LARAMIE – Garrett Crall had a pretty laid-back summer.

He did some fishing. He spent time with family at a cabin in Ohio. He got some tattoos. You know, typical stuff you do in your early 20's.

Oh, and he also put on about 13 pounds of muscle.

Don’t be fooled by the long hair, backward hat and chill demeanor, this season means everything to the 6-foot, 5-inch, 242-pound junior defensive end.

Crall has heard all the talk.

Will the Cowboys defense be any good without stars like Andrew Wingard, Marcus Epps, Carl Granderson and others? Did Crall himself only benefit from having so many play makers on the defensive line in 2018? Without Scott Hazelton, who is now the defensive coordinator at Kansas State, will this defense be as aggressive or successful?

“We will look different,” Crall admitted. “We lost coaching and a lot of experienced guys. But the good thing is we have guys who are intelligent, work hard and have a chip on their shoulder. All we did was learn from those guys.”

One example he gave was at the safety spots.

With four-year starters Wingard and Epps roaming the secondary, guys had to wait their turn. Elijah Haliburton and Braden Smith, two players who came into the program with Crall, will now get that chance, along with redshirt freshman Rome Weber.

“Those dudes are chomping at the bit,” he said. “You clearly can’t replace those guys. They left their mark at Wyoming. But the guys behind them now it’s there time now.”

And about Crall only making plays thanks to his linemates.

He said his mindset won’t change. He wants to hammer quarterbacks and do his part in the run game.

During his freshman campaign, Crall appeared in all 13 games for the Cowboys, recording 33 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

Not too shabby for a former walk-on.

Last season, he tallied 4.5 sacks to go along with 6.5 tackles for loss. The Hicksville, Ohio, product also finished with 38 tackles, second most among defensive lineman. Crall's best effort came against Air Force in the Cowboys’ home finale. Despite icy, snowy conditions, Crall finished with a career-high nine tackles. He also stripped the ball and recovered it against Washington State.

Can he duplicate those numbers? Surpass them even?

“For me, I just have to prepare,” he said. “It’s no different
that last year. I need to improve, get better and use what I’ve learned.

“It’s time to play at my top performance.”

And, oh by the way, he played his final five games of the season on a broken left foot. He didn't even know it was cracked.

What did he do about it?

Simply moved to the left side of the line.

Crall underwent surgery last winter. He is now the proud owner of two new screws in his foot.

As far as new defensive coordinator, Jake Dickert, Crall raved about his intelligence. He relates to his players and sees things on the field that the players don’t. They will miss Hazelton, but Crall said this could be the start of something special.

“We are ready to roll,” Crall said. “I really love
(Dickert). He’s a good dude and he’s easy to talk to. He has a ton of energy
and is a fun guy.”

Crall will join Josiah Hall, Javaree Jackson and Mario Mora on the front four. Solomon Byrd and Leevi Lafaele are the two-deep at defensive end. Cole Godbout and Victor Jones will also add depth.

The line may be young, Crall said, but this unit is a tight one.

While the stars of Wyoming past were making plays, some of these
guys were on the sideline plotting what things would be like when they finally
got their numbers called.

Crall was one of them. Now, he is expected to lead the way.

And it all begins Saturday when the SEC’s Missouri Tigers
pay a visit to War Memorial Stadium.

“I can’t explain how excited I am,” Crall said. “We’re ready
to go.”