Biggest takeaways from Colorado State Football’s Media Day

Luke Zahlmann

Media was given insight through the lens of Colorado State football’s 2018 Media Day on Thursday, among the multiple affiliates of the program to take the stand, several storylines stood out. 

Reformed Rams

Ad

The Rams have come into the season with a greater intensity and work level than prior seasons. Coach Mike Bobo touched multiple times on the effect that an offseason has had on many of the players and the level of competitiveness that is being shown in the fall.

“You’ll see a team, some guys that you’ll recognize but you’ll also see a lot of new faces,” Bobo said. “You’ll see a group of guys that are getting after it at practice. I told them the other night that I was pleased with the first five days of practice, the attention to detail from the players and the coaches.”

The K.J. Factor

Coming in as a graduate transfer, K.J. Carta-Samuels has hit the ground running for the Rams, spending multiple hours in the film room and putting in the work to catch up to what was a dominant unit last season under the lead of Nick Stevens and Michael Gallup outside at receiver.

“(K.J.) has really good poise in the huddle,” receiver Olabisi Johnson said. “He’s an older guy so that’s definitely something that helps, a lot of guys look up to him and I think that will help him going forward into the season because we know we can trust him.”

New offensive coordinator Dave Johnson only furthered the praise.

“He’s a smart guy,” Johnson said. “Technique, just the things in his background are a little different from what I’m doing with him right now. I thought yesterday he turned a corner on a lot of things we’ve been emphasizing.”

Leaders Rising on the Defense

With a switch in coordinator and scheme for the upcoming year on the defensive side of the ball, John Jancek has had his voice echoed from several players in practice. The leaders on the defense have made themselves known to the rest of the team. 

DENVER-Senior safety Jordan Fogal (11) initiates the CSU crowd to get louder on a 3rd down during the 1st half of the Rams 17-3 loss to CU in the Rocky Mountain Showdown. (Javon Harris | Collegian)

“On the defensive side of the ball, Josh Watson has been on a mission since we got back in January… he’s leading this football team,” Bobo said. “Jordan Fogal and Jamal Hicks on the defensive side… Richard King up front, another guy that’s a young guy that has really done a nice job is Livingston Paogofie.”

Ad

Scheme Shift

The biggest beneficiary of the shift defensively from a 3-4 to a 4-3 has been aforementioned linebacker Josh Watson. A mainstay in the linebacking corps of the Rams defense, Watson has been unleashed in his position and given the ability to play to his true potential.

“I’m extremely excited, this is a great defensive staff we have. Coach Jancek knows his stuff,” Watson said. “I think using our resources (with coaching) will allow a lot of guys in the position room to really excel.”

Under the Radar

Following the departure through the NFL Draft of leading wideout Michael Gallup, the group that remains has embraced the competition to be the leading pass-catcher this year, a group highlighted by Johnson and Preston Williams, a former five-star recruit that missed last season due to infractions. 

“Everybody wants to be that guy,” Johnson said. “This year nothing has changed honestly, we’re still all going out there in the wide receiver room and competing. Whether you’re a young guy or a fourth year like me, we’re going out there and competing, working 100 percent no matter what rep it is.”

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