Now four days into fall camp, the message that Colorado State football head coach Mike Bobo is preaching to his players is that the time for complacency is over and the time to be physical is now. After easing into practice during the first few days, the intensity will continue to pick up as the team as the team gets closer to their first scrimmage on Aug. 5.
“The first couple days, you can take out assignments,” Bobo said Sunday. “You’re looking at who can change direction, who can run, who’s got some instincts. When you get pads on, you can see who is going to strike. Who can now run and hit? Who’s going to flinch on contact?”
If evaluating players before they have actually played a meaningful snap sounds complicated, it is. Bobo and the Rams coaching staff have to figure out who is physically and mentally ready to compete right now, while continuing to help develop the younger and/or less prepared athletes. Not to mention the fact that in less than one month the Rams will be opening the 2017 season against Oregon State, who the staff has to prepare for.
“You are trying to figure out does this guy have the athletic ability to play for you, is he tough enough right now,” Bobo explained. “When we get closer to the scrimmage, we’ll get out of the way and see who can play. Then we can focus on getting those guys ready.”
While Bobo wants his players competing on an everyday basis, he does know that everyday will be different than the one before. Bobo felt that Sunday’s practice was one of the best any of his teams have had in his three years at CSU. Not necessarily because of the quality of the product on the field, but due to the energy that the team brought from start to finish.
The former Georgia quarterback and offensive coordinator explained that the program is finally starting to be in a position where everyone knows what is expected of them.
On Sunday, the players showed a lot of initiative by giving the type of effort and bringing the level of energy that it takes to win football games. Coaches did not have to provide the juice.
Monday was still productive, but the team did not have the same spark as the day before. “I thought as coaches, we had to drive it a little bit today,” Bobo said. “It was a little bit warmer. We came out a little bit slow, but once we got going I thought we really competed well.”
CSU will continue practicing in the heat, as the team prepares for the season opener on Aug. 26. A strategy Bobo feels will benefit his team when the snaps really count next month.
“I love that it’s hot, and I love that we’re on the turf where there’s even more heat,” Bobo said. “It’s going to be hot at 12:30 p.m. on the first day. We have to get ourselves in the best shape. It’s a little bit different than a normal camp. We knew we were going to have to work ourselves in to shape a little more than we had to the last few years.”
Collegian sports director Justin Michael can be reached by email at email@example.com or Twitter @JustinTMichael.