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Green, gold, white: CSU football springs into last preseason scrimmage

Colorado+State+University+football+players+face+off+at+the+line+of+scrimmage+during+the+second+half+of+the+CSU+Green+vs.+Gold+game+at+Canvas+Stadium+April+20.+
Collegian | Simon Tolzmann
Colorado State University football players face off at the line of scrimmage during the second half of the CSU Green vs. Gold game at Canvas Stadium April 20.

Spring means different things to different people.

For Colorado State football, it meant finishing off their preseason training with the Green vs. Gold game in Canvas Stadium on the snowy midday of April 20. 

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Even though the weather didn’t resemble springtime, the theme of new beginnings often associated with this time of year still rang true. 

With the stakes of winning and losing off the table, players could focus on refining routes and getting in-game action.

“It’s just trying to do a game format,” coach Jay Norvell said. “It’s getting tougher and tougher. I know a lot of people are moving away from it. We did have some guys go down in the spring and some injuries, and we were a little dinged up today.”

Only around 50 players were dressed in full pads and ready to play, which allowed some healthy players like Isaiah Essissima, a transfer who played under Norvell during his time at Nevada, an opportunity to play.

The scrimmage, however, was different from a regular in-season game. The “World” team sported white jerseys and started with a 21-point lead over the “1s,” which mainly consisted of starters, who sported green jerseys.

The 1s had some clear advantages, but the defense overall displayed some true changes in rushing the passer and getting on the inside.

“The other thing you want (is) to see your young players and put them in position,” Norvell said. “We got a lot of young guys on defense. (Players like) Nuer (Gatkuoth) … (and) DeAndre Gill Jr. are all young ends that have to show growth and maturity.”

Despite the differences in the lineup due to injuries or experience, CSU played with fervor regardless of the stadium’s white-capped field. 

One other player trying to play with the same intensity was returning redshirt sophomore and starting quarterback for week one, Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi.

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“The mental game was huge for me this spring,” Fowler-Nicolosi said. “Be smarter with the ball, don’t panic and understand situations. Understand when to take shots — stuff like that. And I feel like throughout this spring, I have done a pretty good job of eliminating those kind of dumb decisions.”

That mental game transfers to the defense as well. With players who left, like Mohamed Kamara, this spring serves as a leadership step-up for those who want to fill the shoes.

Essissima, who joined this spring, has built up his camaraderie with the defense and noted that he plans to work on what is to come with the same zeal as his teammates.

“I actually love competing,” Essissima said. “I mean, I’ve been competing since birth, so going out there in practice, I feel like there’s no separation. I feel like we all know, at the end of the day, we’re teammates; we try to keep each other healthy and keep each other up.”

Keeping each other up is a hard challenge, but with the last spring scrimmage coming to a close, summer camp — and its total of around 30 new players — is the next step for the Rams. 

“We got kids on our team that are motivated by winning, and that’s what makes me so excited and encouraged moving forward,” Norvell said. “And going into the summer, I think we’ll build on that. … But I really like the growth of our team.”

Reach Liv Sewell at sports@collegian.com or on twitter @Liv_sewell22

Interested in more sports content? Sign up for Ram Report here for weekly CSU sports updates!

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