The last three weeks for Colorado State football have been some of the most difficult in recent memory. Three consecutive losses, two of which came after holding late leads, have diminished the early-season excitement that surrounded football in Fort Collins.
Now preparing for their final game of the regular season, the Rams turn their attention to entering bowl season on a high note with a win against San Jose State. Given the gut-wrenching nature of the losses to Wyoming and Boise State, that is not necessarily the easiest thing for athletes to do.
Head coach Mike Bobo realizes the duty he and his coaching staff have in revitalizing the team for this week of practice.
“My message to our staff last night was, ‘They’re gonna follow us,’” Bobo said. “If you panic or are somebody that you’re not because of situations around you or what’s going on, your kids feel that and then they don’t play to their full potential…The best thing we can do as a staff is when you show up and go to work. That’s a valuable lesson to those kids.”
Bobo stressed the importance of approaching this game with same energy and vigor he has all season long, regardless of who the opponent is. With just one win on the season, San Jose State presents a unique task for CSU.
In addition to ensuring his team does not overlook the one-win Spartans, Bobo must prepare for a team that has nothing to lose. Led by Brent Brennan, San Jose State is looking for a program-defining win, one that Bobo knows they will be searching for this weekend.
As such severe underdogs, the Spartans are able to take risks that other teams with something on the line may not be able to. That said, Bobo expects his Rams to have the same attitude.
“I think everybody should play with that mind set, no fear,” Bobo said. “There’s fear and there’s pressure that you feel which is good. But you can’t be afraid that if you do something, if you cause something, if you break on a ball that you’re gonna lose…Our mindset is that we’ve got nothing to lose. We’re gonna play as hard as we can and as well as we can for each other.”
Following last week’s game, the pain among the players was tangible. Bobo told his team that the loss hurts, as it should. He did his best to comfort running back Rashaad Boddie following his overtime fumble and encouraged his team to move forward.
Using the hurt from the last three weeks and playing at home on senior day, the Rams may have added motivation to win on Saturday. More than anything else, though, the yearning to be the best is what motivates Bobo.
“It fuels me every day, not because a win or loss, but because I want to be the best team on that field that Saturday,” Bobo said. “I want to be the best team in the country, and that fuels me.”
Collegian Sports Editor Colin Barnard can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @ColinBarnard_.