Colorado State season finishes 3-9 missing a bowl for the first time since 2012.
Colorado State football was on a bowl streak of 5 seasons, but that ended this year with a 3-9 season. It was the first losing season since Jim McElwains’s 4-8 opening season. It was the season that was doomed from the start I’m talking way back in April. The season started when back in spring incumbent quarterback Colin Hill re tore his ACL playing pickup basketball. The Rams scrambled to find a starter as there were no quarterbacks on the roster were capable of starting other than Hill. The Rams were able to grab Washington grad transfer K.J Carta Samuels, but he wasn’t able to practice until the summer. Which is not good when it comes to chemistry. Especially when you’ve already lost your starting QB, RB and WR. Did I mention the offensive line was replacing four starters, and the defense has their third coordinator in four years. There was adversity before the season started however, this was only the beginning.
Just days before the start of the season a week 0 game against Hawaii, news got out about Coach Mike Bobo being hospitalized due to numbness in his legs. He spent 10 days there before returning to the team a couple days before the season opener. You can tell he wasn’t healthy because he could barely walk. Ram fans were excited for the coming season but were unsure due to so much going on. Missing Bobo for 10 days of preparation showed when the Rams came out flat against Hawaii. Defense was torched due to the run and shoot, and the offense couldn’t establish the run game. There was a massive comeback, but it fell short. This was a season of constants, and here are three things that changed the season.
1. The lack of experience: Colorado State was the second youngest team in FBS. You had a ton of sophomores and some true freshman getting quality playing time. When you lose your starting quarterback, star running back and star receiver there are going to be growing pains though out the season. But that’s not the worst part the biggest loss where the four offensive linemen because there was not much experience behind them. Colorado State is a run first team and when you don’t have a cohesive offensive line, you’re going to have issues running the ball. The lack of experience was a major role and this 3-9 season.
2. Defensive lapses: The defensive lapses have been an issue for the past couple of seasons. However, it seems more prominent this season, and that was likely due to the change of defensive system. The Rams went back to a 4-3 defense which they hide under Tyson Summers in 2015. The past couple of seasons prior to this year they were under a 34 defense under Marty English. The Rams don’t have 34 personnel due to the lack of size up front. However, under new defensive coordinator John Jancek the Rams had similar issues defensively when it came to communication. The biggest issues came in the secondary where the Rams were constantly getting beat on deep routes. The front four were undersized and getting dominated at the point of attack as well. With most of the defense coming back along with Jancek, there needs to be major improvements.
3. Quarterback Issues: The Rams started KJ Carta-Samuels as Colin Hill wasn’t fully healthy. Though Carta-Samuels put up big numbers, he still was very inconsistent throughout the season. The long release he has caused him to get stripped and throw the ball late to open receivers at times. He threw some bad interceptions as well. The Rams went to Colin Hill late in the season you can tell he was gun shy at times but he played decent. The issue with him was also interceptions. Lack of protection and a running game caused both quarterbacks to struggle. Next season will be Hill’s job to lose. Nebraska transfer Patrick O’Brien will push Hill for that spot.
This offseason will be an important one, as the Rams will need to improve mentally and physically so there isn’t another 3-9 season. Physically they need to get stronger on both sides of the ball. The offensive line and defensive fronts were pushed around all season at the point of attack. It reminded me of the Steve Fairchild years when teams would just physically impose their wills from start to finish. Consistency in the coaching staff is going to be a good thing too. The defensive coaching staff will all stay which I believe is the smart choice. Going to a forth defensive coordinator in five seasons is not good, so look for improvements. The question will be was this season just a mirage or is it a beginning of a slide? Ram fans will know the answer soon.