Bohl Set with Williams at QB, Backup Remains to be Determined

Tracy Ringolsby

What is certain is that Levi Williams will be the Cowboys starting -- and primary -- quarterback for Friday night's home opener against Hawaii. Who will be backing him up is to be determined.

Williams stepped in after three plays in Saturday's game at Nevada, taking over after Sean Chambers suffered a broken left fibula, and finished the game, in which the Cowboys battled back in the second half to force an overtime, but eventually lost 35-32.

Should be said, fortunately finished the game because the Cowboys did not have a third quarterback with them on the trip to Reno. Stepping into the backup role is going to be a freshman -- either Gavin Beerup or Hank Gibbs, a walk-on from Fayetteville, Ark.

Bohl said he could decide as early as Tuesday.

The Cowboys are awaiting word on whether Chambers will require surgery. Chambers had surgery to repair a broken fibula in his right leg in 2018 and missed the final five games last season with a knee injury.

WHAT BOHL did know during Monday's weekly media zoom call is defensive end Garrett Crall will not be available for the second week in a row. He has been bothered by a slow healing foot wound, a residual from surgery he underwent in late spring.

"Unless somethings change, I don't anticipate having him back this week," said Bohl. "We do plan on him coming back shortly."

THE ELEMENTS don't figure to be what Hawaii is used, too, but the snow and cold that hit the state on Saturday is expected to have subsided by Friday. 

"I'd like to think for us, it's zero degrees and the wind is blown sideways," said Bohl. "I don't know if that's going to be the case. We're going to play no matter what the weather is and they will as well. For us to say (the weather) is an advantage, I don't know that."

THE FACT Chambers was on crutches on the sideline made an impression on his teammates, and the coaching staff.

"It was great to see Sean out there and doing the corn toss for overtime, albeit he lost the coin toss," Bohl said. "He was right in the huddle giving encouraging words."

Bohl said Chambers may not be able to play, but he will be a part of the team at home games and during workouts.

"Sean is a remarked person," said Bohl. "Sean is very supportive during the course of the game. He was right in the middle of the huddle with the players, giving them encouraging words. That role will not lessen. We will have a strong presence of Sean Chambers.

"We won't travel him. We have never travel anybody who is hurt. He will certainly be around practice and be at home games."

RUNNING BACK TITUS Swen missed the game at Nevada, and is in limbo for this week.

"Titus is still dealing with COVID protocol, and that's about all I can say about him," said Bohl.

IT DIDN'T end like the Cowboys wanted, but Bohl felt there was a positive sign in that the Cowboys, trailing 28-6 midway in the third quarter would respond to force the game at Nevada into overtime, including a stretch in which the defense limited Nevada to three consecutive three-and-done possessions.

"The things you always look for is the competitive nature of a football team, how they handle adversity, and certainly they had adversity," Bohl said. "Are they going to continue to be competitive and stay in the fight? 

"Little things that I always look at are how are you special teams responding. What's the energy level of your kickoff team when they are running down the field? Are the defensive guys rallying around, pursuing the football, causing some takeaways? Are the offensive guys completely into executing, and gaining some first downs. That was encouraging, the fourth quarter. I thought we really had a great turnaround. 

"We don't have rose-colored glasses on but we will not throw a cold bucket of water on our performance. That competitive nature to stay in a game when you are down 22 points almost in the fourth quarter, and none of our players panicked. There was no bickering on the sidelines. There was a unified football team. I think that's a credit to our football team and a credit to our assistant coaches to stay together, but make no mistake. We are in the game to win it. We didn't get it done. We came close, but that doesn't count except in hand grenades and horseshoes, but there are some things we learned from this game and the elements are there."