Being located so close to the Rockies one would assume the Colorado State Rams would be a perennial powerhouse in the Mountain West Conference. Alas, this has not been so the last few seasons but athletic director intends to end the bowl-game drought with the insertion of the offensive coordinator from last year’s national champion as the head coach. Thus begins the Jim McElwain era, one in which there is already quite some excitement, as is evident by simply taking the pulse off those arriving at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium with Colorado State Rams tickets to watch their beloved football team at least defeat the rival Colorado University in the Rocky Mountain Showdown in 2012.
Consensus has the fans concerned with offensive line. Despite the coaching change, they lost a starting quarterback due to a transfer. Now Garrett Grayson is ready to start. Grayson is coming into his sophomore season some experience and plenty of time in the weight room. If he is able to stay afoot, then he should have plenty of chances to cultivate confidence with Crockett Gilmore being ranked among the best receiving tight ends in the nation and Lou Greenwood providing a proven deep threat.
Grayson is already convinced this football team has made dramatic improvements after his summer working out and practicing in 7-on-7s. If the offensive line has indeed made the jump, then running back Chris Nwoke, who ranked third running in conference in yards despite playing behind a lackluster line, will take almost all the pressure off the sophomore play caller.
McElwain arrived not as concerned about the offense mentioned above as the defense. He must build a cohesive unit around two linebackers. James Skelton and Shaquil Barrett took their lumps and delivered quite a few last season. If defensive lineman C.J. James improves upon his 8 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and 5 sacks, then McElwain should be able to hold a lead. Obviously, this also relies on the secondary and the rest of the line, but a good middle of the field defense and a lineman able to get the quarterback and hit the runner behind the line are great building blocks. This will not be nearly as frustrating a season as in 2011, with a little more experience and perhaps a few freshman ready to step up the CSU Rams football tickets will not be wasted on a wasted second half of the season.