Rams ready to re-start season against SDSU

While no American can escape what happened to our nation last week, when it comes to the consequences to the Colorado State football team, the Rams got off relatively easy. While several teams have had their seasons turned upside down by the fallout from the terrorist attacks in NYC and Washington D.C., the Rams caught a break.

After the tragedy forced postponement of their scheduled game at UNLV on September 14th, the Rams and Rebels were able to quickly re-set the game for Saturday, October 20th, because both teams had a bye that week. That left the team free to prepare for a Homecoming game with MWC rival San Diego State (Saturday, Sept. 22nd, 5pm on ABC-TV).

Even after the UNLV game had been re-scheduled, the mood at practices remained very somber. It was not until Monday and Tuesday practices rolled around that the team seemed to get it's legs back. Wide receiver Pete Rebstock told me on my nightly radio show, that he and his teammates are ready to play football again.

"No way could we have played a football game last weekend," Rebstock told us. "Coach (Sonny Lubick) was all for not playing that game. He told us to go home (over the weekend) and spend time with our families. I watched TV the whole time.

"But now, I'm ready to get back into it. I think we all are. We've been studying (San Diego State) and our scout team has been doing a good job of getting us prepared. We're all anxious to play again."

Rebstock had something of a personal connection to the terrorist attacks. His sister is a flight attendant for United Airlines, and had actually landed at Washington's Dulles Airport just an hour before a doomed jetliner took off from there. She called her brother and left him an early morning message that she was okay.

But neither Pete nor his sister had contact with their father, a pilot for US Air. His scheduled flight out of Baltimore was in the air at the time of the hijackings, and his plane was diverted to Bermuda, where he was "forced" to spend a few extra days.

"It was scary for awhile, but it turned out okay for us," Rebstock said.

Shortly before the tragic events on the east coast brought everything to a halt, Ram coaches had approached back-up quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt and asked him if he was interested in moving to running back, in the wake of the season ending injury to Cecil Sapp. Coupled with the loss of top back-up Rashaan Sanders , the Rams are down to two healthy tailbacks - Henri Childs and Duan Ruff, and Van Pelt, now firmly the number two QB behind starter D. J. Busch, figured to get some playing time in the backfield.

Van Pelt declined the offer, telling his coaches that he still felt like he could help the team more as a quarterback.

Remember, it was his unwillingness to change positions that brought him to Fort Collins in the first place. Van Pelt transferred from Michigan State after coaches there asked him to switch from QB to defensive back.

There's history at work here. Van Pelt's father, former all-pro Brad Van Pelt, told his son that despite a tremendous career as a defensive player in both college and the NFL, allowing the Michigan State coaches to talk him into moving him from QB to defense was "the worst decision I ever made." Like father, like son.

Still, don?t be surprised if Van Pelt is eventually used in a "slash" role like the Pittsburgh Steelers designed for former CU Buff Kordell Stewart. Lubick wants this football player out on the field. And also like his father, expect this sophomore QB to grow up to be a NFL defensive player.

Sanders' injury is not healing as fast as expected, and he's a candidate to red-shirt. He will not play for another three-to-four weeks, and by that point, more than half the season will be gone. Sanders still has a red-shirt year available, and that option is being strongly considered. Also on the QB front, it seems that freshman Justin Holland - still likely to red-shirt - is "getting better every practice...making every throw they ask him to make," according to a CSU staffer, and his development could hasten Van Pelt's decisions down the road.

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