Special teams a focus during Sunday's scrimmage

April 14, 2013

Scrimmage Stats Get Acrobat Reader

By Stuart Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – On Sunday Colorado State completed their second scrimmage of the spring and Head Coach Jim McElwain was much happier with what he saw compared to the Rams first scrimmage.

In the first scrimmage, held on April 6, the rushing attack was limited as they only ran for 94 yards. Sunday was a much-improved day for the running backs as they galloped for 199 yards. Joe Brown led the Rams with 68 yards rushing on eight attempts and had a 29-yard touchdown.

Donnell Alexander and Chris Nwoke both ran for 51 yards. Alexander was the only other running back to score and he went up and over his offensive line on a 4th-and-goal. 

“I thought we ran the ball effectively today,” McElwain said. “Some of the new things we’re working on, I really felt the offense had a really good grasp of it.”

Weather was a big factor on Sunday afternoon as winds were gusting up to 40 miles per hour. McElwain welcomed the strong winds as they worked a lot on special team situations.

“We’re working on a lot of things in our special teams and to get it in weather like this, where you have to be secure in how you’re handling the ball and situations, I thought it was really good from that standpoint,” McElwain said.

The wind was troublesome at times for the punters as Hayden Hunt had punts of 25 and 37 yards. However, the wind died down briefly and Hunt blasted a punt 70 yards.

Jared Roberts, or ‘Kicker’ as McElwain calls him, also had a strong performance Sunday connecting on his lone field goal attempt during the scrimmage and three point after attempts. At the end, during individual work, Roberts connected on a 52-yard field goal.

The wind didn’t create any problems for the quarterbacks as they combined to complete 26 of their 43 passes (60.5%). Garrett Grayson, who worked with the first-team offense, led the team throwing for 115 yards on 10-of-16 passing.

“All three quarterbacks handled it really well and I thought they did a good job,” McElwain said.

The Rams now enter their final week of spring ball. The team will have two practices before next Saturday’s Green and Gold Spring Game. The second-year coach understands the importance of the final week and knows the team has to continue to improve but he has already noticed improvement compared to last year.

“We’re much farther ahead and as I see these guys interact, and the bounce they had in their step this morning, it showed me they were mentally ready to go. I’m not sure a year ago I could say that,” McElwain said.

Play of the Day: Sophomore Joe Hansley pulled in a touchdown catch that caused the sideline to erupt, including players on defense. Conner Smith threw a bullet to a well-covered Hansley who hauled in the pass with one hand. The sophomore wide receiver didn’t need his body to help him with the catch either. 

Defensive playmaker: Linebacker Aaron Davis and defensive back Nick Januska each had 10 tackles but it was linebacker Max Morgan who stole the show on Sunday. Morgan opened the scrimmage by intercepting a tipped pass and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown. In the end Morgan finished with nine tackles and a tackle-for-loss.