Aug. 7, 2011
By Nick Frank
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – With only a mere 27 days until the Rams open their season in Albuquerque, Head Coach Steve Fairchild liked the intensity he saw at practice on Sunday and stressed the importance of maintaining that attitude throughout fall camp.
The Rams took the field Sunday morning to a medley of music that ranged from Lynyrd Skynyrd to MC Hammer, the playlist of wide receivers coach Dan Hammerschmidt. Unfortunately for Hammerschmidt, the defense, not the offense, seemed to step up to his music.
The defense was jumpstarted by back-to-back pass breakups from Elijah-Blu Smith and Mike Orakpo during an 11-on-11 drill early in practice. From that point on, the defensive side of the ball never looked back, establishing the intensity that it would uphold throughout practice.
At one point, the entire team gathered around a drill that pitted an offensive player whose goal was to pass block against a defensive player whose focus was to get to the quarterback. Many positions were included in the drill, including offensive and defensive linemen, linebackers, tight ends and running backs. The first matchup was easily won for the defense by All-America candidate Mychal Sisson.
Sisson’s performance was followed by linebacker James Skelton beating out Raymond Carter, which turned into a fight between the two players before being broken up by coaches. Near the end of the drill, brothers Austin and Crockett Gillmore were scheduled to go against each other. As the offense and defense cheered on their respective Gillmore brother, the ball was snapped. In the blink of an eye, the smaller but wiser Austin made a quick move that landed him right next to the quarterback.
During 7-on-7 drills, freshman Kevin Pierre-Louis showed impressive closing speed on receivers, knocking out a few balls that were about to be caught. The defense got especially stingy when the drill moved into the red zone. The offense had a hard time finding open receivers and when passes were attempted, they were often batted down by a defensive player.
Offensively, Pete Thomas connected with Marquise Law on several passes that showcased both players’ abilities. Thomas also found Thomas Coffman for a pass in the middle of the field, where the sophomore wide receiver tipped the ball to himself and made a diving catch.
Monday, the offense will get the chance to bounce back as the Rams will be in full pads for the first time this fall. Practice will be at 7:45 a.m.
Rookie night: As players jogged off the practice field Sunday, there was a group of nervous freshmen being briefed about Sunday night’s team activities. Restoring an age-old tradition, director of football operations Tom Ehlers informed all the new freshmen that they would have to perform an individual talent to the rest of the team during a meeting that night.
Jack of all trades: Senior T.J. Borcky has flipped from quarterback to wide receiver and back to quarterback in his time at CSU. It is time to add another few positions to his impressive list. Borcky has recently found himself being a backup long snapper and lining up as a fullback. He also made several impressive catches Sunday as a slot wide receiver. Borcky will be ready to fill in at a handful of positions if need be.
Lean and mean: Scott Carter was listed as 286 pounds prior to the 2010 season. The former offensive lineman moved to fullback during spring ball this year and vowed to lose weight for the position. During spring ball, he came in leaner and showed potential at the position. The former offensive lineman appears to have dropped more weight since spring ball and is more agile and toned than ever before. Carter weighed in at 259 pounds in late June, prior to the start of summer workouts.
Cruise gone: Walk-on defensive back Nathan Cruise has left the team.
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