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Thunder and lighting: Rams 1-2 duo in the backfield

Collegian | Gregory James
Colorado State running back Avery Morrow runs through a gap in the Wyoming defense Nov 12. The Rams lost 14-13.

Editors note: The language of the headline has been updated to better express the sensitivity around Avery Morrow’s pending legal proceedings.

In a world where quarterbacks and passing yards are all the buzz, rushing often gets put on a shelf and left there to collect dust. 


A team’s run game is often just as — if not more important than — passing, especially in Colorado, where as the season goes on, weather becomes more of a factor. Colorado State as a team didn’t run the ball very well last season, but despite that, Avery Morrow broke out for the Rams, solidifying himself as the team’s bell-cow back. 

“They both pack a punch when it comes to contact, so it’s guys with different foot speed, but they’ll still run through your soul if they have to.” –Jeremy Moses, CSU football running backs coach

Despite his breakout, the Rams still added Kobe Johnson to the running back room. Coming over from North Dakota State, it would appear the Rams would be in for a competition in the backfield come training camp. 

However, this wouldn’t be the case. The Rams instead viewed the two as complementary to one another, with head coach Jay Norvell telling them not to worry about who starts games because he views them both as starters. 

Running backs coach Jeremy Moses shared a sentiment similar to Norvell’s.

“They can do the same thing as each other, but then they’ve got things that separate themselves,” Moses said. “So to have a thunder and lightning-type package on the field at all times is really beneficial to us.”

That thunder and lightning-type package Moses talks about is not something every team has. For the Rams, they view this as an advantage.

“I think it keeps the defense off balance because they’re two guys that get in and out of cuts at different paces in different ways,” Moses said. “But they both pack a punch when it comes to contact, so it’s guys with different foot speed, but they’ll still run through your soul if they have to.”

Not every player would embrace an addition like Johnson, but the Rams as a team have embraced each other as a family, and Morrow embraces his addition in a positive way. 

“It’s just another element to the run game that we can add,” Morrow said. “Me taking 70 snaps, after a couple of games, my body started catching up with me. With Kobe here now, he just gives me that break that my body needs.”


Johnson agreed that keeping your body fresh as a running back is important, and having both players able to carry the offensive load can help. 

“Just playing off of each other, we’re two different backs clearly, but you know having those two different styles, they work well with each other,” Johnson said. “When a defense has to game plan for two different guys, it can get a little difficult.”

One of the big changes the Rams announced after the first week of the season was the change of starting quarterback. A good running game can be crucial in establishing a tempo and making life easier for Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi, who will be starting Saturday against Middle Tennessee.

“These two guys — matched with Brayden’s skill set — is going to make a defense have to play fast and make quick decisions,” Moses said. “(They’re) two backs that get downfield quickly, make quick moves around the second level and have a quarterback that can run around a little bit but makes quick decisions getting the ball out of his hands. So you should see the defense a little off balance and hopefully fatigued by the second quarter having to run sideline to sideline.”

Although the Rams’ running game is off to a slow start, there are still a lot of games to be played. Johnson is confident in his team and the running back room to show the fans their potential. 

“I’m most excited for the growth of this team — we saw what happened Saturday, but I feel like there’s a lot of good things out there,” Johnson said. “I feel like we’re going to continue to build on that, and it’s a long season — 11 more games guaranteed — and I’m just excited to see the growth in those games.”

Morrow shared that excitement, but he also called out any doubters of the team. There was a lot of anticipation leading up to the season, and while the Rams couldn’t come out on top against the Cougars, a lot of the team knows it’s a long season and that there will be improvement. 

“I’m just excited to prove everybody wrong,” Morrow said. “A lot of people are doubting us. Once we get this train roll, ain’t nobody going to be able to stop us. … We still have to come together as a team and learn how to play together, and it was obvious in the second half that we could do that. The future is looking bright, in my eyes.”

Reach Damon Cook at or on Twitter @dwcook2001.

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About the Contributor
Damon Cook, Sports Editor
Damon Cook is the 2023-24 sports editor for the The Collegian and has been at the paper since August 2022. He started doing coverage on volleyball and club sports before moving onto the women's basketball beat. He is in his third year and is completing his degree with a major in journalism and media communication and a minor in sports management. As The Collegian's sports editor, Cook reports on CSU sports and helps manage the sports desk and content throughout the week. After having a year to learn and improve, Cook will now get to be part of a new age under the sports desk. The desk moved on from all but one other person and will now enter into a new era. Damon started school as a construction management major looking to go in a completely different direction than journalism. After taking the year off during the COVID-19 pandemic, he quickly realized that construction wasn't for him. With sports and writing as passions, he finally decided to chase his dreams, with The Collegian helping him achieve that. He is most excited to bring the best and most in-depth sports coverage that The Collegian can provide.

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