LARAMIE — By the time spring drills ended, Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said the list of injuries was as long as he could ever remember it being for his team.
That list still exists, but Bohl said it’s getting shorter with fall camp a little more than a month away.
A handful of players expected to be significant contributors for Wyoming this fall missed all of spring practice while others were held out of the Cowboys’ spring game after getting injured during the team’s first 14 practices. The most severe were knee injuries sustained by offensive linemen Gavin Rush and Zach Watts, who will both miss all of next season.
Fellow offensive linemen Alonzo Velazquez, Eric Abojei and Patrick Arnold; defensive ends Garrett Crall and Josiah Hall; linebacker Cassh Maluia; receiver Austin Conway; and cornerbacks Tyler Hall and Keyon Blankenbaker were among those on the post-spring two-deep who missed all or part of spring because of injuries. Most of them are expected to be fully healthy by the time fall camp rolls around in early August while Bohl said no other serious injuries have popped up this summer.
“Not anything I’m aware of right now that’s going to hold some guys back,” Bohl said.
Conway, who led the Cowboys with 32 receptions last season, still hasn’t been fully cleared after dealing with a hamstring injury most of the spring. But Bohl said his biggest concern is at punter, where Tim Zaleski still isn’t all the way back from his season-ending knee injury. Zaleski averaged 38.8 yards per punt before having surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament he tore against Boise State in the fifth game of last season.
Receiver Dontae Crow took over most of the punting duties in Zaleski’s absence, but the Sheridan native moved back to his more natural position during the spring. Ryan Galovich, who punted 13 times for an average of 37.9 yards last season, is the other option there.
“We feel like Tim is going to be cleared, but he didn’t punt at all (in the spring) and Dontae is no longer punting,” Bohl said.
While there are still depth concerns along the offensive line and in the backfield now that Jevon Bigelow and Reow Jackson have left the program, Bohl said he liked the physicality the group developed when taking an overview of the spring.
“I think we made good progress in the offensive line in terms of being able to run the football,” Bohl said. “We’re pleased with that.”
Bohl said the spring also alleviated some of the concern he had with the Cowboys’ safeties now that Andrew Wingard and Marcus Epps are no longer around. Junior-to-be Braden Smith emerged as the leader at free safety by the end of the spring while Alijah Halliburton is back after starting six games last season.
In the fold
All 24 signees in Wyoming’s 2019 recruiting class have reported to campus. A team spokesman told the Star-Tribune on June 26 the newcomers have been on campus for the last couple of weeks.
The group joined incoming freshmen Levi Williams and Devin Jennings, who went through spring practice as early enrollees. That includes graduate transfer Trey Smith, who will immediately compete to be the Cowboys’ starting running back after averaging 5.3 yards per carry at Louisville last season.