There was a hint of “oh, by the way” when word of Lefi Letuligasenoa’s injury hit.
It was only a footnote in the Cal Poly football team’s 41-14 season-opening victory over San Diego a week and a half ago.
Most of the focus was on Mustangs quarterback Andre Broadous and the four touchdowns he accounted for.
But Letuligasenoa would be a hefty loss for Saturday’s game at Wyoming — seeing as how the 6-foot-1 offensive lineman is Cal Poly’s only 300-pounder.
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After sitting out most of practice last week with a sore shoulder, Letuligasenoa was back in full force for the first time Wednesday with his status for Saturday coming down to a game-time decision.
“He’s doing well,” Mustangs head coach Tim Walsh said at Wednesday’s practice at the Upper Sports Complex. “He practiced today. He did a lot of things today, a lot more than he’s done any of the previous five practices that we’ve had.”
Walsh indicated Letuligasenoa would travel with the team and was likely to play but that he would not insert the junior guard into the lineup if it meant risking further injury.
Other than Letuligasenoa and the players that have already been ruled out for the season, Walsh said, Cal Poly does not have many injury concerns.
“We’re as healthy as we can be,” Wash said. “We’re not going to be any healthier than we are right now.”
Letuligasenoa said he suffered a stinger trying to lay a chip block late in the victory over the Toreros.
He did not return to the game and missed about the last eight minutes of the blowout.
One byproduct of Cal Poly’s bye last weekend was it allowed Letuligasenoa extra time to move past any lingering soreness.
“That was really helpful,” Letuligasenoa said. “A couple guys sat out, but that gave me more time to really let my shoulder heal. It was just a little sore after that, but it was good time, too, for everybody to heal up, get back into the playbooks and get ready for Wyoming.”
The Cowboys are 0-2 after losses at Texas and at home to Toledo, but they also have a nine-game winning streak against FCS opponents dating to 2000.
This will be the only opportunity to knock off an FBS opponent this year for the Mustangs, who are 0-5 playing up since 2009 under Walsh.
Letuligasenoa, who first became a consistent presence in the Mustangs’ offense line as a true freshman, said the team is trying not to think of the Cowboys any differently than it would any of the Big Sky Conference teams on the schedule.
“We hold ourselves to such high expectations,” said Letuligasenoa, whose brother Josh is a redshirting freshman defensive lineman, “and that’s how we intend to play. Whether it’s FBS or Big Sky, we intend to play to the best of our abilities. We have a saying: ‘We play against a faceless opponent.’ ”
Hall of Fame on hold
With only the rare exception, the Cal Poly athletic department annually has inducted a class of honorees to its Hall of Fame, recognizing the group at a home football game each fall, since the hall was formed in 1987.
That tradition is changing this year with Mustangs athletic director Don Oberhelman announcing that new classes will only be inducted in odd-numbered years.
Oberhelman said limiting induction ceremonies to every other year allows the department to make them bigger events.
In even-numbered years, as is the case for the Sept. 22 home game against UC Davis, university president Jeffrey Armstrong will host a reception the Friday before the game for current Hall of Famers, who will also be special guests at the game and pregame barbecue.
The Cal Poly Hall of Fame accepts online nominations and typically selects five inductees based on the votes of a committee comprised of nearly a dozen members.