Rams practice at Hughes Stadium, quarterback update and more
After a dismal and gut-wrenching loss for Colorado State (3-5, 1-3 MW) with a final score against San Diego State (6-3, 5-0 MW) 17-41, the Rams need to bounce back quickly against another Mountain West opponent and rival in the Wyoming Cowboys (1-8, 1-4 MW). This game means a great deal to CSU as a football team and to the state of Colorado because the coveted Bronze Boot, which originated in Fort Collins, is up for grabs.
But, after the scary bad loss to SDSU on Halloween, head coach Mike Bobo had to have a serious meeting with his team. That “come to Jesus” meeting, as Bobo called during his weekly presser, took place Monday before practice.
“I know we had a good meeting,” said coach Bobo. “Kind of laid out the expectation again and pointed out some things that I believe weren’t getting done on the field. Things that have been executed in practice and [I] talked about accountability. Playing for one and another and playing hard is one thing but also playing for one another is being accountable and doing your job. That runs full circle, coaches and players, not just players. We had a spirited practice on Monday.”
The Rams ran their usual Tuesday practice, but not at its usual place. The team, instead, practiced under the Aggie “A” on Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium.
“I don’t think the lights are too bad yesterday, if we can go out there (on campus practice field) we’ll switch around maybe more our run stuff towards the end and pass stuff at the beginning,” Bobo said on the time and light change. “The [practice]field is really slick. I don’t know what it is I’m not an agricultural genius by any means. Our guys are sliding and slipping and I worried about an injury of a hamstring or a groin there is a lot of sliding around out there and guys not able to keep their balance. That’s why we went for the better surface and the lights and had a good practice.”
It’s good to see that coach Bobo wants to keep his Rams team from injury, especially if it can be avoided. Bobo also gave us an answer so far for the repeated question of who will start at quarterback.
“Nick (Stevens) had a very good practice. I feel confident where Nick is at. Nick’s our quarterback right now,” said coach Bobo, which echoed what he said Monday. “We’ve got to do a better job of helping him out. I feel comfortable in him of knowing what’s going on and what to do. Right now Nick Stevens is our quarterback.”
The Rams will have their hands full with the team to the north and their star running back Brian Hill, who is a big guy. He’s 6-foot-1 and weighs in around 211 pounds.
“He reminds me a little of Todd Gurley,” said coach Bobo. “He (Brian Hill) doesn’t have the size Todd had but it could be different when I see him in person. He might be thicker than I think. He’s a taller guy, but he’s able to still run. He runs a little upright like Todd but still has the ability to get behind his pads and break tackles which is impressive. That’s how you judge a great back. It’s the ability to break tackles and get yards after contact. And when you do give him a hole he’s able to take it the distance. They use him in their screen game and pass game. He’s a work horse…It seems like he gets every carry.”
Through nine games, Hill has gained 1,296 yards with a superb 6.2 yard per carry average and four touchdowns. Still, his Cowboys are a dreadful 1-8, losing every game by 10-plus points.
Colorado State needs to do more than just stop Hill. Last week, the Rams turned the ball over four times, three of which were interceptions thrown by Stevens and one was a critical mistake a fumble on the goal line by Jasen Oden.
“We’ve got to protect the ball and if I have to call certain plays to help us protect the ball. We’ve got to play smarter and not hand it to the guys,” said coach Bobo after Tuesdays practice.
Everyone realizes this is a must-win game for Colorado State, who still is clinging onto hopes of winning enough games to become bowl eligible. That would mean being victorious in 3-4 of their remaining contests, and the worst opponent is this Saturday in Laramie.
Still, this being a rivalry contest, records can be “thrown out the window” as CSU senior safety Trent Matthews said Monday after Bobo spoke. The Rams aren’t resting on their laurels and expecting to beat the Cowboys, they’re preparing like every week.