Cougars Look for Success on the Road

The Cougars look to rebound on the road this week against an improving Colorado State team. The Rams will bring a solid and challenging defensive system along with some potent weapons on offense that the Cougars will have to be ready for. The good news is that after a good week of practice, the team feels it will be ready for whatever comes its way.

"We're practicing well," said quarterback Max Hall. "Guys are focused, we have a good game plan, and I feel we'll be ready come Saturday."

Head coach Bronco Mendenhall has tweaked the practice schedule somewhat this week in preparation for Colorado State.

"We just limited our groups down especially in the pass skeli against each other," said Mendenhall. "I've been training three groups and getting some young guys some work. We really don't have time for it and the execution of the 1s and the 2s still needs to improve, especially defensively, so we've increased that work."

Another continued change within the program has been the use of four down linemen in place of the standard three inherent with the 3-4 system. Mendenhall stated that they've used four down linemen primarily to stop the run and will continue to work with the formation and may use it to defend the pass as well.

Colorado State also uses a good mix of four and three down linemen during the course of a game, which the offense has been prepping for all week.

"I think they do a good job of rotating their defensive line in and out and their linebackers," said Hall regarding the Rams' tendencies on defense. "Sometimes they'll be three-down and sometimes they'll be four-down, and I think it's easy to see and easy for our line to recognize, and they'll pick it up."

Hall and the offense don't see Colorado State's rotating of fronts as necessarily being situational.

"I just think it's to get guys rest, from what I can tell," said Hall. "They do it to give guys different looks, so they may do it for situations, but I haven't really picked up on it."

What Hall does expect is for Colorado State to do much of what other defenses have done recently by giving him a lot of different looks. But according to Hall it won't be a problem, as the offense feels it's had everything thrown at it so far this year.

"Teams usually have three or four coverages at the most that they like to run," explained Hall. "But they do switch it up early in the game and they rarely roll a bunch of stuff at you after that, so it's easy to just make adjustments and realize what they're doing."

Simulating Sperry

One of the more potent weapons for the Colorado State offense this year is Kory Sperry, a 6-foot-6-inch, 250-pound tight end that can cause all sorts of problems for an opposing defense. This week during practice coaches have taken a player on the scout team that closely resembles Sperry's stature and banged him up pretty good.

"Yeah, I've been banged up a lot this week, probably more than I usually do," said tight end Braden Brown, who himself measures in at about 6 feet 6 inches and 250 pounds. "Their tight end is very good and I'm doing my best to do what he does this week, and hopefully I've done a good job."

Indeed, Brown has been fashioned with a yellow jersey designated for key players on an opposing offense. While a lot of his time running on the scout team this year has been spent blocking and occasionally going out to run patterns, Brown has found himself much more involved with the scout team passing game this week.

"It's been really fun this week, to be honest with you," said Brown. "You always love to be involved and have balls thrown your way, so I love it. Hopefully I've done a good job, as it's our goal to give the defense the best looks that we can in preparing them for the next game."

Tafuna Questionable

Starting strong safety David Tafuna left practice early Wednesday with what is believed to be a dislocated shoulder according to head coach Bronco Mendenhall. Tafuna's status is questionable for this week's game. Andrew Rich will assume Tafuna's starting spot if he can't go on Saturday.

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