April 15, 2012
By Stuart Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Rams have held two scrimmages during their spring campaign and the one player who stood out in both occasions is C.J. James.
The senior out of Orlando, Fla., has always been in the backfield. In 2011, James was second on the team with five sacks and in his sophomore season he record 1.5 sacks. This spring James has a combined 19 tackles and 11 sacks.
After recording 13 tackles and six sacks on Sunday, Head Coach Jim McElwain was impressed with the defensive end.
“That guy is a pretty good player,” McElwain said. “He’ll make his sacks on third-downs and cause some people to add an extra blocker, make sure you’re chipping with a back, that kind of thing. But the thing I’m happy with C.J. is what he is doing in the run game. A defensive lineman’s job is to make sure you control the blockers up front so your linebackers can make plays. Once you jump around blocks and try to make tackles that is when the big plays happen. He has done a good job of disciplining himself as to how he uses his hands and makes sure he is in gap control.”
Not only is James a factor in stopping the opposing teams rushing attack but he could help the Rams on the offensive side of the ball.
James lined up in the backfield as a blocker for Chris Nwoke’s three-yard touchdown run. James sealed the outside allowing Nwoke to trot into the endzone.
“He is a guy that is obviously used a lot, McElwain said. “He’s got great quick twitch and he can snap his hips and brings a little power. We’ll use him in our big package.”
Sunday wasn’t just the “C.J. James show.” Nwoke also put together his best performance of the spring.
CSU’s leading rusher from 2011 ran the ball 13 times for 130 yards. Nwoke also broke off two runs of over 30 yards. Even though Nwoke appears to be the Rams No. 1 running back, McElwain sees room for improvement.
“I saw him put one on the ground,” McElwain said. “I know they called him down, but that is not acceptable. Turnovers are unacceptable. Learning ball security is something he needs to get better at.”
The weather made an impact on Sunday’s scrimmage. McElwain took advantage of the rain, sleet and wind making sure everybody got accustom to the conditions.
“I wanted to make sure everybody was going with that wind and against that wind, so we just got used to it. I thought we handled that well,” McElwain said.
The next opportunity for the public to view the 2012 Rams squad will be April 21 at the spring game. The game will kickoff at 1 p.m.
Other post-practice comments from McElwain:
General: ''I tell you, the great thing is in a 2 1/2-hour span being able to see all four seasons, it was outstanding.''
“Our protection was better, probably missed a couple protection checks but, again, encouraged about the work. I was really happy with just the way it all worked out because we were able to get every situation and get the guys working.”
On whether the weather worries him: “I think it was good for our coaching staffs on both sides; your mind set as a play caller, on both sides of the ball are different so I think those are all things that’ll help us as we move towards the next season.”
“We’re pretty vanilla. I’m not going to show our hand, because you know as well as I do there had to be probably somebody from a couple of squads that want to know what we’re doing up there. You can always tell, because they’re the ones with the brand new CSU hats. So obviously we’re not going to show anything in these other than like I said, to find out how guys compete, block, tackle, catch the ball. All those fundamental things.”
On whether he feels he is getting a good read on the QB’s: “Yeah. I feel good about it. The quarterback deal is about decision making and having coached the position for quite a while; that’s the things you’re looking at.”
On instilling confidence into QB’s: “I’ve never been big on that and I’ve been pretty successful with them. Look, we aren’t here to win the game. We are here to make corrections, get better and fundamentally learn how to play the game.”
On Weston Richburg: “We’re feeling pretty good about that. If this would have been a game he would have played.”
On progress at this point: “The team that’s here right now, I like their demeanor. I’d like to see a little more leadership on offense, I’m not sure we’ve found that yet. I really like their thought process, I like the way they’re approaching the game a little bit. They need to understand the importance of studying the game outside of the 20-hour rule that we have with them. Great teams, great players take it upon themselves to study when we can’t be with them. That is the next step with this team.”
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