Football is officially in the air, folks. Colorado State football held the first of three preseason scrimmages Saturday, hosting 21,447 fans in an open house event at the recently completed on-campus stadium.
“I thought it was a great day for Colorado State, not just Colorado State football,” head coach Mike Bobo said. “To see our fans two or three hours before the game, it just kind of gave me chills.”
Prior to the scrimmage, fans of the green and gold gathered around the southwest corner of campus to celebrate the unveiling of the the New Belgium Porch, listen to live music and take part in the ribbon cutting ceremony with athletic director Joe Parker.
“Welcome to our on-campus stadium,” Parker told a large crowd of people outside the stadium during the ribbon cutting ceremony. “We’re excited to share this with you.”
Along with getting to set foot in the stadium for the first time, season ticket holders were able to sit in their actual seats and check out the majority of the vendors that will be available to them.
“For the first effort, I think we hit the mark with most people,” Parker told a small group of reporters. “In general the only expression I saw was one of two things – Jaws were down or smiles were out.”
In what was a controlled scrimmage, the Rams practiced for just over two hours, rotating the starters in and out with the reserve units. Inclement weather delayed the intrasquad matchup for just over one hour, but the Rams were able to run around 110 plays in total.
Bobo explained that certain players were on snap counts, but the team tried to simulate as close to a game day scenario as possible. Starting with how the team prepared for the scrimmage this morning and continuing throughout the period of play.
“We wanted to kind of slow it down a little bit and simulate TV timeouts,” Bobo said. “You usually see a lot of improvement from game one to game two and a lot of it has to do with distractions of going to the locker room and having to wait 3.5 hours for the game. We were able to feel through some of that stuff today.”
Senior running back Dalyn Dawkins recorded the first offensive first down of the afternoon, taking a screen pass seven yards to move the markers. Dawkins also scored the first touchdown Saturday, a one-yard plunge into the end zone.
While Dawkins may have scored first, it was sophomore running back Rashaad Boddie that finished the day in the spotlight, scoring a pair of touchdowns.
“He (Boddie) needs to get a little bit better with his vision running the ball but he’s a runaway train back there,” Bobo said. “He has improved so much from his first year. I’m really proud of the way he progressed.”
In total, five different quarterbacks saw the field, with senior Nick Stevens kicking off the scrimmage with the starting unit and sophomore Collin Hill subsequently running the offense shortly after.
Bobo explained that he liked what he saw from both quarterbacks but both have areas of their game that they will need to improve on. Hill looked good moving around the pocket but still needs to work on being more consistently accurate with the football.
Stevens had a solid day overall but needs to learn not to force the football, especially in red zone scenarios. Bobo referenced one play in particular where Stevens had an opportunity to run the ball for a first down on a bootleg, but instead forced the ball, resulting in an interception.
“That decision right there is probably going to upset him and feel like it ruined his day, but that one play could really cost you the game,” Bobo said. “Other than that, I thought Nick (Stevens) did an excellent job all day.”
After an off day tomorrow, CSU will hold regular practices Monday-Thursday before holding their second scrimmage of the fall on Saturday Aug. 12. The Rams will hold around ten more practices before school starts on Aug. 21 and will officially open the season against Oregon State five days later (Aug. 26).
Collegian sports director Justin Michael can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @JustinTMichael.