Aug. 16, 2011
By Nick Frank
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - After an afternoon lightning storm pushed the Rams into their Indoor Practice Facility, the defense brought the thunder during two live periods.
The defense looked great in coverage, with a lot of credit going to the persistent pass rush that left the quarterbacks scrambling out of the pocket. Leading that charge were defensive ends Broderick Sargent and C.J. James.
After practice, Head Coach Steve Fairchild commended the defense for its second consecutive day of dominating the offense. The green shirts won the day by a score of 27-21, bringing the week total to 50-36, in favor of the defense.
In the 23-play live periods, only one run, a 6-yard dash by Chris Nwoke, went for more than 5 yards. On the last play of the competition, freshman safety Trent Matthews popped the ball loose from Thomas Coffman and teammate Aaron Davis picked it up. The play received praise from defensive coordinator Larry Kerr, who has made forcing turnovers a point of emphasis for his team.
Davis also impressed during a one-on-one tackling drill. With both sides of the ball cheering on their respective representative, Davis smothered his offensive counterpart, driving him back nearly five yards. Davis was congratulated by Fairchild, Kerr and Bernard Clark. Shaquil Barrett also made an impressive tackle during the drill.
Settling in: Crockett Gillmore seems to get more and more comfortable every day at the tight end position. He made several catches across the middle of the field and seems to be problematic for the defense.
Still got it: During a team drill, wide receiver Lou Greenwood, a former running back, took a handoff and dazzled his way through defenders. Greenwood added a mixture of spin moves and shifty jukes to keep defenders' hands off.
Ram Club Scrimmage: The third annual Ram Club Scrimmage is Saturday at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium. The event, open only to active members of the Ram Club, should feature the best intra-squad competition of the preseason, just two weeks before the season opener.
In fact, Fairchild has scripted the day's schedule as a dress rehearsal for that regular-season kickoff, with a 4 p.m. start and corresponding pregame routine to match the 4 p.m. kickoff at New Mexico, Sept. 3.
Leading up to the 4 p.m. scrimmage, while the team is at the stadium preparing for the competition, Ram Club members are invited to tour the team's on-campus facilities, including an exclusive tour of the Joey Porter Locker Room and Indoor Practice Facility. The day and tours begins at the McGraw Athletic Center at noon. Fairchild will address the group on the west concourse of the stadium an hour before the scrimmage. Last season, the group got to tour the Rams' stadium locker room.
Ram Club memberships, which fund student-athlete scholarships at CSU, are available for as little as $100 per year. Staff will be available to register new members at the stadium that afternoon. Interested fans can call 970/491-4666 or visit this link.
Special teams: Senior Ben DeLine, who with 16 more points will move into CSU's top-10 for all-time career scoring, missed on two field goals at the end of practice from 40 and 45 yards out. Chad VanderMolen connected on both his attempts from the same distance. The defense insisted on yelling and calling timeouts to simulate a game situation. However, prior to the move indoors, DeLine hit a 47-yard field goal on the practice field.
Other live period notes: Pete Thomas went 2-of-3 for 10 yards...Ezra Thompson had an athletic pass breakup...Nuku Latu recorded a tackle for loss...Garrett Greyson went 2-of-2 for 14 yards.
New name, same game: The Rocky Mountain Showdown will consist of the same two teams playing on the same field as they did in 2010. However, the stadium will have a new name. Formerly Invesco Field at Mile High, the stadium has been renamed Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
More Fairchild quotes...
On injury updates:
"With (Ross) Heath, (Mason) Hathaway, with (Jared) Biard, we'll know here in the next few days. Hathaway is an ankle."
On developing an identity in August:
"During camp, this time of year, before school starts, you're just getting a read on your team. We're going to sit down over the weekend before we start school and decide, `Alright, this is what we are.'"
On whether the fullback position will play a major role in that identity:
"No doubt, because we had Zac (Pauga) there for a while and now we don't have a guy that can do all that, like Zac did."
On what's different this year about WR Marquise Law:
"Just confidence and effort. He's still got a long ways to go, but if he can continue to make strides, I think he can help us."
"I'm happy with them, but it's like Pete Thomas last year; it's almost like asking an impossible thing. They're a long way away from knowing our offense, but they are going to play."
On whether this is the final week for hard personnel evaluations:
"Yeah, when we start going again Tuesday (after a day off Monday when classes begin), it won't be completely against each other. There will be some New Mexico stuff. And then when we start going again Tuesday, we'll probably only rep 60-some odd guys that we think are going to make that trip."
On whether the team is aware of the coaches' plans:
"Oh, yeah. We've got to find some things out. We've made it clear to some people."
On whether he expects those players to respond during Saturday's Ram Club Scrimmage:
"I hope it'll show up between now and Saturday."
On whether having to move practice into the Indoor Facility limited what CSU could accomplish Tuesday:
"A little bit special-teams wise. It always does. Less room to spread out. A little tighter during your individual period. But in years past, we had to go sit in Moby and wait 20 minutes."
On the recent rash of injuries:
"Well, we went through 10 days of relatively injury-free; there were a couple guys. But I've been doing this long enough to know there's no pattern to it. This is the time, though, as you finish up the two-a-day part, your 14th practice, that guys start to wear down. So, the obligation in the training room (treatment) and that sort of stuff start to become more important."
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