Trying to make a stand

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Sep 162004
 
Authors: Jon Pilsner

The numbers don’t lie. CSU isn’t stopping the run.

After giving up an average of 288 yards on the ground, the CSU

defense is going to get an even bigger test this week against No.

22 Minnesota, a team that knows how to run the football.

After trying to stop the dynamic USC running back duo of LenDale

White and Reggie Bush, CSU will have no easier time facing

Minnesota running backs Marion Barber III and Laurence Maroney, who

both have gained over 1,000 yards last year. This year Minnesota

has averaged 359 yards per game on the ground in its first two

games.

“We don’t make any bones about it, we like to run,” said Glen

Mason, Minnesota head coach. “You don’t stop the run, we’ll keep

running it.”

Defensive coordinator and linebacker coach Steve Stanard said

that the stats against the CSU defense were not a good measure of

how good the defense really was.

“If you look at the numbers, we shut down CU in the second

half,” Stanard said. “And we gave up (all those yards) to the No. 1

team in the nation. They’re No. 1 for a reason.”

Stanard said the team needed to tackle better, and said that

Minnesota would be a challenge to the defense.

“They’re going to run downhill at you and you got to tackle

them,” Stanard said. “You gotta stop their running game. That’s

what they do, that’s their focus.”

Senior linebacker Courtney Jones agreed.

“We just got to attack the play better, we know our plays,”

Jones said. “We’re hesitant a lot of times. We’re depending too

much on going downfield.”

Stanard said, while the defensive line was young, he was pleased

with the play of both redshirt freshmen Blake Smith and Jesse

Nading.

“Smith is doing a nice job, but consistency is the concern; it’s

the biggest thing for a young player,” Stanard said. “But we’re

awful pleased with where they are right now.”

Junior safety Miles Kochevar said that the defense is staying

together after two tough losses.

“These next couple of games will show if the defense will come

together,” Kochevar said. “I think we are pulling together as a

team and we’ll show what we’re capable of doing.”

Mason said the numbers don’t give the CSU defense enough

credit.

“Without a doubt they are the best defensive personnel we’ve

faced this year, from watching them on film,” Mason said. “They

could have beat Colorado, they played pretty well for a long period

of time against USC.”

Kochevar said that he didn’t mind playing the hard schedule.

“You wouldn’t want an easier schedule,” Kochevar said. “It pays

off playing tough teams.”

Team Notes:

Junior running back Jimmy Green is listed as probable this week

after recovering from a sprained ankle. However, junior Uldis

Jaunarajs will get his first start of the season after leading all

Rams rushers with 74-yards against USC. Green, expected to see some

playing time, will make his 2004 debut. Tristan Walker, who bruised

his knee against USC, will be available this weekend, but is not

expected to play.

Strong safety Adam Lancisero is expected to play this weekend,

but will not start. He has been hampered by a hamstring injury

since the game against Colorado.

CSU has given out the allotted 10,000 student tickets for this

weekend’s football game, which is almost unheard of according to

Gary Ozzello, CSU’s director of media relations. There are about

2,000 reserved seats still on sale. As of Thursday night, 33,000

people are expected to attend this weekend’s football game, which

would set a new record for an opening day crowd. The old record was

31,607, set in 2002 when the Rams played Louisville.

The Rams have won their last 10 home openers, beating Weber

State 31-7 last year. The last time the Rams lost a home opener was

in 1993, when Oregon beat CSU 23-9.

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