The Colorado State Rams are off to the worst possible 0-3 start one could think of. The Rams are dead last in FBS in points at just 6.3 a game with one touchdown in garbage time against Miami(OH). Second to last in FBS in rushing yards at 42.7 yards a game. The Rams are 105th in defense giving up 35.3 points a game. So far they have played a very good Nevada team, a average Colorado team, and a bad Miami(OH) team. The scoring difference is already at an unimaginable 19-106.
Let's go over a list of things that are going right or at least are not the worst things in the world. The Rams have committed only 10 penalties on the year which is tied for 6th lowest in the nation. Pete Thomas is 21st in the nation in completion percentage at 67% even though he has been asked to throw way more then he should have. The kicking game has been good. DeLine is 4-5 on FG attempts and the kickoffs have been getting good distance and height. Pete Kontodiakos has been punting much better this year too. The other thing is that some players have started to shine most notably Mike Orakpo and Byron Steele.
See what the Rams can do to turn it around after The Jump...
With the strength of the defense being speed and not big lineman a 3-4 defense might be the best way to get their play makers on the field. The big problem with a 3-4 being they don't have a big nose guard that demands a double team, but Guy Miller might be with a shot in that role if it gets Mychal Sisson, Ricky Brewer, Alex Williams, and Orakpo on the field. You could back up speedy DE's Broderick Sergeant and Davis Burl to the outside linebackers like the Denver Broncos did with Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers. The bottom line being the weakness of the defense is the size so why line up four guys in the three point stance that are just going to get dominated on most plays. Stand up your speedsters and try and attack that way and stay off blocks. Throw in a few looks a week to see how it goes if a full conversion is out of the question.
That might help the Rams with the next problem, over three games they have only gotten one turnover and that was week 1 against Colorado. They are losing the turnover margin 8-1. More pressure on the QB might cause some interceptions. This might just be a prospect of the youthful corners Shaq Bell and Erza Thompson not having that ball hawking instinct up to FBS levels just yet. No fumbles gained is a prospect of poor tackling as no one has put a hat on the ball or ball carrier hard enough yet. The Rams need to get more active with their helmets and hands when taking someone down. The team can't win with long fields every drive, the defense could help out a lot by giving the offense a short field.
On to the offense... oh dear the offense. The rushing game has been awful and all 11 guys should take the blame for it. Mentally the Rams are getting destroyed, they need to stop thinking and react to the defense in front of them. Holes are not being sustained long enough and they are not being hit fast enough by the runners. The Rams love to run counter plays and pull guards and tackles. This works with the right personality but this might not be the crew to do it with as the holes are getting shut to fast. Some dives and stretch plays might be the key. Any type of run that gets the runner going fast and gives the most leeway of error for the offensive line needs to be put in this week.
Pete Thomas has thrown the ball 109 times so far which is about 30 times to many. He is the strong suit of the offense so far. If the offensive line cannot protect him then it will only hurt the maturation and durability of the Rams "franchise" quarterback in these next four years. Something that resembles a running game and some protection could go a long long way for Thomas. He could be one of the better QB's in the MWC with some experience.
Also for all the talk of sharing the ball this week only three runners touched it with Tony Drake and Chris Nwoke being left out. The Rams abandoned the run at half so that is part of the issue. However the Rams got down in the red zone early and were within bashing range and instead of giving it to the tough running Chris Nwoke they went to the wild cat.
Which is my next issue, the Rams are a poor 1 for 5 scoring touchdowns in the red zone. This is part play calling as the Rams got into the red zone and abandoned their best offensive player in Thomas and went with the wild cat. Which caused a penalty in my eyes and backed up the Rams to an unmanageable down and distance so close to the end zone. The Rams look like a deer in headlights as you could see the pressure mounting on them to score their first touchdown. They did get one in garbage time so hopefully the jitters are gone. The play calling needs to be better. Taking away your best offensive player for two plays in a early important drive can't happen. Also make it simple, need a 1-2 yard run, put in your big back and run a dive play.
Last and maybe the most important thing the Rams can do. Get lucky. The Rams are in dire need of a bounce their way, a tipped ball, anything to get some momentum. One of my favorite quotes is, "Be prepared and you will be lucky." The Rams need to make something happen.
Hopefully the ugly orange jerseys will bring some luck against Idaho this weekend! The Rams have talent but its unorganized. It is Steve Fairchild and the coaching staffs job to make it controlled chaos.