Steve Fairchild is not a man who gives many complements to his quarterback.
In fact, the second-year CSU head coach has been mostly critical of his gunslinger throughout the pre and early seasons. But Fairchild changed his tune this week and elicited a smile from Grant Stucker in the process.
Fairchild said he is pleased with how Stucker, CSU’s starting quarterback, has played for the Rams so far, calling the senior “as big of a surprise as there has been this season.”
“I’m not sure that he hasn’t outplayed everybody that he has played against this season,” Fairchild, a former CSU quarterback himself, said. “I don’t want to anoint him anything special because he is a new starter, and he is going to struggle at times, and we know that. But boy, he has certainly played well.”
In his first five games as a starter, Stucker has been impressive, throwing for 1,245 yards and 10 touchdowns with only six interceptions. The Ponderosa High School graduate has shown particular growth the past two weeks throwing for 669 yards and six touchdowns.
Stucker joked that he won’t plan on Fairchild going any easier on him just because he’s had a few good games.
“I don’t expect his coaching out on the field to change at all,” he said, smiling. “He’s still going to be hard on you and try to make you as good as you can possibly be. I don’t believe I have reached that potential yet. Once I get there, maybe he will change how he is out here, but I don’t expect that to happen.”
Stucker wasn’t named the Rams official starter until a week before the first game of the year, spending most of the preseason battling backup Jon Eastman for the No. 1 spot.
Fairchild said he purposefully tried to rattle his quarterbacks during this time and that Stucker earned the starting spot when he finally started listening.
“About halfway through two-a-days he just quit talking and stuck to the coaching,” Fairchild said. “The good ones have that . real businesslike approach.”
Although Stucker is pleased with how he is playing, he said he knows there is still a lot to accomplish before he can be considered a good quarterback. The fifth year Ram said he is up for the challenge, though.
“I know I have the concrete fact that I can play at this level, but now, at the same time, I want more than that,” Stucker said. “I want a 10 win season and go to a bowl game while leading a great football team. That hasn’t happened yet, and I’m still in the process of doing that. I’ll get back to you at the end of the year.”
Student tickets are sold out
All student tickets for Saturday’s homecoming game against Utah are sold out. Students who have not got their tickets can purchase them for $40 at the McGraw Center box office or online at http://csurams.com.
Assistant Sports Editor Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at email@example.com.