CoogFans' Opponent Preview - Colorado State

Former coach Sonny Lubick did a great job during his long tenure at Colorado State, but it was time for a change. Enter former Colorado State Rams, St. Louis Rams and Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild.

Colorado State Rams
Mountain West Conference

2007 Record: (3-9, 2-8)
2007 Bowl: none
Coach: Steve Fairchild (1st year at Colorado State, 0-0 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Greg Peterson
Defensive Coordinator: Larry Kerr

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Gartrell Johnson, RB, 957 yards
Passing: Billy Farris, QB, 91 yards
Receiving: Dion Morton, WR, 183 yards
Tackles: Jeff Horinek, LB, 94
Sacks: Tommie Hill, DE, 5.5
Interceptions: Jake Galusha, S, 1; Mike Pagnotta, S, 1

Other Key Returnees: RB Kyle Bell, LB Ricky Brewer, S Jake Galusha, TE Chris Kawulok, OT Adrian Martinez, FB Zac Pauga, OT Cole Pemberton, LB Jake Pottorff, G Shelley Smith, C Tim Walter

Key Losses: G Nick Allotta, S Zac Bryson, QB Caleb Hanie, WR Damon Morton, DE Jesse Nading, WR Luke Roberts, CB Joey Rucks, DT Erik Sandie, DT Blake Smith, WR Johnny Walker, CB Darryl Williams

Former coach Sonny Lubick did a great job during his long tenure at Colorado State, but it was time for a change. Enter former Colorado State Rams, St. Louis Rams and Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild. The new coach will have to break in a new quarterback with the graduated of Caleb Hanie. Billy Farris has the most experience, which is not much, but Grant Stucker and Nick Neuenfeldt certainly have a chance to earn the starting role.

Strengths:
Luckily, Colorado State returns running backs Gartrell Johnson, Kyle Bell and Michael Myers. Those three seniors will help take the pressure off of the new quarterback. Johnson rushed for 957 yards last year, Bell rushed for 1,288 yards in 2005 and Myers has a lot of experience for a third back. If Bell can return to his 2005 form before he suffered a knee injury, he and Johnson will be a great combination of running backs. And with Coach Fairchild's physical style of offense, having four linemen back and a dynamic running game will be critical. On the defensive side of the ball, the linebackers are the most experienced unit. Ricky Brewer, Jeff Horinek and Jake Pottorff might not instill too much fear into the opposition, but they will be asked to lead a relatively inexperienced defense.

Weaknesses:
The rush defense was pretty bad last year and the team lost Jesse Nading, Erik Sandie and Blake Smith from the line. Those three tallied 7.5 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss during their senior campaign. The pass rush was not great and the defense was not very good, but now the Rams will have to start over with a new group. The returning linebackers will help the situation, but finding somebody who can get some pressure on the quarterback will make the defense drastically better. And that is because cornerbacks Joey Rucks and Darryl Williams are gone and the new corners will need some help from the front line if the Rams defense want to be better than eighth in the conference.

The Bottom Line: Nothing rejuvenates a program like a new head coach, but CSU will need some time to rebuild. The new quarterback needs to find some new targets after Damon Morton and Johnny Walker graduated…the offense cannot depend on the running game forever. If the defense can manage to stop the run, the Rams can begin improving right away and look towards bigger things in the next few years.

2007 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 166.67 (44th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 212.17 (69, 6)
Total Offense: 378.83 (71, 4)
Scoring Offense: 25.33 (75, 5)
Rushing Defense: 207.25 (107, 8)
Pass Defense: 207.92 (29, 4)
Total Defense: 415.17 (80, 8)
Scoring Defense: 30.75 (85, 8)
Turnover Margin: .00 (55, 5)
Sacks: 1.92 (68, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 3.08 (105, 9)


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