April 19, 2014
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FORT COLLINS, Colo. - The Rams took the field for the final time this spring in their annual Green and Gold Spring Game held in front of 3,100 fans.
"It was a good culmination to a really good spring," Head Coach Jim McElwain said. "I thought we got a lot done as a team. I think we found some identities at some different spots and yet we all kind of worked together to get better. As I tell them, it's phases: This is just another end to a phase but it's the beginning of the most important phase, which is that push through summer--finishing up finals then push through summer, getting into two-a-days so we can get ready to go win some ball games."
The Gold team - which was made up of the defense - defeated the Green squad - featuring the offense - in the game, 45-40.
The game appeared to be in the balance as Green led 40-36 with under a minute to play and the ball on Gold's one-yard line, but junior defensive lineman Terry Jackson made the play of the day. Jackson not only prevented a touchdown but stripped the ball before Martavius Foster dove on the loose ball. With the modified scoring system, this gave the Gold team six points and the lead.
Senior quarterback Garrett Grayson led the Rams with 170 yards passing on 16-of-24 completions, while redshirt freshman Nick Stevens threw for 148 yards.
Running back Jasen Oden scored the lone touchdown of the scrimmage on the opening drive of the day. The first-team offense methodically worked down the field before Oden punched it in from three yards out. Oden finished Saturday with 84 rushing yards on 16 attempts, and even caught three passes for 36 yards.
"I thought he did some really good things," McElwain said. "Like I said, he's a guy we knew could play the position when we recruited him. He's a versatile guy who had the ability to play on defense, played as a true freshman. I think it speaks for his unselfish nature to go over there and help us out at the position."
Two drives later, just as the Gold team was gaining momentum and putting together stops, Grayson led the Rams down the field and set up a short, 22-yard field goal by senior kicker Jared Roberts.
The first-team defense, which was playing without starting linebackers Aaron Davis, Cory James and Max Morgan, found big plays from players that did not see significant playing time in 2013. Redshirt freshman Kiel Robinson, a linebacker from San Marcos, Calif., tallied a team-high seven solo stops. Junior linebacker Kevin Davis, who was limited last year after a knee injury in 2012, led the Gold squad with eight total tackles. Redshirt freshman Justin Sweet, a standout this spring in the secondary, picked off a Craig Leonard pass late in the contest, pulling the defense within four points, 40-36.
Younger players stepping up will be a common feature of the Rams' defense in 2014. McElwain said after Saturday's spring game that fans can expect to see some good competition in the secondary this season.
"We brought those guys in to compete and play, and they're going to," McElwain said. "We've got some guys coming in who are going to push those guys, so that competition will be constant as we get into it. Especially in this league, with those teams that throw it. You've got to be able to defend the pass."
More Quotes from McElwain
(on Kevin Pierre-Louis)
"KPL, sounds like he's going to be OK. They put him in a boot. He's sore, he got rolled up on. (It was) a scare, and rightfully so. Those are big guys in there. But the doc feels pretty good about it. Sounded like it was an ankle thing. He's sore and they're going to get it re-examined on Monday and then we'll kind of know more moving forward."
(on throwing to Jasen Oden out of backfield)
"I was kind of excited (smiling), because those are what's called check-downs, which means you're not throwing it downfield where guys are covered. I guess the good thing is quarterbacks are going through their reads and know where it's supposed to go. He made a couple of explosive plays. We knew he had good ball skills and that's just another weapon that you have coming out of the backfield."
(on INTs by Garrett Grayson)
"I thought this was the first day in all of spring where--there were a couple now that might have been a miscommunication on one of them, and where it occurred shouldn't occur. When you get down in there you can't take points off the board. But at the same time, I think we've got ourselves a pretty good player at quarterback."
(on Grayson's development)
"As the season wore on, he just grew more comfortable with each game. His command of our different tempos--and we didn't really run any of them today--but his command of that is really, really good, and understanding that to be successful at that position you've got to know when to hold them and when to fold them, and you've also got to understand that you've got to take what the defense gives you, and eventually they'll give you the game. He's learned that and I think that speaks to the check-down point that you talked about, that sometimes those guys know (options) 1 and 2, but where's 3. I think that speaks for his understanding of conceptually what we're trying to do."
(on the offense line)
"We graduated a lot of guys, obviously, who played a lot of downs, but it's not that I didn't feel that we had some guys behind them, and I think that that showed. The biggest thing now over the summer is how the unit comes together and really communicates and pushed forward. Obviously with (Ty) Sambrailo coming back that will really help us gain some more depth and then when we get Jordan (Finley) back that should help too because he was on his way to be a starter."
(on Jake Bennett and Fred Zerblis competing at center)
"We'll probably work those guys back and forth throughout the year but we'll solidify it after the first week."
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