With ten practices down, head coach Mike Bobo has been pleasantly surprised with the preparation of his team. Many of these players have experience adapting to a new system and showed that with the jump from spring ball to now. A big emphasis so far in camp is the physicality Bobo expects the defense to bring every down. He expects a violent football team to take the field and has so far been happy with the result. With Kevin Pierre-Louis, Trent Matthews, and Cory James on the field, the Rams will be a punishing team.
The offense has looked good with the return of a couple dangerous receiving threats from injury. "Hollywood" Higgins missed spring ball with an injury and Kivon Cartwright looks like the best tight end on the field after missing the 2014 season with an ankle injury. Along with several other legitimate receiving threats, Cartwright and Higgins will make the transition to a new quarterback much easier for the Rams.
Speaking of new quarterbacks, the first couple practices of fall camp have provided little doubt that Nick Stevens will be the quarterback opening day. As I chronicled here, Stevens has consistently shown he is the most well-rounded of the options currently available. Bobo has said it is possible we will know after Saturday's scrimmage, only time will tell.
Bobo Gains Team's Trust
The first step for any new coach is to gain the trust of his new team. For some of the Colorado State players, this isn't easy. Bobo will be the third head coach for eleven of the seniors on the team, committing to Steve Fairchild, growing under Jim McElwain, and now peaking with Mike Bobo. Many players were scarred by the departure of McElwain and were not open to another coach who they knew nothing about. This includes CSU's star wide out, Rashard "Hollywood" Higgins who, according to a Coloradoan story, did not answer Bobo's first attempt to reach out to him.
Bobo has made all of the right moves. Starting with keeping some of McElwain's more respected staff members, Bobo slowly built up his rapport with the players and fully gained it with a story about family he told at the beginning of camp.
RB Davon Riddick and OL Jordan Finley have called it quits on their playing careers after numerous injuries. Both will stay with the team as player coaches.
Freshman Max McDonald will join the team in January as a greyshirt.
TE Jordan White transferred to the University of Idaho.
Cory James is now listed as a middle linebacker. James is by far the Rams' best pass rusher, and the coaching staff hopes a move to MLB will help put better pressure up the middle. James will play a large role in helping to replace Max Morgan and Aaron Davis.
This isn't exactly concussion protocol...
Assistant Strength Coach Mike Stacciatti doing his best Owen Schmitt impression. Yikes!
CSU assistant strength and conditioning coach Mike Stacciatti head-butts a player, sets tone for first day in pads pic.twitter.com/sP4fwjN2rj— Mike Brohard (@mbrohard) August 11, 2015
Exciting news came out this week for the On-Campus Stadium, it's actually happening! The CSU AD released the first packet on reseating for Hughes season ticket holders. This was accompanied by some great new renderings, including the one below.