Different coach, different starters and hopefully a different result for the CSU Rams wide receivers.
The Rams are looking to rebound after a disappointing showing from their wide outs last season and are depending on some new faces to help.
In 2009, CSUâ€™s receivers, led by then seniors Dion Morton and Rashaun Greer fell below expectations, averaging just more than 200 yards per game. Now after losing Greer and Morton to graduation, CSU is left with a mix of inexperienced and young receivers to help rejuvenate a stagnant passing game.
Among the anticipated starters sit sophomores Byron Steele and Marquise Law. The duo combined for two catches for 44 yards last season.
Law acknowledged the receiving cores struggles in 2009, but said heâ€™s confident the new crop of CSU receivers can get their end of the passing game back on track. The Miami native added the unit already has a different feel to it.
â€œNow we have a bigger role to play and now we are the guys with high expectations,â€ Law said. â€œWe all encourage each other, make it easy on each other and try and take the pressure off each other. Itâ€™s not that hard.â€
In addition to Law and Steele, the Rams return receiver Tyson Liggett. The senior ranks as CSUâ€™s most experienced receiver after catching 17 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns a season ago.
CSU head coach Steve Fairchild said that junior T.J. Borcky might also see time as a wide out in the upcoming season. Borcky has been given reps at wide receiver during the Rams past two practices after starting the spring at quarterback.
Following suit to a change in players, the Rams receiving core also experienced a change in coaches. Former CSU safety Dan Hammerschmidt rejoined the Rams coaching staff in December, replacing former receivers coach Greg Peterson.
Hammerschmidt admitted he has a challenge ahead of him when it comes to fixing the receiving core and said it will â€œbe a work in progress.â€
â€œThe thing with young guys is every day is a new lesson and a new something comes up,â€ he said. â€œThe more they get out there and the more they practice, the better they are going to be. Theyâ€™ll learn fast and we have enough talent to be good. Itâ€™s just our mental toughness.â€
Even with several different options, Rams head coach Steve Fairchild said he still hasnâ€™t determined who will start at wide receiver.
â€œI donâ€™t know if we have the â€˜go-to guyâ€™ right now,â€ the third year head coach said after practice Tuesday. â€œI think we have some talented kids. I think we are going to be pretty good but nothing is established.â€
Hammerschmidt said he shares in Fairchildâ€™s optimism, but said itâ€™s difficult to look that far ahead.
â€œItâ€™s hard for me to think we are going to be really good right now because itâ€™s a ways off, but if we keep working, we toughen up, we start to make plays, I think weâ€™ll be pretty good,â€ he said.
Assistant Sports Editor Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at email@example.com.