“Yeah, thoughts go through people’s minds, but that’s it.”
Those were the words of CSU football coach Sonny Lubick in his weekly press conference last Monday when asked about whether or not he was contemplating retirement. Lubick refused to comment further on his future with the Rams, saying that his current concern was about rest of the season with a team whose “hearts are in the darn thing.”
The big hearts finally proved worthy as the Rams pulled off their first victory in over a season’s worth of games last weekend at the hands of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. With CSU fans in a temporary – and almost false sense – of euphoria until 3:30 p.m. this Saturday, most are still backing Lubick as head coach of the Rams.
“From my standpoint, [Sonny Lubick] certainly brought Ram football to an unprecedented level over the time he has been here,” said silver level Ram Club member Bill Woods. “With the record he’s had at Colorado State, I think the University needs to let him decide when enough is enough.”
Woods, a 1978 CSU graduate with a degree in applied human sciences, is an avid supporter of both Lubick and the program as a whole. He has great faith that CSU’s win over UNLV could springboard the Rams back in the right direction.
“When you’re down and you’ve lost as many games as we did, just the little things can get you restarted. We were off the road and now hopefully this will put us back on it with a tough schedule the rest of the year.”
The desire for Lubick to remain head coach is not only one of the Ram faithful, but also of members of some of CSU’s biggest rivals, including Wyoming Cowboy backup quarterback Chris Stutzriem.
“I think coach Lubick is a great coach-I mean they named the field after him so you know he’s special. He’s a good coach with a good team.” Stutzriem said. “The Rams are good, that’s just the way college football goes sometimes, just look at all the upsets within the conference. CSU got a big win on Saturday and proved their talent. This year hasn’t been great, but he’s a great coach and things will get better for the Rams in the future.”
With the Rams facing an uphill battle the remaining five games of the season, fans can be excited that CSU has finally reestablished the ground game, but this time it’s not Kyle Bell who’s the focal point, it’s Gartrell Johnson III.
Johnson had a career-high 147 yard rushing performance when he was awarded the starting running back position against Air Force and followed that spectacle by setting yet another career-high with 162 yards; the past two games combined are more than Johnson rushed for the entire 2006 season when he filled in for an injured Bell.
The decision to start Johnson over a struggling Bell was more of a veteran coaching decision by Lubick rather than his attempt to “prove a point” by playing John Mosure in the second half during the Rams’ 24-12 loss at Texas Christian.
“We said we’d give Gartrell a shot, he’s worked so hard this entire year,” Lubick said. “I thought when (Gartrell) was in there, and I’m not saying that Kyle didn’t do this, but it seemed like when Gartrell was in there he got some tough yards.”
Experienced moves like this are the reason Lubick is still the king of Fort Collins and will be until he says otherwise.
Sports writer Matt Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.