April 1, 2013
By Craig Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - The Rams took to the field for their fifth practice of the spring on Monday afternoon, and once again Head Coach Jim McElwain walked away impressed with the improvement he sees from his team.
“It’s amazing. We’ve moved two days of situational practices up because of where we are at as a team already,” McElwain said. “We’ve really emphasized turnovers and creating turnovers. I thought we did a great job with ball security today, and in the red zone we got a lot done.”
In particular, McElwain believes that having everyone back for their second year in the program has paid dividends and has allowed the team to progress further than they were able to last year.
McElwain also sees this as a big reason that newcomers are picking things up so nicely as well. He pointed out the progress he has seen from sophomore defensive linemen LaRyan King and Terry Jackson.
“The overall understanding has been fantastic,” McElwain said of his junior college transfers. “Because we are ahead at those other spots as well, they have been bringing those guys along. There is a big family atmosphere going on which is helping those guys. They are actually bringing them along, and that’s encouraging.”
Perhaps what excited the second year coach the most, was just having the junior college transfers available to report to camp for spring practices.
“It’s going to be huge. I’m really glad that they are here,” McElwain said. “They are going to have all of summer to be in the weight room, and that is really going to help us come next fall.”
McElwain also has been thoroughly impressed with freshman Austin Berk, who reported to CSU after graduating from high school early and enrolled in Colorado State in January.
The Rams will have Tuesday off before they return to the practice fields south of Moby Arena for their sixth practice of the spring on Wednesday.
More post-practice quotes:
After practice on Monday, co-defensive coordinator Marty English met with the media.
(on newcomers on defensive line)
“It’s what you would expect. There just hasn’t been enough practices or enough reps yet. We were better today than we were on Saturday. We are getting better, and they are learning.”
(on filling so many spots on defensive line)
“It’s not terrible because the guys coming in are so good. Once they get used to everything, I feel really good about how they will play because they are good players. The fact that they are new, that’s the part that will take time with the scheme, but they are good players.”
(on LaRyan King and Terry Jackson)
“There are some habits that we have to break going forward, but the thing is it is showing up on film when you are talking to them. They are going out and correcting it the next day, so that’s encouraging.”
(on having junior college transfers for three years)
“That part is big because it usually takes them a year to get used to everything. They are usually a lot better in their second year because they are used to everything. Calvin Tonga is a totally new guy this year than he was last year.”
(on defense compared to last year at this time)
“Last year we were still telling them where to go and where our drills were. We are just getting to it; more reps, things are going faster. We are still working on the mental aspect a lot, but we are much further ahead this year than we were last year.”
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