The Rams got off to a 3-0 start out of conference last year and looked good heading into the middle of their season even after a loss to BYU. Then the complete meltdown started, precisely when they came out after halftime of the Idaho game and gave up a 20-10 lead. Injuries, poor defense, no passing offense, and a general lack of intensity would effect the Rams the rest of the year and lead to zero conference wins. The Rams were picked to finish seventh this year ahead of New Mexico and UNLV. This shows that people still believe in the Rams some what but are not convinced enough to put them back to their 7-6 season of 2008. The Rams need to find an identity this year, last year they never had one due to inconsistency and shuffling players around.
The Rams offense will be sitting on the shoulders of true freshman Pete Thomas. Thomas is a four star recruit out of El Cajon, California. He has the skills and physical build that you would want out of a quarterback, but he will surely make his freshman mistakes and struggle at times. Luckily he has a whole stable of running backs to rely on. The main runner will be UCLA transfer Raymond Carter. One look at him on the field and he is clearly one of the most talented and athletic backs the Rams have had in a few years if not longer. The depth chart has John Mosure listed next who gets looks in the wildcat formation and will be a solid back up. Next is the bruising redshirt freshman runner Chris Nwoke who will be a good change of pace back and a candidate for short yardage. Also looking to get carries will be Leonard Mason, the leading rusher from last years team, and Tony Drake the speedy true freshman. Former speedy freshman back Lou Greenwood has been converted into a wide receiver, Ram fans can think of him as a Dion Morton clone. The wide recievers will be new besides Tyson Liggett and T.J. Borcky. Byron Steele and Marquise Law will be the new names to look for at WR. With the O-line finally set the Rams are not looking to bad, they did lose four starters from last years O linebut I don't see a big of drop in talent as some are predicting. At tight end the Rams return a real threat in Eric Peitz. Overall the offense could struggle due to so many new parts coming together but there is no denying that those parts are athletic and capable of putting up points.
Catch more after the Jump
The defense is on the other side of the spectrum with 10 returning starters. In general the Rams knew who would be on that side of the ball, but no one is sure if that is a good thing with a defense that was last in all of FBS in 3rd down percentage. The defensive line took a hit when they lost three players for various reasons. The DE holes will be filled by Davis Burl and Broderick Sergeant which makes the Rams small but quick, both players are listed in the 220's. Seniors Guy Miller and Ty Whittier will plug the middle of the line. The secondary returns big hitter Elijah-Blu Smith at safety to anchor what will be the question mark of the defense. If the young cornerbacks can provide depth behind Momo Thomas and DeAngelo Wilkinson then the Rams should be just fine. The heart of the defense and one of the best trio's of line backers in the Mountain West will be Ricky Brewer, Mychal Sisson, and Alex Williams. Sisson was 2nd team all MWC last year, Brewer was 1st team two years ago before his suspension, and Williams was dominate early on last season before the injury bug got to him. If the defense stays healthy and can get some cohesion then I see a big improvement over last years Rams.
5 Players to Watch
Ricky Brewer LB - He is the leader of the defense and it has shown all off season. Look for him to be flying around all year making up for a missed season.
Raymond Carter RB - If Carter has a big season then it will take lots of pressure off Pete Thomas and the rest of the offense. I can imagine at least one highlight reel run every game if he gets the carries.
Mychal Sisson LB - He can fly around the field and with Brewer and Williams to help him he will only get more versatile.
Byron Steele WR - The Rams will need a big play receiver and he looks to be the guy at 6-3 211lbs.
Pete Thomas QB - The running game and defense can take a lot of pressure off him with good play, but he will need to step up and make plays if the Rams want to win any games.
A repeat of the 2008 season where the Rams go off to a bowl game would be best case. Their schedule is not tough but its not set up for success as the Rams only have 5 true home games and two of those are TCU and BYU. If the Rams can show up big early and beat Colorado then take a road game against Nevada or Miami and come home and beat Idaho they will have another 3-1 start and just have to weather the storm when they face TCU, Air Force, and Utah in a four game stretch. Another big win could come on the road against San Diego or Wyoming. A six or seven win season isn't out of the picture as some were predicting that just a year ago.
Last year... I guess I could elaborate but I don't see much need. If injuries and inconsistency run through the Rams locker room look forward to more blown leads and a long season up in Fort Collins. It doesn't get much worse then last year, however CSU did beat CU at Folsom Field so it wasn't all for loss.
It is hard to predict the Rams with the tale of two seasons last year and the changes made this year. The defense will struggle at the line with their size but will make up for it in speed. The offense will be fun to watch and frustrating at times. I will assume they beat everyone they should and then sneak a conference game somewhere and end up at 4 or 5 wins. It is hard to trust a freshman quarterback on the road and the Rams play just 5 games at Hughes Stadium. I do think this team will be a lot more exciting then the Rams at the end of last year who were nearly unwatchable.
Rams Football Schedule
|Colorado||Sat 09/04||11:00 AM PDT|
|@ Nevada||Sat 09/11||7:30 PM PDT|
|@ Miami (Ohio)||Sat 09/18||12:30 PM PDT|
|Idaho||Sat 09/25||1:00 PM PDT|
|TCU||Sat 10/02||11:00 AM PDT|
|@ Air Force||Sat 10/09||11:00 AM PDT|
|UNLV||Sat 10/16||11:00 AM PDT|
|@ Utah||Sat 10/23||3:00 PM PDT|
|New Mexico||Sat 10/30||3:00 PM PDT|
|@ San Diego St.||Sat 11/06||7:00 PM PDT|
|BYU||Sat 11/13||11:00 AM PST|
|@ Wyoming||Sat 11/20||11:00 AM PST|