Aug. 18, 2014
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - On Monday night the Rams conducted a mock game, which `kicked off' at 7 p.m. to mimic the start time of the season opener against in-state rival Colorado.
Colorado State's 79-play scrimmage was its second of Fall Camp, and again Head Coach Jim McElwain had a lot to be pleased about.
"We really tried to work on moving the ball, and playing the game as it is in the first quarter," McElwain said. "I thought the guys handled it well. We really worked third down and coming out. And you know, go get a first down. That's the key. The offense did a good job of that, and I think the defense stopped a few as well."
The coaching staff saw a number of explosive plays from the offense. Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Jordon Vaden led the team with 76 receiving yards on five receptions. Freshman wide receiver Deionte Gaines had a team-high six receptions for 64 yards.
"The receivers did really well," McElwain said. "Elroy Masters Jr. (three receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown) kind of came to life today. That was great to see. Deionte Gaines made a couple explosive plays, and Xavier (Williams) kind of showed what he can do. I felt good about all that."
Monday's scrimmage seemed to have a heavy focus on passing, with four quarterbacks combining to pass 60 times. Senior Garrett Grayson led the Rams with 188 yards on 19-of-25 passing and two touchdowns. Another freshman to standout was Coleman Key. The native of Broken Arrow, Okla., led the Rams completing 86-percent of his passes (10-for-12) for 138 yards and two touchdowns. In total the quarterbacks were 44-of-60 for 502 yards and four touchdowns.
For the second consecutive scrimmage, newcomers Dee Hart and Treyous Jarrells had impressive performances. On Monday, both running backs had averages greater than six yards. Additionally, Jasen Oden Jr. saw a bigger load, running the ball five times for 15 yards.
"We actually played J.O. (Jasen Oden Jr.) a lot more tonight," McElwain said. "I don't know if his numbers were great, but a lot of that is because we put him in in those short-yardage situations. He's still doing great in the passing protection and we love to see that. We wanted to see Trey (Treyous Jarrells), who's kind of had a little (hamstring) so we were kind of protecting that, but he was full go today. I think he ended up having more carries, and we really wanted to see that tonight."
Defensively, freshman defensive back Shun Johnson led the unit with six tackles (4 solo). Bryan Ohene-Gyeni, Josh Watson and Johnny Schupp all recorded sacks on Monday night.
Freshman defensive lineman Josh Lovingood, who played in three games for the Rams in 2013 before getting injured and earning a medical hardship, registered one solo stop but was a nuisance in the backfield all evening.
"(Josh) Lovingood is back," McElwain said. "He'll be a starter. He started for us as a freshman out in Alabama and got hurt and was able to redshirt, but he's a guy who's going to take a lot of reps and a lot of snaps."
Through two scrimmages the third-year coach is beyond excited about the possibilities of his 2014 team.
"This football team is going to be something this town will be proud of," McElwain said. "These guys know what it means to do what's right. They show that on the practice field, and they understand that in their work habits. There are a lot of good things that are happening. I really like these guys. I like being around them."
The Rams are back on the practice field Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 p.m., only 10 days until the Rocky Mountain Showdown.
Fall Camp Notebook
Switching sides: Sophomore Danny Nwosu, who was a linebacker in 2013, has switched to tight end during fall.
"We moved Daniel Nwosu over to tight end a couple weeks ago when we knew Kivon would be slow for a while. I think he's come a long ways," McElwain said.
During Monday's scrimmage, Nwosu caught one pass for seven yards.
Held out: Senior cornerback Bernard Blake was held out of Monday's scrimmage because of a "little swelling." The Rams coaching staff used this as an opportunity to get a look at some younger players.
"We held Bernard (Blake) just because of that little swelling he had, and we wanted to get a look at a couple other guys. I'm really happy with our safety play, really happy," McElwain said.
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