The conclusion to the CSU football team’s summer workouts, a 101-play scrimmage held at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium Saturday morning, left Ram football fans with some good news and some bad news.
The good news is that the offense racked up close to 400 yards and scored eight touchdowns. The bad news is the defense gave up the same.
“That was a horrible day,” said Klint Kubiak, the projected starting safety. “When you’re a defense and you get beat, you have to come back and win the next series. We didn’t do that today.”
In almost 90 minutes of play at Hughes Stadium, for every spectacular play the offense made the defense made an equally frustrating one, committing costly penalties and forcing zero turnovers.
“I don’t know what their deal was today,” said junior quarterback Caleb Hanie. “But they’ve been doing an excellent job all offseason. Sometimes it’s us (offense) who can’t gain a yard on them.”
H-back Kory Sperry caught the first touchdown of the day, a 38-yard strike from Hanie on the first series. Running backs Kyle Bell and Gartrell Johnson both scored touchdowns on the ground, while Hanie threw for two in the air.
One of the most intriguing, emerging stars for the Rams during spring training and summer ball has been receiver Damon Morton, who caught a deep touchdown pass from Hanie and even threw one himself on a trick play.
“Dave (Anderson) threw that ball last year and I was the backup,” said Morton of the play. “It was only fair I got to throw it this year.”
Morton is just one of many talented receivers expected to make an impact this fall. Dustin Osborn and Johnny Walker are both experienced playmakers, while Luke Roberts is a gritty receiver who goes across the middle. George Hill and Damon add plenty of speed to the receiving core.
“I have faith in every one of those guys,” said Hanie about the receiving group. “I know that if we put any one of them out there, they’re going to make plays.”
To the defense’s credit, several key players who are predicted to make an impact this season remained on the sidelines Saturday due to injury.
Senior safety Ben Stratton has returned to practice this summer, but was held out of the scrimmage because of a sore left knee he injured last offseason.
Defensive tackle Matt Rupp (right hamstring) and cornerback Nnamdi Ohaeri (left ankle) also did not participate.
Of all spectators, the least worry about the lack of defense came from the head coach himself.
“I think the defense is walking away with their heads down a little bit after this,” said Sonny Lubick. “They shouldn’t though. They were put in a tough position today.”
Despite an obvious weaker performance, the defense remained spirited from start to finish. When the last drive of the day ended in a sack, they still found reason to celebrate.
“That’s the kind of defense this is,” said Kubiak. “It’s always high-energy, guys flying around, excited to play football.”
The scrimmage was the official conclusion to the Rams’ two-a-day practices. They play their first game Sept. 2 at home, against Weber State.
Staff writer Brett Okamoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Key offensive Players
Caleb Hanie 9-17, 128 yards, 2 TD
Billy Farris 6-12, 45 yards
Kyle Bell 5 rushes, 47 yards, 1 TD
Gartrell Johnson 14 rushes, 51 yards, 1 TD
Luke Roberts 8 rec, 79 yards
Damon Morton 2 rec, 28 yards, 1 TD
Dustin Osborn 1 rec, 25 yards, 1 TD
Kory Sperry 1 rec, 38 yards, 1 TD