Dec. 10, 2013
*Press conference quotes at bottom of story
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - On Tuesday morning the Mountain West announced its all-conference selections and five Rams earned first-team honors. Seniors Shaquil Barrett (LB), Crockett Gillmore (TE) and Weston Richburg (OL); junior Jared Roberts (K) and sophomore Kapri Bibbs (RB) were all named to the Mountain West's first team.
Senior defensive back Shaq Bell and junior offensive lineman Ty Sambrailo earned second-team recognition while juniors Max Morgan (LB) and Kivon Cartwright (TE) received honorable mention.
"It speaks volumes about the commitment of this team that so many of our players were recognized," said Head Coach Jim McElwain. "These are individual honors, but they do not happen without the performance of the team and the people around them. It's nice to see them bring such positive recognition to Colorado State University."
For Richburg it was the third All-Mountain West honor in a row and his first time earning first-team status after an honorable mention nod in 2012 and second-team in 2011. Richburg, who has graded above 90-percent in all 13 games while recording 45 knockdown blocks, is the 18th Ram to earn three or more all-conference honors. The senior from Bushland, Texas, has started in a CSU-record 49 consecutive games.
Barrett, who also was named Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year, earned first-team all-conference for the first time after leading the conference in tackles for loss with a conference-record 20.5, including 12 sacks. The senior linebacker recorded 74 tackles, three blocked kicks and three forced fumbles.
Gillmore earned all-conference honors after hauling in 43 receptions for 533 yards. The 533 yards are the fourth-most in a single season by a CSU tight end and it is a figure that ranks as the ninth-most nationally among NCAA FBS tight ends. His blocking has also dramatically improved, helping the Rams rush for 202.7 yards per game.
Roberts, who now has earned two All-Mountain West nods in his two collegiate years in Fort Collins, became the first Rams kicker to be named a Lou Groza Award semifinalist since Jeff Babcock in 2003. The native of Littleton, Colo., has connected on 16-of-20 field goals this season and has made two kicks of 50-plus yards, including a career-long 54-yarder vs. Air Force on Nov. 30. Roberts is the first CSU kicker to earn back-to-back all-conference honors.
Bibbs has been turning heads all season while playing in all 13 games but only starting six. The sophomore running back has re-written CSU's single-season record book rushing for 1,572 yards, the most by a CSU sophomore and second-most in a single season, and 28 touchdowns, a single-season record. The last Rams running back to earn first-team all-conference honors was Gartrell Johnson III in 2008. Johnson III also led CSU to the New Mexico Bowl.
The five first-team selections are the most for the Rams since 2003 when CSU had six first-team honorees. Those 2003 Rams were WR David Anderson, OL Eric Pears, DL Bryan Save, QB Bradlee Van Pelt, and Dexter Wynn who earned honors both for his play a defensive back and kick returner.
The awards are determined by vote of the league's coaches and media who cover Mountain West teams.
PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
Jared Roberts, first-team All-Mountain West
“I think it’s a credit to the season that the team had they recognized me.”
“It is surprising because there are so many great kickers in our conference. Kickers have a tight bond, we all keep up with each other and see how everybody’s doing. There’s a lot of good competition and it’s an honor to be recognized.”
“Having (long-snapper) Tanner (Hedstrom) and (holder) Joe (Hansley) is huge. I know I say it all the time, but until you have a kicker who doesn’t have a good snapper and holder…you see it a lot of time in games. People aren’t really looking for it, but you see even on PATs a low snap or a bobbled hold, which messes with your timing and rhythm, so having those guys not mess up all year is huge for my confidence and for us as a unit.”
(on whether team is shifting its focus from enjoying the announcement to preparing)
“We had that 24 hours of enjoyment, and now guys are starting to get in the film room, starting to watch Washington State. They’re a great team. We’re happy to be going to a bowl but we also want to win a bowl. All the preparation these next two weeks is to go get that win in New Mexico.”
Shaq Bell, second-team All-Mountain West
“It’s real satisfying, just to know that hard work pays off. Through it all I never lost confidence. I never stopped believing in myself or our secondary. It’s a blessing.”
(on playing a team that passes the majority of the time)
“I’m really excited about it. It gives our secondary a chance to prove ourselves. They have some good receivers and a good quarterback; it’s just another chance to compete. They like to throw quick passes and get in a rhythm from what I’ve seen so far.”
Ty Sambrailo, left tackle, Second-team All-Mountain West
“It’s really just all reps, that’s what football is all about, just getting looks and getting reps in to be comfortable with what you’re doing so it become second nature. We weren’t close to that last year. We’ve just had time to develop in this new system.”
(on what the o-line will be like next year graduating 4/5 linemen and a tight end)
“I’m not really worried about it. We have a lot of people working hard coming up behind (us). It’s one of those situations where we’ve developed enough mentally to know when it’s your time to step up, you’re going to step up and make it happen.
(on the improvements seen in practice)
“We’re going to have some growing pains in the spring, obviously, but once we get gelling, it will be good because I think most other positions we have coming back pretty strong.”
(on excitement to play Washington State)
“I think it’s big that we’re playing a Pac-12 team. That’s a great conference and we want to prove that we can play with the “big dogs.” That’s big for us to show the nation what we’re doing here at Colorado State.”
(on whether he thinks there is pressure on the CSU offense to keep up with the WSU offense)
“We go into every game looking to score every time we touch the ball so that doesn’t really change much for us. We just have to be more opportunistic. I don’t think we’re going to have any issues, I think we’re pretty solid around, so we should be all right doing what we do.”
(on how important it was to keep opposing offenses off the field late in the season)
“That’s big. As an offense, we don’t necessarily worry about what the other side of the ball is doing and make sure that we can control what we can control and go score when we need to score. We know that the other side of the ball and the special teams are going to take care (of their business). It’s that trust that they’re (the defense and special teams) going to do what it takes to win and we’re going to do what it takes to win.
(on players being rested with the added time between games)
“I personally feel pretty good and that when we practiced this weekend, my legs were feeling pretty fresh and quick. I think that kind of goes around the team and that everyone is feeling a bit better than they were towards the end of game 13 which is a pretty long season. We’re feeling pretty good.”
(on how important Kapri Bibbs’ emergence was to the offense)
“I think once you have a running game like that, it allows you to open up your pass game and throw some play-action stuff in there, which is always nice for us because we get to tee off on guys and see the ball fly over our heads, hopefully for a big gain. Having that run game like it’s been opens up a lot of other things for our offense to do.
(on whether or not there was a specific game or play he remembers that made him realize Kapri Bibbs’ ability)
“Everyone that has been playing behind us has been pretty solid. We have a good core running back group. Everyone that has been playing has stepped up and has been doing pretty well. For Kapri, the biggest game he had for me was against Nevada. He cut behind a tight end ran into him, and stopped completely. Then he bounced for 60 yards or something like that. That was huge because it was nothing at the time and he turned it into a huge game and a home run.”
(on how much Donnell Alexander has helped with the development of Bibbs)
“Like I said, we have a strong group of backs and Donnell is one of them. He unfortunately had to deal with some injuries but he’s also a great player and he finds holes and makes it happen to. It’s easy to take the load off of one player and defer it somewhere else if something happens.”
(on how much a bowl game will help the team moving forward)
“I think the biggest thing it does is mentally in the offseason. When fall camp comes around and obviously it’s football time you get your mind right. But when it’s the middle of winter and you’re doing conditioning you sometimes have to ask yourself “Why am I killing myself right now?” But then you look back at the bowl game and think “Yeah, we went to a bowl game. We’re going to do big things this season.” It’s motivation throughout the offseason.”
(on how important a bowl game was in college choice)
“For me, it was seeing a team that’s doing well and winning. A bowl game has a lot to do with that, you know something’s going on so that was big for me.”
(on being the only college game on TV for the first half and getting out to a fast start)
“That’s big. Just as a kid growing up, you watch all of these games when you’re home around Christmas time and it’s cool to think that we’re going to be playing in front of everybody on national television, doing big things. We need to start fast and make a statement right off the bat.”
(on teachers being nice about finals)
“No, we have to move them up but they’re still pretty challenging.”
(on the challenges of balancing football and finals)
“It’s not that big of a deal, we deal with tests and papers all year long so it’s not too much to handle.”
Weston Richburg, center, First-team All-Mountain West
(on the impressive offensive numbers put up this season)
“It’s really rewarding to look back and see the progress we’ve made. I’m really excited to see the continued improvement on what we’ve done this year and next year. It’s really cool to look back and see, especially since last year, the improvement we’ve made in just one year. It’s very rewarding.”
(on looking forward to Washington State and beginning to watch film/gameplan)
“It’s been pretty limited right now because all of our coaches are out recruiting. The film’s up on our film database and some guys have watched a little bit, just kind of familiarizing ourselves with personnel right now. I think later this week we’ll start getting into a scheme and what we want to do against them game plan-wise.”
(on what stands out about the Washington State defense)
“They’ve got some size. Big guys up front. They like to change up their fronts so they’re not always playing the same look, so that’ll have to something we game plan against to be able to adjust our calls according to where they line up. They have big guys, they have playmakers, they have a safety who’s a really good player. Like Ty said, it’s the Pac-12, we’re really excited to be able to play a team like that in a conference like that.
(on whether WSU Jim Thorpe award finalist Deon Bucannon stands out on tape)
“To be honest, when I watch film, I just look at the guys up front. So far no, but I’ve heard from our strength coaches who have already seen some stuff and from some of our other guys that he is a very good player and is somebody we’re going to have to account for.”
(on being familiar with Mike Leach who formerly coached Texas Tech which is 2 hrs away from Bushland)
“I’m a big Mike Leach fan. I think he’s one of the brilliant minds, offensively, in football and I really enjoyed watching him [coach] during my childhood in Texas. I went to several of their games at Texas Tech and he did some good things with them. I think it’s really cool to be able to play against him in a bowl game.”
(on how many Mike Leach coached Texas Tech games he saw)
“I saw for sure probably two in person and they’re only two hours away so they’re on TV all the time so [I] watched them all the time. They put up big time offensive numbers and beat Texas in 2008 which was a big time game and that was a big season for them so it was a lot of fun to see him do that.”
(on how Mike Leach is a brilliant mind)
“He’s kind of unorthodox. He goes against the grain in the way he approaches things. I like looking through his interviews and his postgame speeches to his team because it’s kind of unorthodox like I said and it’s a different way to approach things. He’s been very successful doing that and I think he’s going to do some good things at Washington State too.”
(on practicing with all the coaches out on recruiting trips)
“Right now it’s being run by our strength coach. We lift, run, and do a little one-on-one stuff for us. It’s to knock the rust off, if there is any. There’s not going to be much rust, it’s just to keep us in practice mode and, like I said, we’ll get into practice and game plan later on this week.”
(on how important Kapri Bibbs’ emergence was to the offense)
“It’s nice to have a person that can make big plays like that. I think that’s something we’ve kind of been lacking in the past here at Colorado State is that big play capability. We’ve been able to sustain drives and that’s good when you need to, but at the same time it’s nice to have someone that can hit home runs every once in a while.”
(on how important having a good running game is)
“I think once you have a running game like that, it allows you to open up your pass game and throw some play-action stuff in there, which is always nice for us because we get to tee off on guys and see the ball fly over our heads, hopefully for a big gain. Having that run game like it’s been opens up a lot of other things for our offense to do.”
(on how important a bowl game was in college choice)
“When I was being recruited, they (CSU) were in the New Mexico Bowl that year so that was definitely a big thing for me in choosing to come here.”
(on making First-team All-Mountain with fellow Bushland, TX native Crockett Gillmore)
“We take a lot of pride in where we’re from and what football means to Bushland, TX. Everybody on our team knows where Bushland, TX is now because of the way we do things and, like I said, we take pride in how we play and how we work. You’ll find a whole bunch of kids back in Bushland who were raised the same way. It’s really special.”
(on whether there’s any incentive to show Mike Leach what he missed)
“I don’t know, I just want to meet the guy. I’m excited about that. I think that would be kind of a cool deal.”
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