April 19, 2012
By Stuart Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Rams concluded their final spring practice Thursday morning and now turn their attention to the spring game.
The 2012 spring game is slated to kickoff at 1 p.m. on Saturday and there is more than just bragging rights on the line. The winner of the annual Green & Gold game will be eating better than its losing counterpart.
“The winners get steak and the losers get beans,” said Head Coach Jim McElwain. “We split the whole coaching staff, split all the trainers, and equipment people. Anybody who is trying to sit on the fence, they get beans no matter what.”
Saturday’s game will be treated like a game played in the fall. There will be four 12 minute quarters and most of the plays will be live, with the exception of special teams. McElwain expects high intensity from his players.
“I want them to compete,” McElwain said. “It’s a game. To me, every time they put themselves on film they’re telling a lot about who they are. What we tell them on a daily basis is, ‘be proud of what you put on film.’”
As McElwain wraps up his first spring with the Rams he has found a lot to be proud of, especially in last season’s 1,000-yard rusher.
“I’ve really been proud of Chris (Nwoke) as a leader, McElwain said. “I’ve really been proud of how he approaches every day to be a champion. I really like the way he comes to practice with a mindset to get better. He takes it personal when he doesn’t do exactly what we’re trying to teach, and to me that is the key to a quality person and a good player.”
McElwain was not the only proud coach at the conclusion of practice Thursday. Offensive line coach Derek Frazier, a graduate of Rocky Mountain High School located just over two miles from campus, is happy with what he has seen from his line.
“Every day we are getting better,” Frazier said. “Every day we are working and they are a hard working bunch of guys. They’re coachable, give great effort and that’s what you got to keep doing.”
The Rams will have their last opportunity to impress the fans on Saturday as the spring game is free to the public. Parking lots will open for tailgating at 10 a.m. and Ram Town will begin an hour later at 11 a.m.
Other comments from McElwain:
On Davis Burl: “He has really done a nice job. He’s going to be a valuable addition to this defense.”
“He is a guy that can actually run. One of the things that we are obviously lacking on both sides of the ball is explosive players. He kind of fits that bill a little bit.”
On the transition of switching defense: “I think more so just because of the body types. I think it fit who we had. We had an abundance of linebacker types and not an abundance of defensive line types. I don’t get caught up in the 3-4, 4-3 (defense formations).”
Other comments from Frazier:
On his offensive line: “The effort they are giving and how they are approaching every day to come and work, it is a testament to them. Every day we are getting better. We are seeing progress.”
On protection problems: “Right now we’re working through everything, whether it’s lingo, whether it’s processing information. So it is a process to make sure we get to the point of having things occur naturally.”
On depth: “Those guys are getting good reps right now and that is how you get better. You get reps, you see it. If something happens, you make a mistake, you get to do it again and you understand what happened. That is how you get better.”
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