Across the country every season there are only a handful of freshmen who get to see playing time on the football field during their first year on a college campus. At Colorado State, this honored role has been a rarity these past five years, but two Ram running backs are trying to make headway and see the field this upcoming season.
At CSU Football Media Day on Aug. 13, head coach Steve Fairchild addressed members of the press on what to expect during the 2009 season and one thing in particular that stood out was the mention of certain freshmen who could very well see playing time this year rather than redshirting.
“Chris Nwoke and Lou Greenwood are both true freshmen running backs. Chris being from Denver and Lou being from down there in Texas,” Fairchild said, when asked what freshmen would most likely see the field this season. “Both have shown they have some ability and a little more maturity beyond their years. This is an interesting time of camp, too, because the drudgery starts. You know the pads are on all the time, some guys can handle it and some guys taper off sometimes.”
Both Greenwood and Nwoke have had impressive showings during camp thus far. Nwoke, from Highlands Ranch, has the appearance of a “power back,” sitting at 6-foot, 208 pounds, but is impressive outside the tackles with a forty time of 4.5 seconds.
“Lou and I have been working hard, but we have a lot to learn still,” Nwoke said. “We still have to learn the plays better so we can be more constant, fluent, so we don’t have to think every time and just go out there and play where the coaches will trust us.”
Nwoke was the only player in the Rams’ 2009 signing class from Colorado.
Greenwood, from Conroe, Tex., is a versatile running back who was even thought to have the possibility of playing wide receiver during his college career. During his senior year of high school, Greenwood rushed for 734 yards and 12 scores, averaging more than seven yards per carry.
“Playing early is what I’ve been wanting to do ever since I’ve wanted to play college football,” Greenwood said. “It’s like a dream come true. It’s like making that big play in the fourth quarter. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and ready for it.”
Greenwood was ranked as the 44th best running back in the class of 2009 by Rivals.com. There is a chance he could return kicks for the Rams this season as well.
The possibility of both Nwoke and Greenwood receiving playing time at running back as true freshmen raises the concern of a possible logjam at the top of the depth chart as juniors John Mosure and Leonard Mason are the two main candidates battling for the starting job. Senior Alex Square, who returned punts for CSU during the end of the 2008 season, is also trying to see time in the backfield.
“There could be a logjam,” said Greenwood about the talent CSU has at running back. “There is so much depth on this team, I mean so much. The good thing about it is, we have everything on the team available to offer. We have speed, we have big bruisers, we have quickness, hands and everything. It’s going to be tight, but it’s going to be up to who makes plays.”
Sports Editor Matt L. Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.