DENVER - SEPTEMBER 04: (L-R) Elijah-Blu Smith #22 and Ivory Herd #35 of the Colorado State Rams prepare to face the Colorado Buffaloes during the the Rocky Mountain Showdown at INVESCO Field at Mile High on September 4 2010 in Denver Colorado. Colorado was awarded the Centenial Trophy after they defeated Colorado State 24-3. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Colorado State has had three practices so far in fall camp. A big concern last year was the offense and specifically the running game which suffered due to injuries. UCLA transfer Raymond Carter was to be the top back but he was hurt and inconsistent.
After day one of practice Carter said he was 100 percent and he had a good showing:
Carter certainly went hard in the Rams' first fall practice, he consistently showed the greatest explosion and the most speed of all the CSU running backs. And Carter understands how to get up the field, taking great angles up the field, with the ability to cut back against the grain and gain some ground.
He also had a couple hard, determined runs up the middle and caught a couple passes out of the backfield with ease.
Even with the confidence Carter is having he is not guaranteed the hands down because there will be competition between Chris Nwoke and Derek Good. Here is what Fairchild said about the running back position:
"I hope he (Carter) has his best year. We'll always need more than one, and I thought Derek (Good) had a really good spring. Chris Nwoke is talented. That'll play itself out. We do want to get a good look at the freshmen backs."
Quarterback Pete Thomas looked good in his first practice by hitting receivers in the short and intermediate routes, plus his best pass of the day was a 50 yard bomb down the left sideline that hit WR Marquise Law in stride.
Again this was the first practice of the year and the players were just in helmets and shorts, so it is tough to tell how good players are performing.
Here are quotes from head coach Steve Fairchild from day one of fall camp:
On players not at practice, including WR Tony Drake: "Yeah, he and Justin Becker, will have to finish up academics one way or the other. You have to take care of your business to get out on the field. We'll see."
On the status of RB Dorian Brown: "The red jersey is just precautionary. He should be full-go at some point real quick. We're just being safe, watch him run around for a little bit."On Pete Thomas Thursday compared to his first fall practice a year ago: "Well, the big thing this time last year, he wasn't our starting quarterback, No. 1. I think he was still saying goodbye to his parents. It's totally different. He's a returning quarterback, the first time we've had that around here in four years. It makes a difference."
On Pete Thomas Thursday compared to his first fall practice a year ago: "Well, the big thing this time last year, he wasn't our starting quarterback, No. 1. I think he was still saying goodbye to his parents. It's totally different. He's a returning quarterback, the first time we've had that around here in four years. It makes a difference."
On the level of pressure on his shoulders: "That's the type of kid he is. He has real high expectations. I know I do and I'm pretty sure he does. He'll get better every year. I've said this all along: He has a very bright future for CSU."
On running backs, specifically Derek Good: "We'll always need more than one, and I thought Derek had a really good spring. Chris Nwoke is talented. That'll play itself out. We do want to get a good look at the freshmen backs."
On getting a good look from true freshmen during the fall camp: "Today's installation was fairly base but as we start going here in the midst of the eighth, ninth practice, with the volume of offense, the volume of what we're doing, those freshmen kind of hit plateaus."
Day two at Rams Camp:
The second day was the receivers who shined for Colorado State. Two freshman had good days in Thomas Coffman and Lee Club looked impressive, but they may have a tough time getting significant playing time due to the depth at receiver. The Rams ran four wide receiver sets to take advantage of their depth at wide receiver withMatt Yemm, Lou Greenwood, Marquise Law and Byron Steele being the projected top four receivers.
The offensive line is the position group that already looks in mid-season form, and the Rams definitely need them to step up and be able to protect Pete Thomas. Head coach Steve Fairchild said the offensive line dominated the defensive line, and with hopes the defensive line can improve for the next practice.
Here are quotes from Steve Fairchild after the second practice:
On whether he attributes things seeming to go more smoothly than last year to having so many returning starters: "Yeah, I think so. I think we're more experienced. That helps. I think we're farther along in our program, so they understand what we want. We're scripting at least a 2, maybe a little over a 2-hour practice. Two days in a row, they've got it done in an hour and 50 minutes. That's fine. Eventually, we're going to have to be on the field for 3, 3 ½ hours, in a game type of thing, but I'm not worried about that now. There will be some Saturday scrimmages when we do that, but they're working good."
On competition at running back: "Again, that's a spot, kind of like our defensive line, where I don't think we're looking for one guy. We're looking for a bunch of guys because we usually play two or three guys there. And, with running backs, you really can't tell until you put pads on and make guys miss, break tackles. We're letting them finish out here without shoulder pads on. Raymond (Carter) had a good spring and I'm hoping he'll have his best year, and I think he will. Derek Good is going to play some and I think Chris Nwoke is really talented. I'm anxious to get a look at our freshman backs when we get the pads on. Again, they're stumbling around a little bit because everything's new, but it'll be fun to see them go."
On the progress of the defensive line since spring ball: "I like the fact that we've got numbers there, somewhere between eight, nine, 10 guys I'm hoping we can put in a game. I don't know that we have a difference-maker right now. I'd like to see somebody step up and practice-in, practice-out be the guy, that the offense has to contend with. I'm not sure I see that right now. We've got some time."
Day three of Rams camp featured the players first time in full pads.
There was a big addition for the Rams on Saturday morning and that is freshman speedy wide receiver Charles Lovett. Lovett is also expected to be used in the return game as well, he sat out the first two days of fall camp due to his school schedule conflicting with practice. For those unaware of Lovett here is a highlight video:
Fairchild is both high on freshman wide receivers Lovett and Lee Clubb:
"I've seen a couple true freshmen that look like, if they continue to learn the offense, which is a difficult thing to do, but if they can do it, if Lovett and Clubb can line up right, they're going to play some snaps for us," said Fairchild.
The third practice was a lot like the second with the wide receivers performing well. Marquise Law and Thomas Coffman had good days according to Fairchild:
"Obviously, Thomas Coffman with his speed brings a little bit of that," said Fairchild. "It's an area, like the safety position on defense, the receiver area on offense, we've got to come on in a hurry and get where we need to be, but I like what I see so far."
Law looks to be one of the most improved players on the team. He was catching nearly everything thrown his way from Pete Thomas. With so many receivers who are performing well it should allow Thomas and the offense to have more success than they did last year. Perhaps the offense will not have to play catchup.
Here are quotes from Fairchild after day three of practice:
On Saturday's practice, the first in shoulder pads:
"I thought we had a real slow start this morning, and that does concern me. It got going pretty good there, and we got a lot of work done, but obviously it wasn't quite as clean once you put the pads on. I thought it was a good practice, just a little flat early on. You've got to learn how to go, with a Saturday morning game schedule (like CU, 11:30 a.m. kickoff)."
On RB Derek Good, whether he can be someone that sneaks up on people:
"Yeah, he is. He walked on and sometimes I think we had that walk-on label on him, but every time we asked him to do something, he did it as good as anybody. We've since put him on scholarship; he's earned it. Derek's a talented back. He's done well not just as a back but also in the return game, every time we've asked him to do something. I'd expect as a senior that he's going to have a big year for us." On whether his breakout game last season was at Air Force: "Yeah, it was. And then he got to play a little bit as a back. And, not just in the return game, I thought he looked good. He's going to play football for us this year."
On Good's strengths:
"I think he's got good vision, good in-line cutting; it's hard to get a solid shot on him. He's faster than you think. He's smart, so when it comes to the other parts of the game, the protection, those types of things, he does the right thing. He can catch the ball out of the backfield. He's brings a lot to the table."
Here is audio from the first three days of Ram practice: