Pokes Practice Report: Sabastian Harsh Nearing Return
LARAMIE -- Sabastian Harsh's trademark smile was on full display Friday afternoon inside War Memorial Stadium.
There's a good reason for that, too.
He's right on the cusp of rejoining his teammates on the practice field, and tells me he will be ready for the Sept. 2 opener against Texas Tech. You might recall the sophomore defensive end suffered a gruesome knee injury just days before the 2022 opener at Illinois.
It was a broken left knee cap, a full horizontal separation. It's a rare injury, doctors told him, one that would sideline him for the season.
Harsh isn't the only one anticipating his return to the field.
"(We're) extremely excited," Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said. "He's a really polished player, not only against the run, but also with the pass. He's smart. He has really good instincts. He's making a good recovery. We anticipate him being able to play in our first ball game."
Harsh told me he woke up at 3 a.m. with severe pain in his knee early on in camp. He went through a walkthrough earlier in the day and said he felt great. He openly wondered if he aggravated the injury in his sleep.
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After a call to the trainer, it was revealed that Harsh needed some repairs on that surgically-repaired knee. He had a wire removed and has since been working out in the pool and weight room.
The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Scottsbluff, Neb., native has appeared in just 11 games since arriving on campus in 2020. A staple on special teams, Harsh was slotted as the Cowboys' starting edge rusher last fall after earning praise from Bohl and Co. throughout the offseason.
"You can't put it into words," he said this past spring, covering his mouth before an extended pause. "Even now I'm getting emotional talking about it. I put in so much work, and in one play -- done."
Here are some other notes from the Cowboys' 14th practice:
* Bohl announced that Buck Coors (hand) and Will Peissier (finger) Friday both went under the knife. For Coors, a sophomore safety, this is his sixth surgery since arriving in Laramie in 2020. Pelissier was spotted wearing a cast on his left arm early in camp. Now, he has a broken finger, according to his head coach. Bohl said he hopes to get Coors back in around a month, despite having a plate inserted in his broken hand. He failed to give a timetable on the wide out from Big Horn. You can read more about those injuries right HERE.
* Who will fill in for Coors in the secondary? Well, there are a few options. "We're certainly looking at those two guys," Bohl said of sophomores Andrew Johnson and Koa McIntyre. "I think Andrew, right now, is probably at the forefront there. We're pleased with his progress."
* Keany Parks now in at ... cornerback? I briefly spoke to the true freshman Friday and he confirmed he has indeed made the move from running back to defensive back. The Kenosha, Wisc., product, who was named the No. 2 recruit in the state by Rivals.com, told me he is fine with the move and has impressed during his brief stint on the island. When asked if he is OK with the position change, he smiled and said, "I'll do whatever I can to help this team." Selfless stuff from a guy who was recruited by Arizona State, Washington State, Iowa State and Wisconsin. I wrote a story about Parks and his life in Kenosha, one of the hot spots in the country for civil unrest in 2020. Check that out right HERE.
* Earlier this week linebacker Shae Suiaunoa and center Nofoafia Tulafono were named to the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Watch List. These two islanders are tight on and off the field. They are also two of very few Polynesians on this roster. I spoke to both about that earlier in the spring. Look out for a story on that soon.
* Speaking of Suiaunoa. Wyoming's outside linebacker, who tallied 73 tackles to go along with 2.5 sacks and an interception, missed the entire spring, recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. During that time, Bohl said, Connor Shay stepped up to the plate. Easton Gibbs will be the starter in the middle. Is there indeed a battle going on at the WILL spot? "First of all, we're really pleased with Connor," Bohl said. "Right now, he's locked in on MIKE (middle linebacker). Shea has been playing WILL, so we're trying to have some clarity there. We have not swung, at least to my knowledge, Connor out to the WILL position. But Shae has improved his tackling. You know, he's always been a good blitzer, but too many missed tackles last year. In the first scrimmage, Shae really did a nice job wrapping up."
* Sam Scott is the Swiss Army Knife of this Wyoming football team. The Nebraska native came to Laramie as a linebacker. Before last season's Arizona Bowl, he was moved into the offensive backfield. His stint at running back became permanent this spring. Scott, a 6-foot-2, 230-pound sophomore, reportedly has been taking some snaps at tight end during fall camp. Did I mention he is also on the Cowboys' special teams' units? So, what gives? "We sprinkled in some reps, but now he's back at running back," Bohl said. "It says a lot about his athleticism, but more so his football IQ."
* Bohl put a broad stroke on Friday's practice, complementing the passing game, the cornerbacks and the offensive line. He also said the team did a live punt rush and returns. "Clayton (Stewart) really punted the ball really well, so we're pleased with that," he said.
* Wyoming will hold a scrimmage this Saturday inside War Memorial Stadium. "This one is going to be live bullets, as we say out west," Bohl said. "There'll be some positions that we're going to stress a little bit more than others, but this will probably be the last, final hard grade that we give. We're constantly evaluating, but this one is about when the lights are on, who can make a play? Who can break a tackle? ... The fur is going to fly in this one."
* Bohl said he will likely make a depth chart available on Monday. That should indicate who will start the season opener versus the Red Raiders.