Spring football: What to look forward to this fall


Collegian | Avery Coates

The Colorado State University football team plays against each other during the Green vs. Gold spring game in Canvas Stadium April 22.

Braidon Nourse, Sports Editor

Spring football practices at Colorado State University are over following Saturday’s Green vs. Gold spring game. Just like last year, the team’s 15 practices culminated in a spring game in which the starters competed against the backups, who began the game with a 21-point lead over the starters.

The starters won 34-24 Saturday and gave fans some things to look forward to this fall. The season is still a long way away — and there will be plenty of change in the team between now and then — but what fans saw Saturday was a team eager to compete and hungry for better outcomes this season.


Colorado State University defensive squad celebrates in the end zone after an interception during practice in Canvas Stadium
The Colorado State University defensive squad celebrates in the end zone after an interception during practice in Canvas Stadium April 16. (Collegian | Milo Gladstein)

Defense ready to take a leap

On the defensive side of the ball, the “1s,” or the starters, only gave up 3 points to “the world,” or the backups. After the game, junior defensive back Jack Howell said it was 3 too many.

“We started out a little slow but started picking it up and started to get a little bit of a rhythm,” Howell said. “We went into this (game) focused on ‘They can’t score any points,’ but we fell short on that today.”

The Rams’ defense has looked like an improved unit over the course of spring practice. Just about every starter on the line and at the defensive back remains on the team and has only gotten better. The goals members of the defense have given themselves are hefty, but it remains true that at their best, they could be one of the best in the Mountain West.

The only question mark has been at the linebacker position, especially with the loss of Dequan Jackson to graduation and the NFL Draft. Redshirt junior Chase Wilson has answered the question mark so far, cementing himself as one to watch at the position. Wilson played in two of the Rams’ first three games last year but redshirted after missing the rest of the season with an injury.

Quarterback Clay Millen passes the football off to running back A’Jon Vivens. (Collegian | Sara Shaver)

Offensive line paving the way for a running game

Probably the worst position group last season, the offensive line has shown clear improvement this spring. That defensive line that wants to be the best in the conference? They had their hands full with the O-line Saturday in the few reps they went against each other. 

“I think there’s just a whole different mentality with the offensive line,” quarterback Clay Millen said. “They’re really prideful about moving the football — they want to score. When we don’t score, they’re upset about that, which is a good thing.”

There were no official stats being taken for the spring game, but running back Vann Schield had a statement performance that included well over 100 yards and three touchdowns. The redshirt sophomore transfer from CSU Pueblo joined the team this year and has made a nice impression this spring in Avery Morrow’s absence.

Colorado State University football head coach Jay Norvell speaks to a referee at the Rams’ game against California State University, Sacramento Sept. 24, 2022. The Rams lost 41-10. (Collegian | Sara Shaver)

Recruiting far from over

The summer recruiting cycle for football started last week, and head coach Jay Norvell has big plans for tackling it. Over the course of the spring, Norvell alluded to a few different recruiting goals, but they mainly involve recruiting for depth and to breed competition. The Rams have room for over 40 more recruits before the season starts.

At the moment, CSU doesn’t have a running back on active scholarship without Morrow. Additionally, there’s not much depth on wide receivers outside of guys like Tory Horton and Justus Ross-Simmons. Norvell has said he wants to bring in more talent at those positions on top of other positions like the offensive line.


Reach Braidon Nourse at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @BraidonNourse.