It’s halfway through the week, and the CSU football team appears to be very focused on Saturday’s conference opener against UNLV (3-2).
The Rams (2-2) are trying to bounce back after losing last weekend to California, 42-7.
Other than the preseason injury to kicker Jason Smith, CSU had done a good job staying healthy throughout the nonconference portion of the schedule, but the injury bug has bitten the Rams this week.
For the second consecutive day, sophomore linebacker Ricky Brewer has sat out with an ankle injury.
Head coach Steve Fairchild says that Brewer not participating in practice is a precautionary matter more than anything else.
“Ricky I would anticipate playing; we have him in a boot as a precautionary. I have to talk to Larry (Kerr) about what Ricky is going to do tomorrow, but I think he is a go for Saturday,” said Fairchild.
Also injured is junior offensive guard Adrian Martinez, who hurt his knee at the end of Tuesday’s practice. Fairchild says Martinez will be a game time decision on Saturday.
The CSU cornerbacks are very young, and it doesn’t help that freshman Brandon Owens, who started the CU and Sacramento State games, is still struggling with an ankle injury, but in last Saturday’s game at California, true freshman Gerard Thomas certainly stepped up.
Thomas tallied seven tackles and one broken up pass in the game. Fellow corner Nick Oppenneer also played well, recording a break up and four tackles. While Fairchild is pleased with how they played, he doesn’t want that one game to define anything.
“I don’t want the Cal game to define how we are at cornerback,” Fairchild said. “We’re still very inexperienced there and we got to improve every day.”
On Wednesday afternoon, the National Football Foundation announced its semifinalists for the Draddy Trophy, an award given to collegiate football players who excel on the field as well as in the classroom. Among those listed is CSU senior linebacker Jeff Horinek, who holds a 3.91 GPA.
“I’ve always taken school seriously because I didn’t think I’d be playing football forever, by any means,” said Horinek. “My mom is a teacher, and I’ve always wanted to do well in school, but I think I’ve done a little better than I thought I would.”
Other notable semifinalists this year are Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel, Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell and Kansas linebacker Mike Rivera.
Football beat writer Matt Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.