Wyoming QB Levi Williams ‘much better’ following shoulder injury

Wyoming quarterback Levi Williams throws a pass during spring practice on April 8 at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie.

Davis Potter [email protected]

LARAMIE — Sean Chambers isn’t the only Wyoming quarterback that’s worked himself back from injury.

Levi Williams took over the reins of the offense once Chambers went down with yet another leg injury three plays into UW’s abbreviated season last fall, but Williams also dealt with his share of pain before it was over. The redshirt freshman started the final five games but wasn’t able to finish them all because of a shoulder injury that, after the final couple of games, kept Williams from lifting his throwing arm above 90 degrees until the middle of the following week, UW coach Craig Bohl said.

“It wasn’t a shoulder separation, but it was certainly some significant irritation in there,” Bohl added.

Williams initially gave UW’s much-maligned passing game a boost, throwing for 227 yards and a touchdown against Nevada and a career-high 321 yards two weeks later against Colorado State. But he completed just 7 of 25 passes in UW’s final two games after sustaining the injury late against New Mexico and was replaced by true freshman Gavin Beerup in each one.

“Within our passing tree, we really had to scale some things back,” Bohl said. “We were really way off, and what that forced us to do was become way too one-dimensional. When you’re completing the ball right around 46%, it’s hard to have a lot of confidence in your passing game.”

But Williams is healthy again and competing with Chambers for the starting job, and Bohl has complimented the way both have thrown the ball at times this spring. Williams, who played at more than 240 pounds last season, has also dropped more than 10 pounds this offseason in an effort to retain some of his speed (he’s rushed for 281 yards and eight touchdowns in his career).

Bohl said footwork has been an emphasis this spring for Williams, who’s looking to improve his career completion rate of 49%. Physically, though, Williams is good to go.

“Levi is much better,” Bohl said.

Making moves up front

UW not only has all five starters returning along the offensive line, but the Cowboys also kept their entire two-deep at the position intact. With much of the group healthy again, the Cowboys are moving some pieces around up front.

Freshman Latrell Bible has moved back inside after starting five games at left tackle last season. Bible is listed as a center on UW’s official roster but has also been getting reps at guard.

The 6-foot-4, 290-pound Bible was recruited to UW as an interior lineman but was bumped outside last season to provide depth after veteran tackle Alonzo Velazquez sustained a season-ending shoulder injury. Bible eventually supplanted Rudy Stofer as the starting left tackle, but with Velazquez back in the fold this spring, Bohl said the Cowboys wanted to get Bible back to his more natural spots.

Bohl said Velazquez, Stofer and sophomore Frank Crum are rotating at both tackle spots.

“We’re really excited about what (Bible) is doing,” Bohl said. “And we’re excited about what we’re able to do on the flanks right now.”

Still testing

Bohl said UW’s players and coaches are currently being tested for the novel coronavirus twice a week. He said two players have tested positive for COVID-19 this spring.

With vaccinations now widely available, how long that will last is unclear. Bohl said the university and the Mountain West are “looking at a lot of things” in regards to how frequently to test in the future. The Mountain West partnered with Quest Diagnostics last fall to test every football team’s on-field personnel three times a week.

Bohl said he continues to encourage his players to get vaccinated, though that’s still their choice. He said some players and coaches, including himself, have already done so.