April 22, 2010
By Stuart Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The rainy weather took the Rams inside on Thursday for their final tuneup before Saturday’s spring game, and the defense again excelled.
The secondary was not holding back any competitive fire as it picked off three passes and batted down another four during the last practice before the spring game. Making big plays were, Ivory Herd (INT), Mike Orakpo (pass breakup), Travis Ford (two pass breakups), Dillon Holliam (INT), and Elijah-Blu Smith (INT).
The offense also had its share of big plays.
The offensive line was opening up big holes for the running backs to pick up 5 yards at a time, and when it came to protecting the quarterback, no defensive linemen got near the backfield, allowing time for big completions over the middle of the field and down the sidelines.
Head Coach Steve Fairchild seemed pleased with how spring ball went this year, calling it “a very productive spring.”
Proving that it was a productive spring, Fairchild has rewarded the team with an intrasquad game, which will take place Saturday at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium.
“I think they’re going to like it,” Fairchild said. “They liked that draft, when we had the seniors draft the other day. The first two years here, we just had so much work to do. It’s similar now, but I felt good enough to let them have a little fun that last hour.”
The Rams will begin practice on Saturday at 10:15 a.m. and at 10:50 a.m. they will have a situational scrimmage followed by a brief intermission. Then the Rams will retake the field and begin the spring game at about 11:50 a.m. Fairchild said there won’t be any kickoffs but the game will last around 50 plays.
The players will have Friday off from practice, but Fairchild suggested they go check out hall of fame coach Bobby Bowden.
“We have Bobby Bowden over here at 5 o’clock (in Moby Arena),” Fairchild said. “We’re going to open that up (to any CSU student, staff or faculty). I just told our team they ought to go. This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. The fact that he’d take his time to come and share with us is a pretty cool thing when you think about it.”
Big plays: At the beginning of practice during a 2-minute drill T.J. Borcky had a 40-yard TD run. Borcky received a couple blocks at the line of scrimmage which sprung him into the secondary, where he juked Orakpo at the 8-yard line, allowing him to trot into the end zone.
Another big play came on a 25-yard connection from Matt Yemm to Tyson Liggett. Yemm, a former quarterback at Fort Collins High School, got the ball on a reverse then planted his feet and fired a pass in the back corner of the end zone. Freshman defensive back Robbie Ford had his back to the ball as it approached Liggett. The ball ricocheted off Ford’s helmet and Liggett tracked it down in a diving effort for the TD.
Carter injured: Raymond Carter extended for a pass in the corner of the end zone halfway through practice, and came up sore. He walked off the field himself and was held out the remainder of practice.
“He had a little ankle,” Fairchild said. “If it’s even close, we’ll hold him out Saturday. He’s proven to me that he’s a very good player, a very explosive player. He’s like all of us; there’s still some things he can improve on, from a technique standpoint. He’s certainly a talented young man. There’s no need to risk anything further.”
Back from injury: Returning to full contact for the first time in nearly two weeks was freshman safety Ezra Thompson, who got his bell rung during a live period after a collision with a wide receiver coming across the middle of the field earlier this month.
First time: Believed to be the first time in program history, the Rams haven’t had a spring practice rescheduled due to weather, thanks to the $13 million Indoor Practice Facility.
Stone Masons: Two of the Rams’ 2010 signees were at practice with their families Thursday, Mason Hathaway and Mason Myers. The players became good friends during their recruiting visits to CSU, and plan to room together in the fall. The families are in town for the spring game, along with several other families.
Selection Thursday: Players were entering their locker room Thursday after practice just as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was announcing Sam Bradford as the No. 1 overall selection in the NFL Draft, taken by the St. Louis Rams. The Colorado State Rams are hoping to have four of their five starting offensive linemen from 2009 in NFL camps this summer. The latest projections show NFL combine players Shelley Smith and Cole Pemberton as mid-late-round choices, and Tim Walter and Adrian Martinez as free-agent signings, but no one knows for sure.
Pemberton, who said his agent is in New York because he also represents top prospects Russell Okung and Jared Odrick, will spend the week with his dad in Highlands Ranch, Colo. Martinez said he will spend the week at his home in California.
During post-practice interviews Fairchild was asked who he would select in the 2010 NFL Draft if he had the No. 1 pick. His response: “One of the offensive linemen from Colorado State. I’m not going to be specific.”
Letter to the editor: Ricky Brewer has written a letter to editor of the Rocky Mountain Collegian, encouraging students to come to Saturday’s spring game. The paper will publish the letter Friday.
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