After playing to an even 2-2 record through the first four weeks of the football season, Colorado State enjoyed an early bye week over the weekend. For the Rams, the break proved beneficial in more ways than one.
Most notably, the time off allowed many players to tend to their injuries and prepare for the rigors of conference play. Right tackle Ben Knox, who missed games against Colorado and Alabama, has progressed to the point where head coach Mike Bobo believes he will play against Hawai’i.
Defensive lineman Richard King also figures to play this week after missing all of last week’s practices. In addition, defensive tackle Christian Colon will return to practice this week after dealing with a foot injury since summer.
“Overall, the team health is getting better,” Bobo said. “Any time you get a week off from playing a game – the physicality of playing a game, two less days of practice as well – guys are getting closer to being back where they were at the beginning of the season.”
In addition to tending to certain ailments, the time off allows CSU to enter Mountain West play with a fresh mindset. While other teams in the MW enter conference play having to transition directly from their non-conference schedule, the Rams are one of the few teams who had an extra week to prepare.
Playing on an essentially clean slate is something that Bobo preached to his team throughout the bye week.
“This is the second part of our season, it’s season two,” Bobo said in regards to how he addressed his team. “Three out of our first four games are on the road in conference, and one of them in a short week against an option team.”
“We’ve got a big stretch coming ahead of us,” Bobo continued. “It’s got to be one day at a time, but don’t take this rest you have for granted. Get rested, get recharged and we ought to have the enthusiasm to attack this thing like what we want to be as champions.”
The bye week also provided Bobo and his staff time to reflect on the first four games of the young season. Facing arguably the most difficult non-conference schedule of any MW team, the Rams competed against some of the top talent in the nation.
CSU put itself in position to beat last year’s Pac-12 South champions in Colorado and refused to fold against No. 1. Alabama. Despite the losses, those types of performances encourage Bobo going forward.
“What I saw out of the first four weeks from our football team is that we’re gonna play for 60 minutes,” Bobo said. “If we can clean up some of the things fundamentally, the little things that can cost you games…we’ll have a chance to be in every football game.”
CSU begins the conference portion of its schedule on the road against Hawai’i. Kickoff is set for 10 p.m. MT on Sept. 30 at Aloha Stadium.
Collegian sports editor Colin Barnard can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @ColinBarnard_.