Experienced Beyond Their Years, Cowboys Return 8 of 10 Primary Figures of Offensive Line
The growing pains are over.
The Wyoming Cowboys offensive line has come of age.
And it has been apparent in the fall workouts, especially during last weekend's scrimmage.
"It's probably as good as I've seen our offensive line perform," head coach Craig Bohl said. "The offensive line did a great job with some movement up front. We established the line of scrimmage. ... I felt the offensive lineup played well as a unit."
Now, don't get the wrong idea.
The line is still young.
But it is experienced.
Eight of the 10 players on the two deep for the offensive line from last year's Arizona Bowl victory return this year.
Two members of the offensive line two-deep from last year's Arizona Bowl roster -- both of whom were listed second on the depth chart -- both graduated early last spring, right tackle Gavin Dunayski, and center Patrick Cryder.
The Cowboys do return:
-- Left tackles Rudy Stofer, a 6-6, 297-pound junior from Kearney, Neb.
-- Left guards Eric Abojei, a 6-foot-5, 350-pound junior, who missed the final weeks of 2019 after being injured at San Diego State, and Zach Watts, a 6-5, 285-pound redshirt sophomore from Windsor, Co.
-- Centers Keegan Cryder, a 6-foot-4, 297 pound junior from Littleton, Co., and Latrell Bible, a 6-foot-4, 262-pound sophomore from Minneapolis, who is making the transition from left guard.
-- Right guards Logan Harris, a 6-foot-3, 304-pound senior from Torrington, and Blayne Baker, a 6-foot-4, 290-pound redshirt sophomore from Sheridan.
--And right tackle Frank Crum, a 6-foot-7, 314-pound redshirt sophomore from Laramie.
Looming in the background is right tackle Alonzo Velazquez, a 6-foot-6, 302-pound senior, who suffered a torn labrum during a walk through early in camp, but is not expected to miss the entire season. He has been limited by knee injuries the past two seasons.
And the players are upbeat about what is ahead.
"With a limited number of players (due to freshmen being quarantined) the last two weeks, everybody has gotten a lot of reps with a lot of different guys on the O-Line, so everybody is pretty comfortable playing with each other," said Harris. "I think that showed on Saturday. Coach (Bart) Miller did quite a bit of rotating on Saturday. Some guys had more limited reps and some guys took a lot more like Latrell Bible. I think he is doing a really good job in there for a young guy."
Harris said there was a point of disappointment when the Mountain West announced in August that there would be no 2020 season. That, however, has since changed, allowing an eight-game season, but with a bonus for the players in that this year will not count against eligibility.
"I talked with coach Miller a little bit about it," said Harris. "I told him I didn't want my senior season to be eight games, but then the NCAA came out and said no one would be punished by losing a year of eligibility if they play this year.
"That was bit for me, heck yeah. I get another of eligibility if they play this year. It will be nice if everything is back to normal next year, but right now I'm really excited about the season we have this year."
And the presence of Harris, along with the other returning offensive lineman give the Cowboys reason to be excited.
They had an impact a year ago, and figure to build off that this year.
The Cowboys did finish second in the Mountain West and 22nd nationally, averaging 214.8 yards per game, thanks in part to the line's ability to open holes. Cryder was a second-team All-Mountain West selection, and Harris was honorable mention.
And Wyoming and Air Force were the only Mountain West teams to make the Joe Moore Offensive Line Honor Roll.