Aug 212005
Authors: Nick Piburn

If there is to be one leader of the CSU defense, it is senior safety Ben Stratton. In Friday's morning practice Stratton fell to the ground after twisting his knee in a non-contact play. Stratton had a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test Friday to reveal the seriousness of his injury.

Stratton has been a figurehead for the Rams' defense the past two years. He is a three-year starter, playing cornerback in 2002 and 2003, a year in which he was honorable mention all-Mountain West Conference. He was moved to safety last year and was second on the team in tackles with 88.

The Rams' secondary looked very solid coming into the year. Senior safeties Miles Kochevar and Stratton, and junior cornerbacks Robert Herbert and Brandon Cathy, have all started games in past seasons. The other three are still healthy, but with Stratton out there is a depth problem at safety. There is much concern considering that the player who started for Stratton in Saturday's scrimmage, Travis Garcia, went out early with a lower leg injury. He has also been hampered by a hamstring injury through camp.

"Ben's been the leader of our defense, he's a real vocal leader, hopefully he will be back soon," Garcia said. "I don't think this injury is a big deal, I'll be ready to go."

With the lack of depth at safety, secondary coach Jesse Ward has to figure out who will fill the open spots.

"If Ben doesn't go then Travis will go," Ward said. "Klint (Kubiak) and Mike (Pagnotta) both had great scrimmages today, they will also be able to go."

The severity of Stratton's injury should be known today.

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