We spent ours contemplating what could be done to right the ship of the CSU Rams. At 1-4, all IS lost for this season. There will be no Bowl game, no conference championship. The season is effectively over - except for one thing. There are what amounts to six practice games left. Six important building blocks for next year, and the chance to climb back into the Mountain West title chase in 2005. It all starts now.
With that 'big picture' thinking in mind, here are some of the things that Head Coach Sonny Lubick needs to do in this season's final six games:
First, forget the scoreboard. The results mean nothing the rest of this season. 1-10 doesn't matter, as long as some key young players get valuable playing experience. That means pulling all the redshirts that still remain - even if there aren't many freshman that haven't seen action yet. Let Gartrell Johnson run the ball. Kyle Bell too.
As far as that goes, keep this in mind: Regardless of the score, run the damn football. At all costs, CSU must find some way to rediscover the running game that left Fort Collins with Cecil Sapp. For whatever the reason, the Rams have not been able to run the ball at all this season, and aside from Bradlee Van Pelt, did not run the thing last year, either. Colorado State will not not return to prominence until they get their ground game back.
Find out if the current defensive coaching staff can get this done in the long run. CSU has not been the same on defense since Larry Kerr left for UCLA. We have been told that the Rams have gotten excellent recruiting classes the past two years. It has not shown itself on the defensive side. We have been told that nothing much has changed as far as schemes, etc from Kerr's units, but something has not clicked for DC Steve Stanard. The Rams great teams were led by great defensive units, and that has not been the case the last two seasons.
And what about recruiting? Did we misread the quality of the recruits we've raved about the past couple of seasons? Is it fair to ask if the apparent de-emphasis of in-state recruits has had a negative effect? The local kids may not have quite the talent that some of the Californians possess, but they have always taken great pride in representing their home state. Maybe Lubick and his staff should take a little longer look at some more of the Colorado kids, taking state pride into consideration.
As proud Ram backers, we all owe the program our support through these tough times. Support does not mean we bury our heads and just say 'everything will be fine.' Constructive criticism should be allowed and even encouraged. Never know who will come up with a great idea that turns this thing around.