Rams kick off first of 15 spring practices
March 26, 2013
by Stuart Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Tuesday marked the first day of spring ball under second-year head coach Jim McElwain.
The Rams took to the practice fields south of Moby Arena with the snow plowed to the sides of the turf field and an area for offensive and defensive lines to use the sleds.
McElwain was impressed with how the team looked coming out of his Ram U program, an offseason program based on weight lifting and conditioning.
“I saw some guys that understood how to practice,” McElwain said. “I told them that we are so far ahead, even from the end of last year. I’m really excited. I’m really excited about these guys. They attacked the winter program and conditioning the way we wanted them to and you can tell it has paid dividends.”
The second-year coach is always quick to point out that he doesn’t like to name a certain player ‘the anointed one’ but he did speak highly of the wide receiver corps.
“I saw both (Jordon) Vaden and Austin Gray do a couple things out there,” McElwain said. “That kind of got me excited but seeing the recall of a Charles Lovett and a Joe Hansley, it put a smile on my face.”
Gray, who has been a permanent fixture in the secondary for Colorado State’s defense, made the switch to wide receiver during the offseason, the position he played in high school. On Tuesday Gray looked like he has played wide receiver for his entire college career as his hands were a magnet for the ball.
Another part of practice that the coaching staff liked was the tempo. McElwain said that not only was the tempo quicker than last year but the players were competing harder against each other than in the past.
“They were a lot quicker and I didn’t see a whole bunch of ‘brother-in-law’ going on out there,” McElwain said. “They were trying to make each other better and trying to compete. The thing we need to understand is every single day, try to compete to make yourself better, but in-turn that’s going to make the guy across from you better. Really that is what it’s all about.”
The Rams will be back on the practice field south of Moby Arena Wednesday for their second of 15 spring practices.
Position changes: Several players have made the switch from offense to defense, where the Rams lost five starters due to graduation.
Redshirt freshman Justin Hansen switched from the offensive line to defensive line, freshman Brett Jordan who was initially recruited as a tight end will get reps on the d-line during spring and redshirt freshman Johnny Schupp will also move from tight end to defensive line.
Two players switched from the defensive unit to the offensive side of the ball. Redshirt freshman Chase Cochran switched from defensive back to tight end and Austin Gray, who has started 15 consecutive games at safety, will move to wide receiver.
Ladies Night with Ram Football: Colorado State will be holding their annual Ladies Night for women who want to learn more about football and the Rams on April 3. The event, which allows registered members a chance to watch practice from 5:30-6:30 p.m., is $25 for Ram Club members and $35 for non-members. A clinic will follow practice from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
The registration fee includes a Colorado State hat, food and beverages. Participants can register here or by calling (877) 498-7787.
Number changes: Cornerback C.J. Glenn will change from 22 to 20, defensive lineman George Maumau from 61 to 54, wide receiver, and Fort Collins native, Richard Pixley from 88 to 15 and defensive lineman Johnny Schupp from 80 to 98.
Former Rams: Former kicker Jason Smith, who helps out with the Colorado State track and field program, Marquise Law, wide receiver from 2008-12, and former quarterbacks coach Darren Wilkinson stopped by practice on Tuesday.
Class comes first: Shaquil Barrett and Donnell Alexander were late to practice on Tuesday because of class. From here on out, practice will be held on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday’s where conflicts with class don’t exist.