"He's got the strongest arm that has ever been here," offensive coordinator Dan Hammerschmidt said.
Senior Justin Holland will be expected to use that arm to anchor CSU's offense and point the football program in a winning direction.
After a disappointing 2004 finish of 4-7, Holland feels his leadership is something the scoring attack will rely on.
"I think my leadership role has been established," Holland said. "People know what I can do and I have confidence in my team."
One major hit the Rams' offense took after last season was the loss of H-back Joel Dressen , who is currently competing for a spot on the New York Jets roster. He will be replaced by sophomore Kory Sperry . Another gap to fill at tackle is the void left by four-year starter and current Denver Bronco, Erik Pears . Seniors Mike Brisiel and Albert Bimper will be expected to fill Pears' leadership role.
CSU returns 10 starters to an offense that ranked 58th in the nation last year out of 119 Division I-A teams.
The Rams were picked to finish fifth in the 2005 Mountain West Conference Preseason Poll. It appears that the attitude on the team is positive and the players are looking forward to a good season.
"We've really bonded this year, which I think is a little different than in years past" said senior wide out David Anderson. "We're willing to prove ourselves. I think it's going to be a challenge for us, but you know, we were a young team last year and now we have a lot of guys coming back."
Anderson led the team in receiving last season with 57 catches for 940 yards. He is often considered one of the top players on the team as well as in the conference. He was voted as second team all-MWC in 2004.
Another target for Holland will be the 6-foot-6-inch, 233-pound Sperry . Last season he showed flashes of brilliance with 15 catches for 225 yards. Other returning receivers who will be looking to make an impact include Johnny Walker , Damon Morton and Dustin Osborn .
A one running back set is common on Sonny Lubick-coached teams. Last year proved to be too difficult for that because of inconsistencies at the position. As a result, the rushing offense was ranked at 97th in the nation.
This season they are loaded.
"We have five guys that are ready to play," said sophomore running back Kyle Bell . "It really pushes you and because of this we've all come a long way."
Senior Jimmy Green is the projected starter at running back. He rushed for 436 yards in eight games last year with his highlighted game against Wyoming in which he ran for 124 yards. Bell saw limited action last season but will be in a position to impact the running game this year.
Highly touted UCLA transfer Nnamdi Ohaeri will get playing time as well. Ohaeri is trying to make the transition from the cornerback position he played at UCLA.
"Me and Jimmy are the big guys," Bell said. "But Nnamdi is very quick. We all bring things to the table."
That will be the key to success this season; everyone must contribute.
"We can improve everywhere," Holland said. "We have to in order to get back to the top of the league."