After seeing the aerial attack come together in the second half of last season, CSU head football coach Mike Bobo is looking to take the passing offense to the next level in 2017.
“The number one thing I talked about going into spring was improving the passing game,” Bobo said Tuesday after practice.
Bobo explained that despite averaging 35.3 points and throwing for 245 yards per-game last season, a lot of the success through the air came on deep balls or screen passes that receivers were able to break off for big plays. Moving forward, Bobo wants to see a more consistent intermediate passing attack.
“I think our intermediate passing game has improved,” Bobo said. “Throughout the course of the spring, we started off a little bit shaky. We were completing some balls, but we were not as accurate as I would like to be. (Now) our accuracy and our intermediate passing game has improved.”
Bobo credits the improvement to his quarterback Nick Stevens and the work he has put in this spring with the wide receivers.
With a wide receiving corps of Detrich Clark, Michael Gallup and Olabisi Johnson on the outside and veteran quarterback Stevens under center, the third-year head coach feels this group is ready to to build off where they finished last season and have already made strides towards that goal.
Gallup finished last season with 76 receptions for 1,272 yards and 14 touchdowns. In the final eight games of the season, Gallup racked up 12 touchdowns and 81 percent (1,024 yards) of his yardage total.
Johnson kept relatively quiet throughout the year but exploded in the Idaho Potato Bowl for seven catches for 265 yards—a CSU record—and two touchdowns. The sophomore finished the season with 28 catches for 613 yards and four touchdowns.
Clark was featured minimally in the team’s passing attack last season, hauling in just nine balls for 90 yards on the year with one touchdown, but was utilized in the ground game, carrying the ball 36 times for 247 yards and three touchdowns.
Of the group, nobody has impressed more this spring than Johnson, whom Bobo feels has made massive strides since his breakout performance in the Idaho Potato Bowl last season.
“I was really pleased with Bisi (Johnson) all throughout last season— with how he progressed, how he continued to battle and compete,” Bobo said. “If I was to name a guy that has been day in and day out, the most consistent, a guy that is working towards the standard that we talk about at practice, Bisi would be that guy for us.”
The Rams will practice in shorts one more time this week before the spring game on April 22 at 1 p.m. at the Lagoon Field on campus.
Collegian sports reporter Justin Michael can be reached by email at email@example.com or Twitter @JustinTMichael.