Bohl said Swen has the edge among the trio of newcomers, but Saturday will go a long way to further solidifying things.
“We’ll need to be making a decision,” Bohl said, referencing the punting competition specifically. “We’ll have a pretty major scrimmage on Saturday, and I think right after that you’re going to see us declare a depth chart.”
Working on it
Quarterback Sean Chambers continues to grasp “more and more understanding of what we’re doing” in the offense, Bohl said. It’s situational work that’s now the focus for the redshirt freshman.
Wyoming ended Wednesday’s practice with a two-minute drill. Bohl said there was a little more pressure on the quarterbacks since it was a touchdown-to-win situation but added he thought Chambers performed well.
“How much do you have left? You have two shots in the end zone. What’s the clock ticking down? Do you have a timeout? Don’t you have a timeout? Where are you at on the field?” Bohl said. “We’re trying to replicate as many situations as what we can, but it’s difficult. Those I think are the things that are probably a little bit more of a ceiling than actually the playbook.”
Spot to fill
Wyoming ideally wants a rotation of four interior defensive linemen when the games start. With Holt out, that leaves Javaree Jackson and redshirt freshman Mario Mora as the first-teamers inside with sophomore Victor Jones behind them.
The Cowboys are still deciding on the fourth to join the rotation, but redshirt freshman Claude Cole continues to make a strong case. Another freshman, Cole Godbout, is also in the mix.
“Claude’s been in the mix as one of the guys that’s doing really well,” defensive tackles coach Pete Kaligis said. “He’s learning the position.”