CSU football closes out their spring in similar fashion to their opener

Luke Zahlmann

After splitting results in the first two scrimmages of the spring season, the tiebreaker went to the defense courtesy of their success in the trenches early and often in the Colorado State Green and Gold scrimmage.

The story of the scrimmage was the lack of offensive success in red zone situations, falling peril multiple times to defensive pressure down low. The success of the defense was highlighted when the scrimmage shifted to 12-yard-and-in situations, forcing back-to-back turnovers, limiting the offense without a touchdown in the session.

Ad

Though the play calling in the spring game strayed from regular game day tactics, the offensive line showed progress in the running game as Izzy Matthews was able to take advantage for chunk gains when given the opportunity. The game plan shifted often towards giving the Rams’ young signal-callers repetitions in a more game-conducive environment, leading to the touches for the stable of running backs being low. Playing through the air failed to yield the desired results for the offense, having multiple drives stalled by way of sacks and pressure.

A shift in defensive scheme from the 3-4 to the 4-3 has led to an increase in reliance on the Rams’ linebackers in Tre Thomas and Josh Watson, a challenge that was met by the duo. Thomas served as a mainstay in the backfield on the day, taking advantage of several miscues along the offensive trenches. The linebacker broke around the corner for multiple sacks, including a number of drive-stalling tackles in the backfield.

“At the end of the day, it’s just playing football,” defensive lineman Richard King said. “We just have to get the ball down, live to fight another down and just grind it out. Red zone is gonna be very key if we wanna be a dominant defense.”

Replacing stalwart Jake Bennett, center Colby Meeks was assigned the duty of filling the void and led an offensive unit down low that struggled outside of the run game. Sans a couple big gains from run-pass options, the Rams’ passing game struggled with incoming transfer quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels in street clothes.

“I just need to work on being more vocal and encouraging people,” Meeks said. “I’m more of a guy that leads by example, I’ll make the calls on the o-line, but I need to get people moving, make sure they work.”

A bright spot in the struggling passing game was redshirt junior wide receiver Brenden Fulton who hauled in multiple passes on drag routes and rollouts, leading to several big gains after the catch. Fulton utilized his quickness in the short passing game to free up Olabisi Johnson on deeper routes down the field, but the offense failed to capitalize.

“(Fulton) is a guy that impressed all camp, impresses every special teams coach, he’s a dependable guy,” Bobo said. “You know where he’s gonna be as a quarterback.”

The Rams will take their season into the summer program following their upcoming exit interviews. The first live test for the team is still nearly five months away when they host Hawaii in their season opener, fielding a vastly different squad once their transfers and freshmen become acclimated with the team.

Collegian sports reporter Luke Zahlmann can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @lukezahlmann.