Cowboys' Bye Week: Just What Doctored Ordered for Healing the Ailing
LARAMIE – When Cowboys head football coach Craig Bohl sat down with Tim Harkins, the associated athletic director/media relations, on Monday morning to put together the weekly depth chart he called a time out.
The Cowboys are starting a bye week. There’s no game until Boise State visits War Memorial Stadium on Nov. 29. There’s no sense trying to solve Rubik’s cube, a.k.a., a depth chart for a Cowboys football team with more than its share of aches, pains and more serious physical matters.
“The list is so long,” Bohl said when asked about injuries. “I talked to Tim Harkins before I came in (for the weekly media session). That’s why we didn’t (put together) a depth charge. We had so many `ors’ in there.”
There is no either/or about the fact the Cowboys bye week has come at a good time. They got through the non-conference portion to their schedule splitting four games, and now have an extra week to heal up before embarking on the eight-game Mountain West schedule, beginning with a visit by nationally-ranked Boise State on Sept. 29.
And while Bohl didn’t go into a full rundown on the injuries, he did indicate the extra week bodes well for the returning of senior running back Nico Evans, who has been out since five players into the second half of the Washington State game with rib problems, and tight end Austin Fort, who has been out since suffering a knee injury in the season-opener at New Mexico State.
That would be a major move forward in light of the fact the Cowboys’ depth chart was three deep at both positions when the season started, but last week they were without Evans, a senior, and freshman Jevon Bigelow, leaving redshirt freshman Xazavian Valladay as the most proven running back. With Fort out since the opener, and Josh Harshman suffering a knee injury Sept. 8 at Missouri, Tyree Mayfield was the only one of the three seniors on the field for Wofford.
“We’re in hope that Austin Fort will be back,” said Bohl. “Nico Evans should be back. (Nickel back) Tyler Hall, we’ll see as we go. (Freshman cornerback) C.J. Coldon. … There’s a whole list of guys. The most promising would be Austin Fort and Niko.”
The luxury of the off-week is the Cowboys can take a little more time in their approach to getting ready for the next game, allowing players to heal, and also giving coaches a chance next weekend to do some personal recruiting.
“We will use this work to work hard on fundamentals, and quite frankly we need to get healed up,” said Bohl. “We were really super thing in a lot of positions going into the (Wofford) game and I was honestly concerned that we’d have enough player makers and enough depth to get through a physical game.”
They survived, pulling out a 17-14 win when redshirt freshman quarterback Tyler Vander Waal guided the Cowboys on an 14-play, 80-yard drive – capped off by a nine-year touchdown pass to Raghib Ismail, Jr. – that began with 1:59 to play and ended with 17 seconds left on the clock.
“We’ve got the bi-week to get healed up, and then there’s going to be a ton of players who were not able to play last game who will be available against Boise. That’s going create a different makeup in our roster.
“We’ll then we will have a different makeup in things we can do offensive and defensively, and in the kicking game as well.
Boise, however, won’t become the focus until next week.
“We’ll spend some time on Boise this week, but really we’re going to work on ourselves,” said Bohl.