The annual Green and Gold Spring Game this Saturday will be the first public screening of the Colorado State football show under new head coach Mike Bobo.
The Rams are gearing up for the last go-around of spring camp with their focus on building chemistry more so than finding the next diamond in the rough.
“I just want to make sure I get my technique right,” tight end Steven Walker said. “I don’t need to go out there and catch 10 balls. I need to go out there and make sure my head is in the right place, my hands are in the right place, my routes are perfect. It’s not about putting a show on. It’s about getting your technique right for fall.”
That is not to say there will not be position battles to watch for though. Even a first team All-Mountain West player like Walker said he is being expected to earn his snaps just like everyone else.
“We need to show that guys want to compete,” Bobo said. “They want to compete for a job. No jobs have been won out there so I want to see guys who are going to be able to play and execute the things they’ve been coached in the first 14 practices on Saturday.”
The most notable competition is the starting quarterback race between frontrunners Nick Stevens and Coleman Key. While the scrimmage could be a nice preview of what each brings to the table, Bobo has made it clear that he is in no rush to name a starter. The competition will continue into fall camp and whatever happens in the spring scrimmage will just be a part of the equation.
An interesting group to watch in the scrimmage will be the running backs since leading rusher Dee Hart entered the NFL Draft. Replacing his 1,275 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns is a difficult task.
Treyous Jarrells saw a lot of action last year. He barrelled over Colorado for 121 yards during a win in the Rocky Mountain Showdown, and finished with six touchdowns on the year. However, the coaching staff is not going to put all of their eggs in one basket.
“I think with the style of offense we are going to run, you can’t just have one guy,” running backs coach Bryan Applewhite said.
With Jarrells sitting out the Rams’ second spring scrimmage last week, Dalyn Dawkins took most of the first team snaps. At 5-foot-9, 180 pounds, the Purdue transfer doesn’t exactly look the part, much like Jarrells.
But also similar to Jarrells last year, Dawkins has turned some heads in spring camp with his downhill style of play and by the way he finishes off runs.
“Even though they are not 6-foot, 230 pounds, they run big,” Applewhite said. “Treyous (Jarrells) runs big, (Dalyn) Dawkins runs really big, of course (Jasen) Oden’s already a big guy and Deron (Thompson) is learning to run big.”
Just like at quarterback, the scrimmage Saturday will not determine a depth chart in the backfield, but it does allow the coaching staff to take a closer look at how good of a grasp players have on new concepts. Applying them in practice is much different than doing it in a game speed scenario.
“It’s a little different when you play in a scrimmage,” Bobo said. “It’s not off of a script. You’re calling plays offensively and defensively. There’s a little bit of a crowd there. Who is going to be able to play when the crowd is there and the band is playing? Not when coach is standing out in the huddle or hollering assignments. It’s going to be up to you to execute and make plays so that is what we are looking for.”
The scrimmage is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Hughes Stadium. McDonald’s will provide free breakfast burritos to the first 1,500 fans on the west concourse beginning at 9 a.m. The scrimmage brings a close to the Rams’ 15-practice spring game.
Collegian Sports Reporter Emmett McCarthy can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @emccarthy22.