The future of Colorado State’s offense flashed at points during Saturday’s 47-21 win over the University of Northern Colorado.
Quarterback Collin Hill, running back Marvin Kinsey and wide receivers Michael Gallup and Detrich Clark are all in the first year with the CSU program, and they all made big their presence felt during the win.
None of the players had perfect games, or have had perfect seasons for that matter, but enough potential has been shown from the players to say that they will be sticking points in the CSU offense.
Hill rightfully stole the show on Saturday. The true freshman finished the game 21-27 for 315 yards to go along with four passing touchdowns, while also running for a 51-yard score.
“I thought he was calm and composed,” coach Mike Bobo said of Hill after Saturday’s game. “He played with the poise and the confidence that I have seen since day one from him.”
Hill went and out did everything he was supposed to do, and with that, he ignited a spark in the stagnant CSU offense.
Hill’s first true test will come on Saturday against the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, but the Freshman has already done more than enough to breathe some signs of life into the CSU offense.
Kinsey, another true freshman, was lauded by Bobo and the offensive staff through fall camp for his playmaking ability, but he struggled to capitalize in the team’s first two games, only rushing for 32 yards on 12 carries.
Kinsey struggled early in the year with his field vision, and his desire to break open a big play on every run.
“I think Marvin Kinsey is thinking too much when he runs the football (and) trying to score a touchdown on every play like young backs do,” Bobo said. “I think the more carries he gets, the more comfortable he will get.”
Kinsey certainly got plenty of carries in Saturday’s game, but at halftime, Kinsey had run the ball just 8 times for only 25 yards. Again, Bobo was disappointed in his young back’s decisiveness.
Kinsey came out in the second half and hit the hole like the coaches wanted him to, and the change in style saw a change in production, as Kinsey gained 72 yards on 10 carries after halftime. Kinsey may have had a second-half fumble, but it looked like he got the message from Bobo during Saturday’s game.
Kinsey was listed above sophomore Izzy Matthews, who is still struggling with a nagging ankle injury, on the team’s depth chart released Monday.
Gallup and Clark may not be freshmen like Kinsey and Hill, but the juco transfers are both in their first year at CSU.
Clark, a short, but speedy versatile threat has been used all over the field in his first three games as a Ram, whether that be running receiver sweeps, catching the ball out in the pattern or even lining up at tailback as he did against UNC.
“It’s hard to get a reciever some touches sometimes,” Bobo said. “When we have let him touch the ball he’s been able to get positive yards, so now we have to find ways to keep getting him the ball.”
For the season, Clark has two catches for 25 yards, and he has run the ball six times for 49 yards.
Gallup, like Kinsey, was another player who flashed game-breaking potential throughout fall camp, but an ankle injury slowed the wide receiver over camp’s final two weeks.
Bobo said that it would take time for Gallup to work his way back into the offense, and it showed early on in the team’s first two games, especially against the University of Texas-San Antonio, where the receiver had two big drops and did not record a catch.
On Saturday, Gallup finally made good on his big-play potential, catching his first touchdown pass as a Ram, to go with a 45-yard, mostly one-handed catch, down the sideline in the first quarter.
Gallup now stands as the team’s leading receiver, with 8 catches for 120 yards through three games.
“It was good to see him make some plays and give him some opportunities to make them in a game, and he made them,” Bobo said. “Now, he is far from a finished product. There is a lot of improvement that can come in Michael Gallup’s game.”
Far from a finished product represents Bobo’s stance on all of his young offensive playmakers. Hill has only started one game in a CSU uniform, Kinsey still has a lot of work to do before Bobo is ready to say that the freshman has arrived, and Clark has been getting so many rushing touches because he has yet to fully develop as a receiver.
Yet, it’s a good problem to have. They are all young, and the room for improvement is significant, but they have still shown an ability to make plays for this CSU offense early in the season, and in turn, push some of the older guys on the depth chart.
“(Kinsey) is bringing competition to running back position. Gallup and Dietrich Clark are making plays at receiver,” Bobo said. “Those things are good for us, that the young guys are coming in and making explosive plays.”
For any offense, especially this one, explosive plays are to be taken anyway they can get them. Even if it is from players who have yet to fully develop.
Collegian sports reporter Eric Wolf can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @Eric_Wolf5