‘I’ll get back when I can’
LARAMIE -- Sporting a backward black hat and a blue Buffalo Bills jersey with the No. 17 on it, Garrett Crall sat behind the microphones Monday and divulged some bad news to the local media.
He won't be playing against Nevada in the opener.
The Cowboys' senior defensive end has a left foot injury. It's not like the one he sustained two years ago. You might recall, he played five games with a broken bone in that foot.
This injury reared its ugly head last winter as the Pokes prepared for the Arizona Bowl. Crall was still able to play in Tucson, but offseason surgery was a certainty. Not to mention he also underwent a procedure on his labrum.
This quote tells the tale of what the last six months have been like for the newly named team captain.
"It's been hard. It's been tough daily, dealing with some of the stuff going on," Crall said. "Not having a season, having a season, that alone, plus dealing with an injury is taxing mentally, physically and emotionally."
Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said Monday he hopes to have Crall back for the Cowboys' home opener Oct. 30 against Hawaii.
The former walk-on from Hicksville, Ohio, didn't want to put a time frame on it, calling it "week to week."
"We're working. I can tell you today I'm walking and ramping up stuff in training room and weight room," Crall said. "... I'll get back when I can. I talked to (Bohl) and want to make sure I'm healthy when I get back."
Though Crall says he feels no pain and has recently ditched his walking boot, the wound didn't initially heal correctly. That was one a few setbacks that hampered an offseason filled with unknowns.
"It's something our trainer said he's never seen," Bohl said of the healing process on Crall's foot. "It's been a lengthy process and discouraging for Garrett. He's done a great job. Obviously, he was elected captain."
Because of COVID-19 protocols, Crall will not travel with the team to Reno this week. Wyoming is already thin at the defensive end spot after Solomon Byrd and Davon Wells-Ross decided to opt out this season.
Even defensive tackle Victor Jones is being moved to the end against the Wolf Pack.
His job, Crall said, is to motivate and instill confidence in a group of young guys who have little to no experience at his position.
Jaylen Pate, a redshirt freshman from Chicago, will start the first collegiate game he plays in Saturday. The back-ups, Jack Boyer and DeVonne Harris, have appeared in just three games. Neither recorded a tackle.
"Honestly, I'll just be doing what I have been doing, helping the young guys," Crall said. "... They are all capable guys. I sat down and watched film with them and talk them through every day.
"... All four should be very confident. You're here for a reason. Coach Bohl brought you here for a reason. Now, you can ball out and go do it."
Crall added another great point that gives him confidence in this group.
"It's great when you go up against the best offensive line in the Mountain West every day," he said. "But it's different when a game hits."
Crall will watch Saturdays game from his couch. It's not ideal, but it's Crall's new reality.
"It's been a long road," he said. "But I'm surrounded by the best group of guys, who know I'm doing everything I can to get out there. This is going to be pretty tough on Saturday, watching the game from here, but we'll get through it and figure it out."