Andy Clements’ number is being called on earlier than he expected.
The freshman linebacker from Chatfield High School redshirted last year and has spent the majority of this season playing on special teams, but come Saturday against Air Force, he will be one of the players to replace injured starter Michael Kawulok at the outside linebacker position.
“I expected to play a little on special teams,” Clements said. “I was trying to focus on that first before I played on the outside (linebacker) because special teams is a big deal for the younger guys to step up and start making plays.”
Clements made his season debut at outside linebacker against San Diego State, recording half a sack and a forced fumble.
“I have to step up at the outside linebacker position. When guys get hurt, other guys got to start stepping up and holding each other accountable,” Clements said.
Defensive coordinator Larry Kerr said it would be a challenge for the new defensive players, including Clements and fellow linebacker Davis Burl, to adapt quickly to the defensive scheme and prepare for an Air Force team, which runs the option.
“It’s going to be challenging, but we’ve been able to keep some guys practicing and getting their reps, and that’s the key, to know what you’re doing,” Kerr said. “We’ve got a few new guys getting some reps.”
Clements is up for the challenge.
“I’m going to try and do my job as best I can and help my team out. My number is being called, so I’ve got to step up and help out the team,” Clements said.
Scout.com named senior offensive tackle Cole Pemberton to its third team midseason All-American offensive unit.
Pemberton is one of only three Mountain West Conference players named to the offensive teams.
“Oh wow, that’s cool,” Pemberton said in reaction to his selection. “I’ve got to keep working to get better.”
The three-year starter said his game has improved steadily over the years.
“You can see it. I’ve improved in my technique and mental standpoint and finishing plays,” Pemberton said.
At 6-foot-7, 318 pounds, Pemberton has aspirations of playing in the NFL when his collegiate career at CSU is over.
“I’d like to try, and I’ll have to keep working to improve,” the senior said. “I’m not as worried about that right now as I am about getting a win and stopping this losing streak.”
Football beat reporter Stephen Meyers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.