April 20, 2013
By Craig Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Rams took the field for the last time this spring in their annual Green and Gold Spring Game at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium in front of a crowd estimated to be a little over 3,000 by the Colorado State Athletics Facilities Department.
Plenty of former Rams accepted the invitation to attend the game as well, headlined by former NFL all-pro Joey Porter and current Denver Broncos tight end Joel Dreessen.
“What a beautiful day out there,” said Head Coach Jim McElwain. “It was really a good crowd, and I can’t get over the response from the former players who were here. Moving forward, it’s really important what we do during the offseason. Throughout spring ball, our guys have done a good job of transforming their bodies, and we need to keep that up through Coach (Mike) Kent and all of the strength guys that we have moving forward.”
The Green team—featuring the first-team offense and the second-team defense—defeated the Gold team—second-team offense and first-team defense—in the game, 14-6.
Junior Garrett Grayson led the Green team on offense, completing 16 of his 28 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns, while sophomore Conner Smith paced the Gold offense with 132 yards on 16-of-26 passing and one interception.
“I was really happy with how Conner [Smith] handled some of the situations he had,” McElwain said. “I thought he did some good things.”
Trailing 3-0 early in the second quarter, Grayson marched the Green team 68 yards down the field in 10 plays, capping off the drive with a four-yard touchdown pass to senior running back Chris Nwoke. On the drive, Grayson completed all four of his passes and looked poised in the pocket.
The Gold team responded to open up the second half, moving the ball 24 yards to put Roberts in range for a 40-yard field goal attempt. After Roberts connected on his second field goal of the day, the Gold team drew to within just one point, trailing 7-6.
That was as close as Gold would get as the Green defense buckled down, forcing a couple of key punts and a failed fourth-down conversion late in the game.
Utilizing the short field, the Green team quickly punched it in as Grayson found his favorite wide receiver of the day, Jordon Vaden, on a slant in the middle of the endzone for a seven-yard touchdown. Vaden finished the day with six receptions for 55 yards while Thomas Coffman finished second on the team with three receptions for 37 yards.
Senior wide receiver Chris Robinson was Smith’s favorite target of the day for the Gold team, finishing the game with five receptions for 51 yards and a couple of crucial first down conversions. Freshman wide receiver Robert Ruiz complemented Robinson on the outside with 31 yards on three receptions.
On defense, Shaquil Barrett helped disrupt the Green team’s attack, constantly finding himself in the backfield. Barrett finished the day with a team-high six tackles, including five solo, and three sacks for the Gold squad. Nu’uvali Fa’apito finished the day with eight tackles and a tackle for loss to help the “Green” team’s defense keep the Gold team from finding the end zone.
“I thought Shaq [Barrett] made some plays, Cory [James] is a playmaker, Steven Michel made some plays as well and Danny Nwosu came around the edge well for a young guy,” McElwain said. “We’re a long ways ahead; we have a long ways to go. These are the guys who are getting it, and who understand what it means to be successful and what it takes.”
More Quotes from McElwain
(on general comments)
“What a beautiful day out there. It was really a good crowd, and I can’t get over the response from the former players who were here. With those guys being around, it helps our guys see what it means to be a Ram. With the festivities and the great weather, I just thought it was a super day. As you guys saw, we have things we need to work on. We kept it pretty vanilla; we knew there would probably be nine or 10 guys from Boulder sitting up there, so we weren’t going to show too much, but I’m pleased with what I saw today.”
(on the addition of his 2013 recruiting class this fall)
“Moving forward, as we take steps from here, obviously we’re excited about the new group of guys coming in. I think you saw the needs we have in some areas, and I’m excited that those guys are going to be on campus on the first of June, and for them to step in and help this football team.
(on the next phase)
“It’s really important what we do during the offseason. Throughout spring ball our guys have done a good job of transforming our bodies, and we need to keep that up through Coach (Mike) Kent and all of the strength guys that we have moving forward. We move into the next phase; this was a successful phase, and it’s a great time to be a Ram.”
(on the quarterback battle, and if Garrett Grayson has an edge)
“I don’t know; I like the competition. He might, but I thought Conner (Smith) did some good things. I’m not ready to anoint the guy yet, because there’s another phase we’re moving into, and we have to see how they handle the football team over the summer.”
“We’re going to go through and see exactly what happened. I was really happy with how Conner handled some of the situations he did. I don’t know numbers—there were a couple times I thought he might have thrown them up for grabs, I’ll have to look at the film. This position needs leadership, and I want to see who takes control over the summer.”
(on what he liked from the defense)
“We tried to match it up where likes were going against likes. There might have been some excitement from some of the guys after talking with Joey Porter. I thought Shaq (Barrett) made some plays, Cory’s (Jamies) a playmaker, Steven Michel made some plays, as well, and Danny Nwosu came around the edge well for a young guy.”
(on the matchup between Shaq Bell and Jordan Vaden)
“I thought that was a good lesson for Jordan today. That’s part of the maturation and growing up. There were some big drops, but now it’s about how you deal with it.”
(on the strengths of the running back position)
“They’ll be the first to tell you, but the thing that made them was the offensive line. They had some pretty good ability to make guys miss here and there, though, too. We really need to get some home runs from that position this season, and both (Donnell Alexander and Chris Nwoke) are capable of doing that. They both showed a lot of things I liked. We need Kapri (Bibbs) to step up and have a really good summer from the mental aspect of the game. “
(on the fact that both Alexander and Nwoke have run with the No. 1s this spring)
“That’s a close competition, there’s no doubt about it. This will be a huge summer for a lot of guys.”
(on the depth of the defensive line)
“The main thing that I think we’ll be able to do at the D line is to keep guys fresh.”
(on if he likes where his team is at today compared to one year ago)
“Yes. We’re a long ways ahead of where we were last year, but we still have a long ways to go. As I said, these are guys who are getting it, and who understand what it means to be successful, and what it takes. Having these former Rams here is a big part of that.”
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