DENVER — The Colorado State football team begins fall camp this week, and words of advice have been given by former teammates for CSU players set to begin their upcoming season.
“Just tell them to beat the Buffs,” said Kapri Bibbs, who had a record-setting campaign with the Rams in 2013.
In his only year playing for CSU, Bibbs led the Mountain West in rushing yards (1,741), carries (281), and became the third player in NCAA history to rush for more than 30 touchdowns in a single season. His 31 through 14 games were nearly double that of Boise State running back Jay Ajayi, who finished second in the conference with 18.
However, Bibbs is more concerned about his former squad taking care of the business he never got around to, winning CSU’s annual game against in-state rival Colorado.
“I didn’t get a chance to do what they’ve got to do,” he said. “Go Rams.”
Now, he and ex-CSU linebacker Shaquil Barrett are back to the familiar spot where they suffered a 41-27 Rocky Mountain Showdown loss on Sept. 1. Both undrafted free agents have been getting reps during Broncos training camp; including running drills in Denver’s third practice open to the public, a scrimmage at Sports Authority Field Saturday.
“I’d say it’s pretty different than playing at Hughes (Stadium). I mean, there’s 30,000 people out here to watch us practice,” Barrett said laughing. “It feels good, some of (the fans) actually know who I am. People have been asking me about us at Colorado State.”
Even CSU head coach Jim McElwain made an effort to remain in touch with his former players who are trying to earn a spot in the NFL. He was on hand last week for Denver’s second public outing, and although Barrett missed practice due to a minor ankle sprain, he liked what he saw out of his former offensive star.
“The one thing I was excited about is that he fits. You know what I mean?,” McElwain said of Bibbs. “He really looks like he belongs out there. He’s going to be able to open some eyes. He’s a guy that will compete and give everything he has into it. I think the biggest thing is he really looked like he belonged.”
Denver released its depth chart on Monday, and Barrett landed the No. 3 spot at strongside linebacker behind veteran Von Miller and second-year player Lerentee McCray out of Florida.
Bibbs’ fight to earn a job at running back is more competitive. He’s in a four-way tie at No. 4 spot along with Brennan Clay, Juwan Thompson and Jerodis Williams. The spot would likely backup Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson.
“Those guys are always a big deal in out meeting rooms,” Bibbs said. “Now that I’m here, it’s not about adapting, it’s about doing your job as a running back.”
Both Bibbs and Barrett will get a taste of professional competition on Thursday in Denver’s preseason opener against the Seattle Seahawks. Roster cuts will be made until the Broncos finalize their 53-man lineup at the end of the month.
“I can’t wait for that day to get here,” Barrett said on the first day of training camp. “I would love to have one of the Colorado State Rams on the roster, even two with me and Bibbs. We could have a good shot.”
Collegian Sports Reporter Quentin Sickafoose can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @QSickafoose.