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Colorado State Spring Football Primer

If you missed Making the Rounds on Tuesday read this.  It is the in depth preview at all the positions for the Rams this spring.  This is going to have to make me change my write up as I planned on going that route but less in depth, they beat me to it big time.  If you want to know about the Rams situations, go read that and I am going to do a Q & A with my self, should be good times.  Here is a Spring Depth Chart, which means it is about as important as  preseason game statistics in any sport.  Nothing really notable since it is a spring depth chart which is to ridiculous to make any serious claims out of.  Fall depth chart sure, but these guys will be working out and doing everything possible within NCAA rules to get better over the next 5 months.  It is really just a list of experience or age.

One thing I wanted to note because it stood out was the opening quotes from Steve Fairchild.

"We will evaluate everything," Fairchild told a room without seniors, "every aspect of this program, every decision we made last year, and every individual – including myself – and things will change. Let me be perfectly clear, we will get this straightened out.

"We will not settle for another 3-9. It will not happen again."

If you watched the sidelines last year the 3-9 didn't sit well with Fairchild and I would expect a better season in 2010.  Catch the one man Q&A below!

If you actually have any questions throw them up in the comment section.

Q: The million dollar question, is Pete Thomas the starting QB for the next 4 years?

A: Before I read the preview I would have put my answer about 20% Yes 80% No, however after reading all of the spring preview articles I could get my hands on it sure looks like they are priming Thomas to get the bulk of snaps.  Also he has a few things going his way which I will point out later.

Front and center in both the recruiting class and the offseason conditioning program was true freshman Pete Thomas.

With Fairchild talking of grooming him to compete for the position you can bet that the Rams have the desire to see Thomas succeed just as Rams fans do.  His competition comes from Jon Eastman, Nico Ranieri, TJ Borcky, and Klay Kubiak.  Jon Eastman is average at his best, Klay Kubiak following in family form can't stay healthy for 5 minutes, and Borcky and Ranieri are running quarterbacks.  Grant Stucker was a running QB that was put into Fairchilds pro style throwing offense and tanked so I wouldn't expect much out of Ranieri even though he is highly skilled.  Borcky will end up at wide receiver soon. 

The biggest competition comes from Klay Kubiak if his arm can recover from surgery.  As a freshman he got some game time behind Billy Farris, and while not impressive Fairchild had his back and believed in him.  Health is the big issue with him. 

Thomas looks to have the inside track if he can bury himself in the play book and deal with Fairchild's tough coaching style.  He fits the offense better then the other options and with a few votes of confidence from the coaching staff it looks like the QB carousel will slow down for the next four years.  Will he be the savior of CSU football?  Not this year, he is still a freshman and the parts around him have to get into place on the O line and WR positions.  It is exciting times to think of Fairchild and Thomas in a couple years with that skill and offense in place, things are looking promising in Fort Fun.

So the things Thomas has going for him:

* His competition is a hurt guy, an average at best guy, a wide receiver, and running quarterbacks which don't fit the system.

* The running game should be very strong so they won't need to rely on him very much if he starts.

* He has been on campus since December and the focus of the off season training.

* No other quarterback is comfortable with the wide receivers cause they are all new.  Borcky and Eastman might have a little but nothing that would win them the job.

Q: The Rams lost most of their production at wide receiver, will it even matter who gets the starting QB position if they have no one to throw to?

A: Take a look at these numbers, 6-4 204, 6-3 199, 6-3 215, 6-3 207.  The Rams have the static numbers you would want from wide receivers, tall big and fast.   Last year the top 3 WR averaged under 6 feet tall and less then 200 pounds.  Body isn't everything but it can't hurt to be big tall and fast. 

You can read the preview here again, as it talks about all the wide receivers in depth.   I am going to pick a few of my favorites out.

Marquise Law 6-4 193-  His initial freshman year ended with a knee injury in 2008.  In 2009 with a second shot at his freshman year he didn't catch any passes and only showed in 3 games.  However there was a bit of a log jam at WR with Dion Morton and Rashaun "Pan Hands" Greer.  He could be a great deep threat or for jump balls in the end zone.

Byron Steele 6-3 207- As a redshirt freshman out of Texas he caught two passes for 60 yards on the season, one against TCU and one against New Mexico.  He only played in three games but like any other Ram last year he lost a few games to injury.  Besides Tyson Liggett he is one of the few Rams with any catches.  I wouldn't be surprised if he became the #1 guy and turned some heads.

It will be interesting to see if freshman James Boone 6-1 183 and Jay James 6-3 215 get any playing time.  Both are very talented and highly recruited guys out of Florida.


Q: So maybe WR isn't so bleak but the offensive line will struggle right?

A: Maybe... they are losing four starters but only need to fill center and strong side guard.  There are already players with starting experience at the other spots.  How the group comes together and learns to work as a team in rushing plays and pass protection is the key here.  Also remember one thing, experience doesn't mean excellence.  Just because the guys last year started a lot doesn't mean they are irreplaceable I am not convinced they were studs last year besides Shelley Smith.


Q: Since the line could be weak the the running game will suffer right?

A: Negative, the RB's are studs.  A big factor in Pete Thomas getting the job is the stable of running backs that the Rams have.  Once again read the preview to get all the notes but they Rams should be excited with all the depth at the position.  

"We’re always going to try to be a power-running type of football team," Fairchild said. "We’ll see how that plays out, whether we employ more of a committee or give it to one guy. If somebody like Gartrell two years ago takes a lead role, he’ll be our go-to guy. With Kyle Bell (in 2008), I never thought that would happen heading into that season, but Gartrell took it. That could certainly be the case again this year, because he was really hot that year, but we’ll see how it unfolds."

Read we are going with a platoon of speedy UCLA transfer Raymond Carter, bruising red-shirt freshman Chris Nwoke, and the last spot goes to Lou Greenwood, John Mosure, and Leonard Mason.   This is if everyone plays up to their potential of what we had read or have seen.  Mason was a good back and can break some tackles.  Adding the speed of Carter and Greenwood with a bruiser like Nwoke could lead to some "Thunder and Lightning" like combination.  The depth here is ridiculous, if only they could trade away one of them for a starting line man or a corner back.


Q: Yea defense, is the secondary going to get walked on again?

A: Yup, no talking this one up.  The secondary is in trouble, they lost average corner back Nick Oppenneer and are looking to go with DeAngelo Wilkinson and Momo Thomas at the corners.  Rams fans could have better news but they look like the best options in the program right now.


Q: The whole defense will be a non tackling point giving machine then right?

A: Oh no, the line-backing corps should be among the best in the MWC with Mychal Sisson and a healthy Alex Williams.  The key is getting back All-Conference line backer Ricky Brewer, not many teams will get that boost from a guy they didn't have last year.  If all three are healthy I would put them up against any three LB's in the conference and most in the nation.  Health or behavior is a key though, however with all the injuries last year they have some experienced backups.  

The defensive line could be better then some expect with CJ James looking like an emerging talent.  Nuku Latu not only has an awesome name but some potential to create havoc in the backfield, he came on strong at the end of last year.


Some spring notes, Michael Kawulok will be out with injury along with Mark StarrMike Orakpo will be limited with a hamstring injury which is disappointing for both the Rams and Orakpo who looked to finally strap it on for the green and gold.  Klay Kubiak will be limited with his shoulder and that is another benefit to Pete Thomas getting extra snaps to win the starting job.  Here is a few more notes.