Oct 052006
Authors: NICK HUBEL The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Some things on the surface just don’t seem to go together. Corned beef and cornerbacks; bread pudding and big play receivers; strong safeties and shepherd’s pie.

But as any good Sherlock Holmes mystery will tell you, surface predictions are not always correct. Wednesday nights at the Stonehouse Grille break these barriers by placing football and traditional Scottish food side-by-side like a kilt and a set of bagpipes.

The Old Town restaurant has played host to the Coors Light Sonny Lubick Show for the last two years, broadcasting the weekly interview with the 12th year head football coach of the CSU Rams right from the second floor of the restaurant.

Spirits were high at Wednesday’s show, as fans came out in droves to celebrate with Head Coach Sonny Lubick after last week’s 35-23 underdog victory over the Fresno State Bulldogs. People cheered and clapped as he made his way through the crowd of more than 75 people, shaking hands and sharing in a series of heartfelt, “Congratulations coach, great win,” with fan after fan.

“It certainly was a nice win for us,” Lubick said. “On paper they were (a better team than us). People look at scores and records and that doesn’t always tell the story.”

As Lubick sat down at the well-lit table with long-time host of the show and play-by-play announcer for the Rams football team Rich Bircumshaw, the conversation turned from last week’s accomplishments to Saturday’s Homecoming game against the Nevada-Las Vegas Runnin’ Rebels.

Despite UNLV having a 1-3 record at this point as well as being 15-point underdogs to the Rams this weekend, Lubick fielded the questions about his expectations coming into the game like a seasoned professional.

“I’m like Lou Holtz,” he said, laughing. “This is the best team we have ever played. They’ve got some weapons there and if they put it together we better be ready to play.”

Bircumshaw then made a call to the head coach of the UNLV team, Mike Sanford, to see how he planned to try and turn their tough start around.

“We have great respect for CSU,” Sanford said. “But we have played four non-conference games and now we’re getting into the Mountain West and this is a whole new opportunity for us, no question.”

After the interview with Sanford, Lubick discussed what has been on many Ram fans’ minds this last week: the injury to Caleb Hanie’s ankle.

“He practiced very well this week and took most of the reps,” Lubick said. “He’s such a competitive young man and so mentally strong he’s not going to let an ankle injury (stop him).”

Despite the injuries of Hanie and other players, Lubick said he is confident about the team’s chances this weekend.

“We’ve got to play as well as we did last week,” he said. “If we can get our team focused and believing we can get ‘er done.”

Fans at the show were far less coy with their predictions. Tim O’Hara, a local photographer and the man whose company is responsible for the “Welcome to Ram Country” billboard on I-25, said the Rams would roll to victory this weekend.

“If we don’t win by 30, I consider it a loss,” he said, raising his beer in a toast and receiving raucous laughter from the group of alumni at the table. The message was clear and was repeated around the room:

“Go Rams!”

Sports writer Nick Hubel can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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