by Grant Larson
FORT COLLINS, Colo.-- The Colorado State Rams officially passed the halfway point of spring ball today with their eighth of 15 practices. After two straight sessions in the Indoor Practice Facility, the team was back outside in the Colorado sunshine and head coach Mike Bobo continues to see the Rams making steady improvements.
“I saw improvement from Saturday to Tuesday, and then from Tuesdayto today,” Bobo said. “I saw improvement in the red zone by the defense. But now we have to take the next step and improve from today to Saturday. We’ve got a long ways to go. I’m glad it’s April 6 and we don’t play until August 26, because there’s a lot of improvement we need to make as a football team.”
Thursday marked the final practice before Saturday’s scrimmage, and while the Rams’ offense put up strong numbers in last week’s initial scrimmage, Bobo noted he would like to see the offense take it to the next level, particularly when the defense plays stronger.
“One, we’ve got to do a better job being able to communicate defensively, line up and play our assignment,” he said. “We’ve done a pretty good job situationally… third-down period, team-run period, red zone… It’s when we move the ball that we start to struggle. Defensively we have not executed at a very high level.”
CSU had some extra coaches on the sidelines on Thursday. Visiting the Rams’ staff and observing were South Carolina’s offensive coaches and members of Northern Colorado’s coaching staff. Additionally, former CSU defensive backs coach Vance Bedford (1987-92) was on the sidelines. Following his five years at CSU, Bedford went on to coach at several prominent schools, including Michigan, Louisville and most recently as the defensive coordinator at Texas.
“It’s always good to get with other coaches and share ideas,” Bobo said. “You try to pick up one thing that’ll help your practice run smoother or get you another first down. It’s not always wholesale ideas, but trying to find the little things that can make a difference.”
Bobo has a relationship with South Carolina co-offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon from their time working together at Georgia, which led to the Gamecocks staff coming out to Colorado. Along with Bedford, they took part in position meetings on Thursday and will again later this week. Bobo noted that CSU and Northern Colorado have a strong relationship and that his staff will travel to Greeley for a practice later this spring.
The Rams will hold their second scrimmage of spring on Saturday at10:30 a.m. on the practice fields. Follow @CSUFootball on Twitter and check CSURams.com for exclusive coverage and content.
Playing against the best
The Rams’ 2020 schedule—which has been finalized with the addition of a game against Northern Colorado in Fort Collins—boasts three out-of-conference games against Power 5 programs in Colorado, Oregon State and Vanderbilt.
“You want to recruit the best players in the country and the players who want to play against the best teams in the country,” Bobo said.“That’s what we’re selling. The saying is, ‘We’ll play anyone, anywhere’ but we’re excited that we have some of those teams coming here, too.”
Bobo noted that playing top-level teams, being on national TV and playing in areas they often recruit are some of the top perks of scheduling tough.
“Guys we recruited last year pictured themselves playing the No. 1 team in the country in Alabama,” Bobo said.
Between 2017 and 2028, CSU has 24 non-conference dates schedule, including 18 against Power-5 teams. Seven of those contests will be played in Fort Collins, including the stadium opener vs. Oregon State on Aug. 26.
Nolan Peralta earns honor
2016 graduate Nolan Peralta was recognized this week when the National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Hall of Fame announced its members of the 2017 NFF Hampshire Honor Society. The NFF Hampshire Honor Society recognizes players from all divisions of play who maintained a cumulative 3.2 grade-point average or better throughout their college careers, while also playing a significant role on his respective team. Peralta graduated in December 2016 with a 3.68 grade-point average. He earned three National Football Foundation Academic All-Colorado honors and is a four-time Mountain West Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-Mountain West honoree.
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