After nearly a month of fall camp, Colorado State football is finally in its first game week of the 2017 season. On Aug. 26, the Rams will officially christen their new on-campus stadium against Oregon State in the first college football game of the year. Players and coaches alike can settle into their schedules and begin preparing for the game ahead.
With all the excitement surrounding football’s return to campus, it would be easy for the players to get caught up in the mix. But head coach Mike Bobo understands the importance of making sure his players keep a level head as the team approaches the 12:30 p.m. kickoff.
“We’ve been talking about it since January. Talking about the magnitude of this moment, the excitement that’s gonna be in the air, the expectations of this football program,” Bobo said. “The way you go out and the way you play confident and within yourself is [making sure] you’re prepared. That’s part of their responsibility and my responsibility is getting prepared where I have confidence to go out there and call the plays and the team has confidence to execute the plays. You do that through preparation and controlling what you can control.”
A portion of that preparation came during the Rams’ first scrimmage of fall camp in which the players and coaching staff simulated an entire game day experience. From where players will sit in the locker room, to how they will enter and exit the field, and even to ensuring the water misters work on the sideline, everything functioned like a real game.
The ability to play inside the stadium and simulate a game day experience is invaluable for Bobo and the Rams.
“Hopefully some of the normal distractions that happen on a game day that are different than a scrimmage, we’ve already addressed,” Bobo said. “We know what to expect.”
Even some of the nuances that are not typically thought of during real game situations have been addressed throughout scrimmages and practices so players can become accustomed to the new stadium. Bobo stressed the importance of understanding where the play clock is and knowing where certain units meet before heading onto the field. Making sure these distinctions become second nature, as they are for any team familiar with their stadium, allows the team to focus on more important tasks at hand.
In addition to playing the first football game on campus in nearly 50 years, the Rams also have the added pressure of playing the first game of the college football season. Naturally, this will invite more viewers than they may be used to in the past.
While it can add pressure knowing that more eyes are on you, Bobo also recognizes it is an incredible chance for not just CSU football, but Fort Collins as a whole.
“It’s a great opportunity for Colorado State, for this university, for the city of Fort Collins that our brand is out there as the first college football game of the 2017 season,” Bobo said. “It’s another opportunity to promote what we all know, that it’s a great place to live, a great place to get an education, a great place to play football.”
Collegian sports editor Colin Barnard can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @ColinBarnard_.