Offensive rust, injuries slow down CSU in day two of camp

Eric Wolf

The Rams opened day two of practice with more intensity as the sun came up in Fort Collins, but injuries, offensive mistakes and inexperience became the talking points at the end of the day.

For a positive, Bobo liked what he saw out of his defense for the second day in a row. Overall, he thought they had a good grasp of their assignments and that they were able to take it to the offense at points in practice. Though the defense is surely far from where Bobo wants it to be at this point and there are still plenty of issues on the field, the defensive performance stood out as one of the few positives after day two.

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“It’s a work in progress,” Bobo said. “The main thing is I want to see us get better day-to-day. I thought the defense got better from day one to day two. That’s the true test of a football team.”

Offensive Rust

Nick Stevens and Faton Bauta are two days into the fall camp quarterback battle, but early rust on behalf of the offense has made it difficult for Bobo to get a feel for how his quarterbacks are progressing on the field.

Between inexperience at the wide receiver position and the initial installment of offensive concepts, there have been plenty of mistakes across the field for the offense. With the primary focus of the first few days of camp on offensive install, coach Bobo has not had many opportunities to evaluate his quarterbacks in an ideal live scenario.

“We will be better at that position because of year two and understanding why we are doing things, but it is still too early to tell,” Bobo said.

The youth and lack of experience at the receiver position has also made it difficult for the quarterbacks to click in practice. Injuries to returning players like Olabisi Johnson and Xavier Williams, as well as the influx of incoming players has led to miscommunication and miscues out of the receivers.  Bobo added that the understanding of the offense is there on behalf of the quarterbacks, but with the receivers not being on the same page, it is difficult to judge the performance from his signal callers.

“We are still a little bit shaky in the passing game and I would attribute some of that to the decisions we are making at quarterback,” Bobo said. “But also there’s a lot of guys that are playing who don’t have a lot of experience.”

For Stevens, that lack of experience at the receiver position is almost a reversal of last year’s situation where Joe Hansley and Rashard Higgins led the wideout group and he was the one trying to learn from them as a quarterback. Now, the quarterback room has become one of the experienced groups on the field, giving Stevens and Bauta a chance to step into that established role.

“It’s kind of a backwards situation,” Stevens said. “We lost veterans in Joe and Rashard and even (Kivon Cartwright). It’s a little different this year but I think it’s definitely a good opportunity for us to step up and lead.”

All of that being said, the offensive bright spots after the first two days of camp both happen to be what Bobo would consider inexperienced skill positions players in JUCO transfers tight end Dalton Fackrell and wide receiver Michael Gallup.

Bobo praised Fackrell for his work ethic and ball skills, while he noted that Gallup came into the second day of camp with a much more focused approach and confidence which allowed his skills to stand out.

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“Gallup will play this year, we have to get him ready,” Bobo said. “He’s on of the two guys, him and Fackrell, who are kind of showing up more than anybody right now from the (incoming) skill guys.”

Camp Notes:

  • Gallup is a 6-foot 4-inch, 195 pound junior transfer from Butler County Community College in El Dorado, Kansas.
  • Fackrell is a 6-foot 4-inch, 240 pound junior transfer from Snow College in Ephraim, Utah.
  • Redshirt junior wide receiver Xavier Williams sat out today’s practice with what Bobo called a shoulder sprain. The severity of his injury and timetable for return are yet to be determined.

Collegian sports reporter Eric Wolf can be reached by email at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @Eric_Wolf5