The Colorado State University football team looks to bolster their likelihood of winning back the interest of Ram fans. Following the recent hiring of head coach Steve Addazio, the CSU athletic community is hesitant to rally behind their new coach.
Fans have more than enough justification to be worried about the future of the program. Addazio’s previous head coaching stint at Boston College was no more fruitful than Mike Bobo’s time leading the Rams. However, in the world of college football, no head coach can single-handedly lead a football team.
For CSU football to end the 2020 season with a positive record and leave fans with a good first impression of their new head coach, the program must impress when filling in the remaining vacant coaching positions.
New CSU football head coach Addazio has a major say when hiring a new coaching staff. Currently, Addazio has a total coaching staff of seven; this is a very small staff for CSU football’s timetable. For reference, last season Bobo entered January with a coaching staff of 25. The Rams will attempt to juggle recruiting players and planning for the upcoming season short staffed, at least for now.
The most notable recent hires for the CSU football team are offensive coordinator Joey Lynch and defensive coordinator Chuck Heater.
New OC Lynch is coming to the CSU football program after ending a long-term relationship with his alma mater, Ball State.
During his six years as OC at Ball State, Lynch’s offense was able to establish a solid run game that dominated the Mid-American Conference.
A testament to the success of Lynch’s run-first offense scheme came last year when Ball State finished with the 18th best offense in all of college football. Much of the success for the impressive season can be attributed to Ball State star running back Caleb Huntley, who rushed for 1,275 yards.
A successful run game not only tires out defenses, but the offensive scheme also relieves stress on the passing game, which an unsuccessful CSU football program relied on heavily during the Bobo Era.
A solid run game has eluded CSU football in recent memory, especially after Marvin Kinsey Jr. was kicked off the team last season. With Lynch working in tandem with Addazio, who also prefers a run-first offense, expect the Rams to bully their opponent’s defense with hard-nose football and a more balanced offensive attack than in years past.
Commanding the defensive side of the ball for CSU’s 2020 season will be recently-hired Heater. Heater has previously coached the CSU Rams as defensive coordinator, but not since the early ’90s.
Since Heater’s departure in 1992, he has held defensive coaching positions at multiple powerhouse college football teams, such as the University of Colorado, Washington, Utah, Florida and, most recently, Marshall.
CSU football had a miserable defensive season last year, with individual players standing out, like Jamal Hicks and Dequan Jackson. But, as a unit, the CSU defense fell well below the bar.
Heater’s defense plays just like it sounds: it heats up. With a hard-hitting 4-3 scheme that will apply constant pressure to the offensive backfield, Heater will be planning to bring the heat early and often with four down linemen.
A 4-3 defensive package is not foreign to CSU football. The Rams used the package on short-yardage situations throughout the season last year. In those short-yardage situations on third down, CSU’s 4-3 defensive package ranked in the top 10 nationally, forcing opponents into a 30% third-down efficiency. So, fans should get excited to see the Rams light up opposing offenses with a hard-hitting, high-flying defense.
As CSU gears up for the 2020 football season, head coach Addazio will be focused on filling his coaching staff. The senior coaching positions for CSU have been filled with the additions of offensive coordinator Lynch and defensive coordinator Heater. However, in the coming weeks, expect to see the Rams add more skill coaches.
Currently, CSU has hired multiple coaches who have followed Addazio from Boston College. This includes senior associate head coach and running backs coach Brian White and defensive line coach Antoine Smith.
Addazio is also bringing his son onto the coaching staff at CSU. Louie Addazio was hired to become CSU’s offensive line coach after an impressive stint at Bowling Green.
Joining Heater on the defensive side of the ball are coaches Sean Cronin from South Florida, who will be in charge of tuning CSU’s linebackers, and Anthony Perkins, who previously worked with defensive backs for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Jack Taylor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @j_taylr.