The CSU football team completed its final day of fall training camp Thursday night, rattling off a 76-play scrimmage followed by practice of game-time situations the team will be faced with during the regular season.
As the lone member of the program available for comment after the scrimmage, coach Jim McElwain expressed optimism about the way his team played, but noted mishaps he said the Rams must improve upon.
“We had a couple drops,” McElwain said. “And we put one ball on the ground, (and) threw a pick down in the red (zone).”
The Rams will now begin preparations for their Sept. 1 game against CU-Boulder, the first game of the regular season and the first game for McElwain as a head coach.
“We just broke camp,” McElwain said. “So we’ll now start on some scout team things tomorrow and yet we’ll still play (first team) on (first team) because there is no replacement of playing speed against speed.”
Bringing much of the speed during the scrimmage Thursday was receiver Charles Lovett, who caught three passes for 57 yards in about one quarter of action during an offensive set that McElwain described as being more successful than earlier in camp.
“I think we got the kinks worked out,” McElwain said of the offense. “No even close to delay of games and I think we played with really good tempo.”
Three players that will be continuing with the team into the regular season are quarterback M.J. McPeek, running back Mark Woodbury and kicker Jared Roberts, who each officially received athletic scholarships from the university Thursday.
As walk-on football players, McPeek and Woodbury were voted onto the leadership council by their teammates. When McElwain announced the three men had been awarded scholarships, a roar of applause could be heard throughout Hughes Stadium from their teammates.
“It just warms your heart to see guys that work that hard and to be rewarded,” McElwain said. “And again, that’s in the tradition of (former) coach (Sonny) Lubick and what he did here with walk-ons in the past.”
So the focus for the walk-ons as well as the rest of the Rams now shifts to the Rocky Mountain Showdown with CU and getting better while preparing for the upcoming season.
“This is a building process for the long haul, there’s no short-term solutions,” McElwain said. “But the way we’re going about things, the way our guys are responding to the things we’re asking them to do, I’m proud of them.”
Football Beat Reporter Andrew Schaller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.