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Colorado State Rams Season Preview: Unpredictability and Uncertainty

The Rams will be having a bit of a rebuilding season after many seasons of consistent success

NCAA Football: New Mexico Bowl-Marshall vs Colorado State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

When Colorado State takes the field on August 25th it will be one of the youngest and inexperienced teams in FBS. That’s what happens when you lose 8 starters on offense to graduation, including 3 of 5 starters on the offensive line. It was an offseason of storylines for the Rams especially with projected starting QB Colin Hill re-injuring his ACL. That caused a panic within Ram Nation but Hill has been working hard to get back and is ahead of schedule. The Rams also lost quite a few coaches on the staff when offensive coordinator Will Friend left for Tennessee after the conclusion of the regular season and Bobo cleaned house of the defensive side after an abysmal season and coordinator Marty English announced his “Retirement.” So with a new defensive staff it’s safe to say there are a lot of questions for this years team.

Who will be the QB: The Rams have been very cautious with Colin Hill as he continues his rehab. He has been practicing but he only warmed up during the community open house scrimmage. The Rams have a graduate transfer in K.J Carta – Samuels from Washington. They also received a highly coveted transfer in Patrick O’Brien who will sit out this season. K.J has been very impressive during training camp and Coach Bobo has already named K.J the starter for the season opener against Hawaii on August 25th. Which I believe is the smart idea to give Colin an extra week of rehab. The Rams will likely have some packages for RS freshmen Justice McCoy who is a duel threat QB. Whoever is under center will have no shortage of weapons.

The Schedule: This year is probably the toughest non-conference schedule in a long time. The conference did the Rams a favor by giving them a conference game to start the season before a stretch that sees them playing three straight from the Power 5. That includes two teams from the SEC. They also have to travel to Boise which will be tough because the Broncos will likely be the Group of Five representative in the New Years Six. However, the conference schedule is very manageable. The Rams get a bye after their final non-conference game against Illinois State and they don’t have back to back road games all season. The schedule goes home, away, home, away after the Colorado game which is a neutral game. Season ends on Thanksgiving against Air Force which is always a tough place and opponent to play against.

The Biggest Question: The defense is the largest question going into the season. It’s safe to say that the defense was abysmal in the later part of the season. The reason Bobo choose to clean house and bring in a new staff altogether. The new DC John Jancek has brought the Rams back to a traditional 4-3 defense in which it suits the personnel better. The secondary gets back Braylen Scott who was suspended last season, and Jamal Hicks who broke his arm against New Mexico and was lost for the season. Hicks was a very important player in the back end of the defense and losing him was big. The linebackers will be the anchors in Josh Watson and Tre Thomas. Max McDonald played well and will be poised for a bigger role. The defensive line will need to generate a rush this season more consistently which was something they struggled with last year. This defense should be improved with more experience but the first couple weeks will determine the season.

The Outlook: This is going to be an interesting season for the Rams, with the inexperience of the roster, the early part of the schedule and the changes on the staff. The first four games will determine the season. If the Rams can come out 2-2 or 3-1 that would be a great start. The conference schedule has a tough three game stretch with Boise State, Wyoming and Nevada in the middle part. The Rams will continue to have an explosive offense but the defense will need to show significant improvement. The Rams I predict will finish 7-5 for the fourth consecutive season but with how young this team, that’s should be a good season.