A week ago, Steve Fairchild wasn’t sure the CSU Rams were ready to put on a true scrimmage for the annual spring game on April 18. A week later and with a successful practice scrimmage under his belt, Fairchild is gaining more confidence in the football team, but still has doubts.
The Rams took to the fields Tuesday afternoon for their first practice of the week, working with the sounds of the softball team playing in the distance.
After a more than two-hour work out, Fairchild reaffirmed that his team still had work to do before being able to simulate an actual game for Rams fans Saturday morning.
“We’re going to do a lot of move-the-ball type stuff that will appear like a game, but we’ll do a lot of situational stuff also because our third down defense and red zone offense are a concern,” the former NFL offensive coordinator said. “The more work we can get in those areas the better off we will be.”
CSU pulled off an effective scrimmage last Friday, which increased Fairchild’s faith in his players, but not enough to run a full-blown game.
“The things I saw Friday give you hope, but there is still a real issue with our consistency,” he said. “We flash to the type of team we can be and then we are awful for a couple of snaps. That’s why I still want to go with more of a practice format.”
Quarterback transfer Jon Eastman has little doubt that the Rams could pull off a scrimmage if that decision is made. The junior said that just playing a real game would cause players to step up their performance.
“A scrimmage gets you up and gets you excited,” Eastman said. “I think that probably the thing we need is just to have people get out there, play and get excited. Whatever coach thinks we need to do at the time is what we’ll do, but I feel confident we are ready to scrimmage.”
Safety Elijah-Blu Smith agreed with his possible future quarterback, adding that the Rams have a lot better chance of playing a game this season compared to spring 2008.
“Coaches really made an emphasis on depth this spring, and I think we have the guys, energy and depth to do it this year and not just have a practice,” he said. “It’s all up to them in the long run, whatever they choose to do.”
Eastman Goes Solo
Starting quarterback candidate Grant Stucker sat out the majority of Tuesday’s practice with a bruise. Fairchild explained didn’t want to risk further injury to the senior.
“He got a little bruise so we held him out a day,” Fairchild said, pointing to his right ribcage. “I think he could have gone.”
In Stucker’s place, Jon Eastman took almost every rep during the practice, providing the most action he has seen all spring.
Eastman, who is battling with Stucker for a spot in the starting lineup, said it was good to have the extra playing time.
“Not speaking of the competition necessarily, but speaking as a player it helps,” he said. “The more reps I can get the more it’s going to help.”
Fairchild liked some of what Eastman showed during practice, but kept everything in perspective.
“It was good for him, but he still has a long, long way to go,” he said.
Football beat reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.