Fourteen days without a game can be a long time, especially in the third week of the season, but the CSU football team is going to make the most of the time given to them.
Head coach Steve Fairchild said the bye week is coming at a good time for the team.
“If you had a veteran team, later on in the season would be good,” the first-year head coach said. “The benefit there is that you get to heal up a little bit more. We have a lot of young guys playing, so a bye is not a bad thing right now because it gives us a few more practices before the next game.”
Tight end Kory Sperry disagreed, explaining that he would prefer his break to come later in the year or when the team needed to regroup.
“I’d rather have it later on in the season when it’s colder, ’cause we’re out in the heat right now,” the senior said. “After a loss we might not have minded the bye week, but after a win, even though it was an ugly win, we just want to keep that momentum going.”
The team enters its bye week after earning its first win of the season, a 23-20 last-second victory against Sacramento State on Sept. 6.
Fairchild has few worries about keeping his team focused during the two weeks between games and plans to make the most of his time.
“We laid out the plan and told them exactly what we expected,” he said. “I think we are focused pretty well.”
So far, Fairchild has used his time to fix problems he has seen in the Rams’ first two games, including redzone and third down performance.
“We are getting work done in areas; we need to tighten up some of our schemes. It’s positive if you approach it right, and I think we did.”
Linebacker Ricky Brewer said the biggest advantage of having an early bye week is seeing the team’s next opponent, the Houston Cougars, play an extra game.
“It’s always a good deal to see your opponent play the week before you play them,” the Rams leading tackler said. “We’ll get to see three of their games and they only get two of ours so that will give us a little bit of an advantage. It gives us a little more prep time for sure.”
Houston is scheduled to take on Air Force this Saturday and many of the Rams, including Sperry and Brewer, are planning on watching the game on TV. Sperry isn’t sure whether having the week off will help when it comes time to play Houston.
“Hopefully they get a little tired, and we have two weeks to get ready for them,” he said. “It might be an advantage or a disadvantage. No matter what it will be a good game.”
Football beat writer Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.