Pokes’ O-line gets younger, hungrier with Rebs coming to town
LARAMIE – The depth chart at offensive line looks a little
different this week.
It’s young. Like, real young.
From left tackle to right it goes like this: Sophomore, sophomore, sophomore, sophomore, redshirt freshman.
A devastating blindside hit to the head and a potentially serious knee injury led to this flux. Logan Harris, the 6-foot, 3-inch, 304-pound guard from Torrington, was lifted up into an ambulance at midfield during the third quarter in Tulsa.
Alonzo Velazquez, the Cowboys’ starting right tackle, went down earlier in the game. His legs were also rolled up on at Idaho.
Patrick Arnold and Frank Crum are getting the nod this week from Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl, barring a “miracle” on Velazquez’s ailing knee.
Arnold is a 6-foot, 3-inch, 296-pound guard from Omaha, Neb.
He was in the mix for the starting position in fall camp and has playing
experience. Then, there’s Crum, a redshirt freshman from Laramie High School.
He tips the scales at 300 pounds and stands 6-feet, 7-inches tall.
He entered last Saturday’s game after Velazquez went down.
In other words, he says, the first-game jitters are now out
of the way. He says he will sleep just fine this week with UNLV visiting
Laramie Saturday night for the Pokes first Mountain West Conference tilt.
“Yeah, I’ll sleep fine,” Crum joked. “I am confident in my
preparation. It feels really good. Coach keeps saying to be ready when my name is
called. Now, it’s time to roll.”
Rudy Stofer, the Cowboys’ starting left tackle, said the offensive line won’t skip a beat with the “new guys” joining the lineup.
“I think they are ready to go,” the 6-foot, 6-inch, 297-pounder from Kearney, Neb., said. “They’ve been with us this whole time. They have still been a huge part of what we do. I have no worries with them.”
Despite the changes to the depth chart and what that might
mean when the Rebels come to War Memorial Stadium, Harris and Velazquez were
still very much at the front of their minds.
This unit lives together, lifts together, eats together and
When they say family, Stofer says he means it.
And, there’s proof.
When Harris was taken by ambulance to a local hospital in Tulsa, Stofer’s parents, Greg and Shanna, didn’t hesitate. They immediately left H.A. Chapman Stadium and followed Harris to the hospital. They sat with him while he went through tests. They laughed with him and encouraged him.
All the while, they missed what their own son was doing on
the field just down the street.
“I just talked to my mom after the game and she said if I
was in the same position, she would want someone to do the same for me,” Stofer
said. “Most of our families are pretty close and they all travel to games
together. It was really cool that they went to be with Logan when his parents
“It means a lot. That’s just the way my parents are – they will
always be there. Logan is basically family to me. They were there for another
Monday afternoon, Stofer said he had yet to see the shot
that sent his teammate to the hospital. He eluded to the fact that he didn’t
care to see it. Just seeing Harris on the field was enough of a reality check
“It was pretty scary,” he said. “I just got down on a knee and said a prayer for him. After they loaded him up, coach Bohl said he was all right and moving. That brought calmness back to us, but it was scary right in the beginning.”
Crum has seen the replay.
He said he doesn’t want to say anything about it and added
that it’s the referees’ job to see if it was “clean or not.”
Crum said he took the hit a different way.
“That’s one of our brothers,” he said of Harris. “To see
someone go down like that – I took it personal at that point. Guys took it to
heart and played hard for him. We all said ‘let’s do this for Logan.’
“You hate to see that.”
Crum said he didn’t expect Harris to fly back with the team
that evening. They sent him well wishes and checked in on him from the time the
game ended to the minute they boarded the plane in Tulsa.
Then, a car pulled up.
“We thought he’d at least stay the night,” Crum said. “We
waited for him for an extra hour, then he pulled up and got a loud applause
when he got on the plane. It was really good to see him.”
Harris was in concussion protocol Monday afternoon in
Laramie. Bohl doesn’t expect him to play this week. Velazquez is still awaiting
the results of an MRI on his knee.
Wyoming has a bye week after UNLV. It couldn’t have come at
a better time.
But right now, the focus is on starting fast – and finishing – against a Rebels team that is coming off two straight losses.
“Yeah, I think we have a lot to pull apart and look at from
last week,” Stofer said. “I would expect a different offense against UNLV. We’re
going to make a lot of changes. I know me, personally, I need to make a lot of
“I would expect something totally different against UNLV.”