Jim McElwain is never satisfied. It’s been said a million times, and everyone with interest in CSU football knows it.
Hearing about it is one thing, but watching him talk about why he is not satisfied is quite another. By all standards, the Rams played a good game Friday night in their 31-17 victory over Colorado at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Most coaches would be satisfied with a win on opening weekend over their in-state rivals.
Not McElwain. Despite the win, the third-year coach walked into Friday’s post-game press conference with all the buoyancy of a popped balloon.
“Goodie,” he deadpanned when asked about his lack of outward happiness. “Shoot, I’m excited, I saw the smiles in the locker room — I mean that was cool. But this is what I expect. This is the way it should be.”
Part of what McElwain intends to impart on his players is the drive to do more, to get better no matter what was accomplished in the past. And in McElwain’s eyes, Friday’s accomplishment was nowhere near perfect to begin with. The first half revealed the nerves and jitters of a big-time opening game, but that leaves no room for excuses.
“We run the first eight (plays) about nine times throughout the week. Nine,” McElwain said. “So busting the first assignment, it gets my tail.”
While he was pleased with the performance of running backs Dee Hart and Treyous Jarrells combining for 260 rushing yards, according to McElwain, “It’s not enough.”
With only the first game of a long season in the books, one thing has been made crystal clear to his players, and anyone watching them — complacency is not going to fly.
Colorado State now turns its attention to the Boise State Broncos and a Saturday night prime time matchup that could very well determine who may win the Mountain Division.
“I don’t see one game on the schedule that we can’t win. It’s the most important game because it’s the next game,” running back Jasen Oden said. “They are going to be one of the toughest teams we play this year, but we are going to prepare well and execute well.”
The details of just how the Rams plan to execute against Boise will come to play later in the week, when the team delves deeper into its in-game planning. A certain task on that to-do list is to restore the highly-touted receiving core to its former glory.
The offensive portion of the Showdown victory largely belonged to the run game — three out of the four touchdowns to be exact. CSU ran for 266 yards and passed for just 134, so expect this week of practice to focus on the connection between Garrett Grayson and his receivers. If the Rams are to walk away from Boise’s royal blue “Smurf turf,” they’ll need a balanced offensive attack to keep the Broncos from keying on Hart and Jarrells.
With Friday’s win now behind them, the team has its eye on the next tier of The Climb: beating Boise State.Collegian Sports Reporter Micky Rastrelli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @c_rasta5.