2012 Colorado State Football Preview:
The Colorado State Rams are coming off of a disappointing 2011 season that saw them put up a 3-9 record and only a 1-9 record in the Mountain West Conference (MWC). That was the last strike for head coach Steve Fairchild, but the campus is finally brimming with optimism in regards to its football program. The Rams made a strong move to sign former offensive coordinator of the National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide Jim McElwain to be their head coach, so fans are expecting the offense to come out on all cylinders during 2012. With a new coaching staff in place, past loyalties are forgotten and every roster spot is up for grabs.
At quarterback, the Rams only have one player who has started a game in sophomore Garrett Grayson, but his speed and strong arm should make him the favorite for the starting job. Last year's major bright spot, running back Chris Nwoke, posted the first 1,000-yard rushing season for the Rams since 2008, so he is expected to be a major factor in McElwain's offense. The receiving corps features small and speedy wideouts, many of which are underclassmen, so Grayson will have to rely on his talented tight end Crockett Gillmore to carry the offense. The Rams also look to be in great shape along the offensive line, with starters Weston Richburg, Jordan Graggert and Joe Capriglio keeping continuity in the unit.
The Rams posted an impressive 26 sacks during 2011, but were not able to stop the run in pressure situations. The team has made an effort to get bigger along the defensive line, with Te'Jay Brown manning the middle and defensive end C.J. James applying pressure from the outside. Shaq Barrett and James Skelton form a formidable linebacking duo on the inside, while the secondary will return three starters, including All-MW selection Momo Thomas. The defense was rarely the problem during 2011, so the Rams are expected to pick up right where they left off this season.
Heading into 2012, Colorado State will open up the season against their archrivals, the University of Colorado. If they can manage a victory in this first week, they have a few soft opponents that can help build momentum for high-profile matchups like Boise State and Fresno State. The Rams' program has seen major changes over the past year, but the program's supporters finally believe they have the right man for the job and the system in place to make some noise in the BCS standings.
COLORADO STATE RAMS INFORMATION:
Location: Fort Collins, Colorado
Stadium: Hughes Stadium
Conference: Mountain West
Rivals: Colorado Buffaloes (Rocky Mountain Showdown), Wyoming Cowboys (Border War), Air Force Falcons (Ram-Falcon Trophy)
Mascot: Cam the Ram
Notable Alumni: David Anderson, Al "Bubba" Baker, Mike Bell, Greg Myers, Cecil Sapp
Notable Bowl Games:
Starting in 1993, the Rams football program began to flourish under the guidance of legendary coach Sonny Lubick. He has led the team through its most successful era since the football program was founded. In total wins, Colorado State is in the top 15 teams in the nation. The Rams have won 6 conference titles and appeared in eight bowls since Lubick took the helm.
The Colorado State Rams play their home football games at Hughes Stadium near the Colorado State University campus in Ft. Collins, Colorado. The playing surface itself is named after Lubick. Hughes Stadium seats a capacity crowd of more than 34,000 and after a renovation in 2004, the stadium includes club seats and luxury suites from which to experience a Rams game in total comfort. Don't miss the next era in Colorado State football. Buy Rams tickets today!
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Colorado State Rams Ticket Information:
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