On just his sixth carry of the game, CSU senior running back Derek Good reached the end zone of Hughes Stadium for the first time on a seven-yard run.
He finished the Green and Gold spring game with 75 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown.
The stadium wasn’t full and the game didn’t count for a thing, but for Good, the play meant something more.
It showed he could play running back at a Division-I school. A guy that came from obscurity was suddenly in the spotlight.
Good came to the Rams from nearby Berthoud High School as an unheralded walk-on. He asked to play special teams where he proved to be a hard worker with unquestionable effort.
That fire and determination resulted in a scholarship being awarded to Good.
“I love this game so much,” Good said. “I’m going out there trying to prove a point, prove that I need to be out on that field playing.”
Good made a name for himself last season as a kick returner averaging 25.8 yards per kickoff, seventh all-time at CSU, and set a Mountain West Conference record with 263 return yards in a single game against the Air Force Academy.
This spring, a new opportunity came for Good as the third-string running back who has caught the attention of the coaches time and again.
“The thing I like about Derek is his mentality,” said running backs and special teams coach Larry Lewis. “He’s tough. I think he brings some physicalness as a runner, and gives you everything he’s got.”
Good says his mentality is born from the nature of being a walk-on who was often overlooked.
“You come in here and you’re at the bottom of the (depth) chart right away,” Good said. “Finally I get on a scholarship and it’s a different story. They’re finally giving me the opportunity to play and make something happen.”
For the starters who are assured playing time, the spring game is an exhibition for the fans, but for those like Good it can separate them from the pack.
“You don’t have the opportunity to mess up on one play and hope you get another,” Good said. “There’s something about it that makes you feel you need to go 10 times harder than everyone else just so you can get noticed.”
At a position frequented with injuries, Good’s chances to see snaps in the backfield are high.
“I think all three backs are going to see playing time,” Lewis said. “I mean you’re going through a 12-game season…one guy to make it through that anymore, just can’t do it. He continues to earn his reps and he’s continuing to earn more and more.”
For Good, his lone touchdown was anything but meaningless.
“There’s not a better feeling than getting in that end zone and getting six points up there,” Good said. “It’s a great feeling, absolutely.”
Assistant Sports Editor Cris Tiller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.