Bye week no break for Rams

Junior LB Shaquil Barrett leads the team in tackles at the break with 50, including 3.5 sacks.

Junior LB Shaquil Barrett leads the team in tackles at the break with 50, including 3.5 sacks.

Oct. 16, 2012

FORT COLLINS-–Colorado State’s football team won’t have a game this week.

That doesn’t mean Coach Jim McElwain, his staff, and players won’t be hard at work.

“We have a good chance this week with the bye to work on ourselves,” McElwain said.  “We will give some guys an opportunity in some different situations this week in practice.”

McElwain said the Rams would practice on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, with players having the weekend off before returning to the normal schedule next week.

“We are able to try to get our guys healthy,” McElwain said of the bye week. “We have to make sure some of our younger guys step up and play. The practices will be more like spring ball practices. The main issue (for the players) is, ‘What can I do to become a better player? What can I invest.’ We’re going to find out. That’s part of changing a culture. It will be a good test for a lot of guys in our program.”

The Rams will return to action Saturday, Oct. 27 against Hawaii in the annual “Orange Out” game.  CSU will wear orange jersey tops in the game, a tribute to the school’s heritage when the official colors were pumpkin and alfalfa more than 50 years ago.  Likewise, fans will be encouraged to wear orange for the 5 p.m. game at Hughes Stadium.

While players will be back on the field for three workouts, McElwain’s staff has been busy on the recruiting trail.

Following last week’s game at San Diego State, much of his staff stayed behind in California to recruit, then return to Fort Collins.  McElwain said it gives his staff a chance to evaluate prospective student-athletes for CSU’s future teams.

When the Rams return to the field, one of the questions will be the team’s quarterback situation.  M.J. McPeek, the starter in the past two games, was injured in the first half of the game at SDSU, and returned for one play before departing.  McPeek had replaced Garrett Grayson, who started the first five games of the season but left the contest at Air Force on Sept. 29 with a left shoulder injury. He underwent surgery Oct. 1.

Redshirt freshman Conner Smith replaced McPeek and played the rest of Saturday’s game. McElwain said the team would begin this week with Smith as the starter, and will take a "wait-and-see" approach with McPeek's availability.

“For his first time out there, he did some good things,” McElwain said of Smith.  “He’ll learn from this.”

McElwain added that Grayson has been able to work on throwing the ball and has "attacked" his recovery process throughout this setback.

"He has actually thrown in drills and some routes on air," McElwain said. "But we need to protect him. It's his left, non-throwing, shoulder, but in the game of football you will take hits, so we need to be very conscious of that."

Tickets for the Orange Out game are available at CSURAMS.com, or by calling 1-800-491-RAMS.

Fans can also follow the Rams anytime, anywhere via social media and CSURAMS.com.  For Facebook, log in to your account, search for CSU Rams – Colorado State University Athletics, and click “like” to join more than 8,000 fans already interacting with CSU Athletics.

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