Not only did the Rams lose their 11th consecutive game last Saturday to Texas Christian, but they also lost their second starting safety in as many weeks.
Junior strong safety Mike Pagnotta left the game midway through the third quarter with a badly sprained left ankle.
Compounding the injury, free safety and two-year starter Klint Kubiak did not play for the second game in a row due to internal bleeding stemming from a previously undetected stomach ulcer.
An X-ray on Pagnotta’s ankle showed no broken bones, and he said he is hopeful that he will be on the field for this Saturday’s homecoming game against San Diego State University. Kubiak’s bleeding ulcer has been more serious than the team originally thought, and he will need more blood tests this week to determine when he can make it back on the field.
Coach Sonny Lubick said that he doubts whether either players will be able to go this week.
“I think Mike (Pagnotta) is fairly serious. A sprained ankle, my thoughts getting on the bus that night was that he’d be back later in the week, but I don’t know if that’s the case. I don’t know if it isn’t the case, either,” Lubick said. “I think Kubiak will probably have some blood tests (Wednesday) and they’ll get some results back.It might take a week or another two weeks for him to get back to normal.”
The flood of injuries has left the team searching for bodies to fill the empty spots. Tuesday’s practice saw senior Zac Bryson getting work as a strong safety, while senior junior-college transfer Jermaine Walters honed in on the void at free safety.
“Right now we’re down,” Walters said. “We need somebody to come in, step up, and fill that spot. I can do that.”
Bryson, who has seen time in 29 games over his career at CSU, said that the team is deep at safety and will not be hurt by the loss too badly.
“It’s tough, especially when you lose those two guys (Pagnotta and Kubiak),” Bryson said. “I think we have enough experience that there will not be a drop off in play. If it was my first time on the field I think I would feel pressure, but I feel very comfortable back there.”
For Walters, who does not have quite as much experience with 12 appearances and 13 tackles, the opportunity to prove himself overshadows any thoughts of pressure.
“I feel like this is my time to step up. Anyway I can, I’m going to do that,” Walters said. “When my name is called, I’m going to be ready to go any time of the day.”