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CSU spring football blog - Practice 8

Lou Greenwood caught a 14-yard TD pass from Pete Thomas during a red-zone scrimmage Thursday morning

Lou Greenwood caught a 14-yard TD pass from Pete Thomas during a red-zone scrimmage Thursday morning

April 7, 2011

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By Stuart Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations

FORT COLLINS, Colo. - With spring ball just over the halfway mark, intensity isn’t lacking and that will keep transferring over day after day.

That intensity is sure to bring added excitement to Saturday morning’s scrimmage. The first of three major scrimmages this spring will start at 9 a.m., at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium. Admission is free but restrooms or concessions will not be available.

On Thursday morning, both sides of the ball showed outstanding vocal leadership, especially sophomore quarterback Pete Thomas, who was the first to celebrate with his O-line and thank them for protecting him. After a successful two-minute drill, Thomas yelled with enthusiasm, “That’s exactly what we need all year,” and high-fived each of his blockers.

In the first scored competition of the morning, players performed an Oklahoma drill. This drill features a running back, an offensive lineman blocking a defensive lineman, and a wide receiver blocking a defensive back or linebacker. The running back must get in the end zone for the offense to gain a point; however, he only has about 5 yards in width, so he can’t make any moves. The defense won this drill, 3-2, in a tiebreaker after freshman Austin Gray tackled Raymond Carter just short of the end zone.
Emphasis during every practice this spring has been on third-down and red-zone situations, and the Rams continued to practice this on Thursday during both thud and live periods.



The offense seemed to struggle during one thud period as it had two fumbles and couldn’t advance the ball more than 5 yards. Even the checkdown throws were well covered by the linebackers and corners. But by the practice-ending live period, the offense seemed to have worked out its kinks.

The 10-minute live period was a red-zone scrimmage. The offense had control most of the period thanks to three touchdows, a 14-yard Pete Thomas to Lou Greenwood connection, in which Greenwood weaved his way nicely through middle of the field, a 12-yard M.J. Peek pass to Byron Steele in the corner, and a 7-yard Derek Good run. The day was tied, Offense 14, Defense 14, when sophomore Te’Jay Brown blew up a run play in the backfield, setting up the scrimmage’s final snap, which would decide Thursday’s bragging rights. Freshman Bobby Borcky was wide open in the back corner of the end zone and it looked like he was going to snag Garrett Grayson’s pass and secure the win for the offense. But Shaq Bell showed his incredible jumping ability, coming from out of nowhere to intercept the ball and deny the offense, 18-15.

Live period statistics: RUSHING – Good 2-14, Woodbury 2-6, Greenwood 1-1, R.Carter 1-(-2), Nwoke 2-(-4), Thomas 1-(-6).  PASSING – Thomas 1-1-14 (TD), McPeek 3-2-20 (TD),  Grayson 2-1-5 (INT). RECEIVING – Greenwood 1-14 (TD), Steele 1-12 (TD), Coffman 1-8, Robinson 1-5. TACKLES – Blake 2, Sargent, Latu, Bell, Morgan, Heagle, Petty, Brown. OTHER DEFENSE – Sargent (sack), Bell (INT), Morgan  (PBU).

Bernard Clark line of the day: The Rams lost a little of their intensity during a special-teams drill. After a couple of lackluster kickoff plays that involved blocking, linebackers coach Bernard Clark told one player, ‘Don’t bring your purse to practice!”

Shed the red: Freshman fullback Kivon Cartwright, battling a knee injury, took off his red, no-contact jersey on Tuesday and stood out Thursday. Also out of the red jersey is wide receiver Jarrad McKay, who was running with the third-team Thursday morning.  Senior Jake Gdowski, out all spring with a shoulder injury, was still in red but donned pads for the first time this spring on Tuesday. Dorian Brown, the freshman running back from Thompson Valley High School that sustained a season-ending knee injury on the eve of his senior season last fall, was participating in a lot of change-of-direction drills. the drills emphasized cutting back and forth and he was putting a lot of weight onto his injured knee.

Vinson’s spring likely over: Junior cornerback Dominique Vinson’s spring ball is expected be cut short after a shoulder injury Tuesday. Vinson, who was having the best spring of any defensive back, got hurt when he went to make a tackle on Tony Drake during a contact drill.

Tedford in and out: Junior tight end Ben Tedford is in a heated battle for the starting tight end position but has suffered a couple setbacks this week. Tedford was sick on Tuesday and missed practice. He returned Thursday, but competed only in the first half, after the training staff would not allow him back on the field after getting his bell rung.

Brandon Haynes sighting: Brandon Haynes, a 6-3, 304-pound sophomore from Cedar Hill, Texas, was running with the first team at guard during the live period on Thursday. This was Haynes’ first action with the first-team offense. Last season as a redshirt freshman, he saw the field in three games as a reserve.

Big plays: Defensive tackle Curtis Wilson gave a good shot to 279-pound fullback Scott Carter, jarring the ball loose…During a thud period late in practice, the quarterbacks were extremely accurate with their passes. Grayson hit Greenwood for a 40-yard gain and McPeek found Steele down the middle for what would have been a 50-yard TD…Momo Thomas got in on the action as he stepped in front of a pass along the sideline and picked it off, similar to the interception he had against BYU in 2008.

More scuffles: What would a CSU spring practice be without a couple scuffles? Justin Becker and James Skelton got into a wrestling match, setting off something similar to a baseball bench-clearing brawl. The fighting wasn’t as intense as what fans would see on the baseball diamond, but both sidelines rushed onto the field, pushing others out of the way in an attempt to break it up.

Post-practice quotes from Head Coach Steve Fairchild

General: “Seems like we had a lot of energy out there. You always worry about that first thing in the morning when you’re out there stretching and things are quiet. From an effort and enthusiasm standpoint, that was a good practice. Very, very sloppy on both sides of the ball. We’re still having some issues staying onsides defensively, procedure-type penalties offensively, that we should be beyond at this point. Probably not as far along on either side of the ball with our twos and threes as you want to be. Obviously, they’re inexperienced. We are adding some things and changing some things, but I’d expect us to be a little bit farther along than we are at this point.”

On laughing at the trash talk during practice: “Kids are funny. We’re trying to enjoy ourselves. But then every once in a while, somebody, like an Elijah-Blu (Smith) or a Myke Sisson will say something across the ball, and it’s kind of humorous.”

On what he wants to see at the scrimmage Saturday: “Cleaner. Just cleaner. Breaking the huddle. Alignment issues offensively. Again, with the twos and threes. Less procedure-type things. Cleaner. I like our effort. I do like our talent level. I know we’re not as deep as we need to be at certain spots, so we still need to develop. We’ve got a real chance to be a real good football team, but you can’t beat yourself. Just clean football. Not a lot of turnovers.”

On the format Saturday: “There’ll be some live, some move-the-ball, some situations. We’ll script in just to make sure we get the right amount of reps in the third-down area, stuff like that. And then we’re going to go (scrimmage) the following Friday night. I think I’m going to do more live in a shorter practice. I think that’ll be quicker. The majority of what we do (next week at practice) will be thud, but that Friday night will be live.”

On the tight ends and fullbacks: “(Ben) Tedford was sick the other day and then he was out the second half of practice today (injury), so we’re not deep. We’re having to manufacture some things right now with an offensive tackle playing in there, a third wideout. We’re kind of trying to figure out who we are at that spot. There’s some options on our roster. We’re going to try to play our way through the spring. The main thing with Kivon (Cartwright) is he’s out of the red jersey, and for him to play a role for us offensively, which he’s capable of doing, he has to have a good spring.”

On why the second and third teams aren’t performing up to expectations: “I think some of the twos and threes take things for granted. We’ve got five, six, seven more practices to show that you deserve to be on the travel squad. A lot of mental errors, unforced-type errors. Lining up wrong. You go down, or you get whiffed, something like that is going to happen because the other guy’s a good football player, too, but when you have a lack of success just because you’re not mentally clued in, that to me is something we can avoid, and should avoid.”

On Nordly Capi and Tony Drake missing practice: “We take academics seriously. They both had some academic things. Springtime, or any time, really, if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do academically, you’re not going to go out there and practice. They know what they need to do, and if they do it, they’ll be out there Saturday. If not, we’ll address the issue further.”

On Lou Greenwood seeming more comfortable: “Yeah, I mentioned that to him the other day. I said, ‘You’re looking more comfortable.’ You can just see it in his body language. He’s breaking the huddle, thinking about all the things that are going to transpire, the corner’s alignment, his assignment and route adjustment, reading coverage, those sort of things. Last year, it was, ‘I’ve got to run a five route; where do I line up?’ Now, he understands more of the nuances of that position. He looks very comfortable to me out there.”

On whether Greenwood will be the Rams’ go-to receiver: “I wouldn’t say that at this point. He’s got a chance. I wouldn’t anoint him that as we speak. But if he continues to improve, he’s got ability, he’s showed even last year that he can get down the field, he’s got some run-after-the-catch as he showed today there scoring that touchdown in the red zone, he’s got a ways to go, but he could fill that hole for us.”




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