More than three weeks into spring football, Colorado State is ready to boost the intensity. The Rams completed their seventh practice Wednesday evening and will have one more on Friday before the first scrimmage of the season Sunday afternoon.
Practice and training only reveal so much. Ladder drills can demonstrate the quick footwork of a player, but that doesn’t always give them an advantage over an opponent. Implementing those skills in a real scenario, however, shows the development that players have made from the end of last season.
Now just days in front of that first real action, head coach Mike Bobo is pleased with the energy displayed by his team.
“I thought the energy was really good at practice,” Bobo said. “I thought guys were motivated and gave good effort. It wasn’t just making a lot of noise, it was a lot of good effort in practice…We talked about straining and letting it go, and I thought the guys did that.”
For tight ends coach Joe Cox, scrimmages offer players the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them. While their development in practices may be encouraging, this gives him and the rest of the coaching staff a look at how players react in game situations.
“When you’re on the sideline and you’re looking out there, you can see who’s completely lost,” Cox said. “If they’re lost, I at least want to see them compete and finish. When you get to scrimmages, you’re gonna see mistakes. But you don’t want to see the guy who’s so lost that when he does mess up, he just stops in the middle of a play.”
Coaches aren’t the only ones who benefit from scrimmages. After weeks of half-contact practices and an offseason full of weights, players can finally harness their physicality come Sunday afternoon.
The urgency and excitement showed on Wednesday in the opening periods of practice featured an added sense of energy.
“I made it my own point – I feel like I’ve been a little bit apathetic to this whole process – to at least bring more energy and emotion myself, try to get the guys going,” senior running back Izzy Matthews said. “Energy-wise, we’re almost there…Everyone out here has an affinity for the game, so it’s definitely going to be exciting to see.”
The next step Bobo wants to see from the team focuses less on effort and more on play-calling. After implementing new offensive and defensive coaches in the early portion of the spring, Bobo expects the players to further their on-field knowledge and familiarity.
“I’m hearing too many coaches every single play have to make the calls for them, or remind them what they got,” Bobo said. “We’ve got to start communicating as a group, offensively and defensively…Sometimes you’ve got to let your players fix it on their own.”
Collegian sports director Colin Barnard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ColinBarnard_.