Lubick Happy With Newcomers Workouts

The first two workouts by 31 newcomers to Colorado State University's football program confirmed what coach Sonny Lubick figured last winter: The Rams' newest class of student-athletes is, in Lubick's estimation, it's most talented in his nine previous seasons as head coach.

Lubick put the first-year Rams through a pair of 90-minute workouts stressing fundamentals, drill work, and the initial stages of the team's offensive and defensive schemes Saturday.

"This is a talented group, like I had hoped. They reported in great shape, which is always a good sign," said Lubick following the workouts. "I like the talent level of this group. It seems like a very good class, but time will tell."

Lubick thinks that a few of the first-year players could wind up seeing significant playing time for the Rams in 2002, most notably at wide receiver, running back, or in the secondary.

"I think that one or two of the wide receivers could move up (the depth chart). One of the three new running backs should get some time, and some of the new players could help in the secondary. Sometimes, when freshmen come in, they are in a position where there is plenty of depth, and there's not really a chance for them to play. This year, we feel like we have three solid freshmen receivers who could play. It also depends on the injury situation. Some young guys might be forced into playing."

He said David Anderson, Julien Petit, and Joey Flores, all freshmen wide receivers, have the potential to play in their first year in the program. The veteran mentor also said the group of walk-ons also has been impressive, including the play of defensive back Benny Mastropaolo from Fullerton City College who joined the program as a junior college transfer.

"I think that nowdays, with squad limitations, some players get left out during the recruiting process. One of the strengths of our football program has been the ability to get a couple of key walkons every year. He said four players - kicker Jeff Babcock, offensive lineman Jamie Amicarella, defensive back Jason Hepp and linebacker Jeff Flora – all are former walkons who received scholarships last spring. All four will figure to battle for starting spots in 2002.

Lubick also said that Wyatt Wilken, a six-foot, two-inch, 270-pound freshman defensive lineman from Thunder Ridge High in Highlands Ranch, Colo., will report late. Wilken suffered a knee injury that required minor surgical repair and will report at a later date as he continues to rehabilitate the injury.

The entire squad joins together Wednesday morning, July 31, at Hughes Stadium for Media Day activities including interviews and photo sessions with local and regional media members. The following day the Rams begin the first of three days of two-a-day workouts in shorts and helmets, before putting on full gear for the first time Sunday.

Colorado State plans two-a-day workouts through Aug. 16 in preparation for the team's season opener Aug. 22 at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in the Jim Thorpe Assn. Classic.

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