LARAMIE, Wyo. — After playing five games with an unusually high number of eyes on him, Josh Allen will be the one watching college football this weekend.
“Yeah, it doesn’t happen too often,” the Wyoming junior quarterback said. “Still, my favorite team is the Pokes.”
Wyoming, 3-2 through September, has a bye this week, and it couldn’t come at a better time for the banged-up Cowboys.
“It’s probably been the best timing for the bye since I’ve been our head coach, simply because I think we’ve had a stretch of some really, really challenging games, and we are nicked up,” Craig Bohl said. “Our injury report is significantly longer than it was last year, and sometimes that comes with the cost of who you’re playing, and sometimes it’s just the luck of the draw, but nonetheless we’re banged up, and it’s going to be an important week to get some guys all solidified before we go to Logan.”
When the Cowboys return to the field, they’ll get all five Mountain Division foes consecutively, including Utah State and Boise State on the road to begin the stretch. Every team in the Mountain besides Utah State won seven or more games last season, and the Aggies are off to a 3-2 start this year.
Bohl expects to get back defensive end Kevin Prosser (shoulder) and fullback/long snapper Drew Van Maanen (hand) for the game at Utah State.
Bohl said he is “in hopes” left guard Ryan Cummings (concussion) can return for the game. Tight end Austin Fort (PCL) has a chance as well, Bohl said, but linebacker Adam Pilapil (groin), left guard Kaden Jackson (knee) and nose tackle Sidney Malauulu (knee) will be out for a while.
“I think it’s pretty good timing,” linebacker Logan Wilson told the Casper Star-Tribune (http://bit.ly/2xdX8El ) about the bye, “especially coming off two pretty big wins, especially this team win that we put together (Saturday). It gives us time to recover and get ready and gripped up for conference season.”
Bohl said the team will not practice Monday or Friday but will have a late-afternoon practice Saturday.
“So, a mix of recruiting, a mix of fundamentals and a mix of working on Utah State,” he said.
Bohl said the coaching staff would do some recruiting Friday.
“We’ve been working really hard on in-season recruiting, and we do take advantage of bye weeks,” he said. “But there’s been a lot of times on Friday nights that we’ve been out both in-state and out of state. And that certainly helps, because everybody’s going to grapple with how do you meander through the change of the early signing date, and we plan to be on point with that.”
With some starters recovering from practice, this week could provide additional opportunities for players further down the depth chart, much like Wyoming’s 45-10 win over Texas State.
“There will be a flow during the course of practice,” Bohl said. “We do give a lot of guys repetition, anyhow, even though they don’t see meaningful game-play repetition. What will occur is I think you’ll see some of those balances change during the course of the week in the rotation. Numbers will change.
“Some of it’s going to be dictated by our depth. … A couple guys that are really experienced players, if they’ve been having nagging injuries, you’ll see some of their repetition cut. However, we’re in it to win this thing, and the best way that we know how to win is to prepare. So we’ll be artful on the amount of contact that we have and the amount of work that we give, but we’ll need to practice pretty well.”
While the Cowboys will have some extra time to be couch potatoes Saturday, Allen said the game he’s most focused on is Utah State-Colorado State.
“That’s the reason why bye weeks are so important,” Allen said. “You’ve got a week up on an opponent. We’re able to watch what they do this week in their game, and they don’t get to focus on us until after it.
“It’s really an important (week) and it’s a useful tool for us. We can be really aggressive on how we game plan, and it’s just an opportunity to watch more film.”
Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com