The CSU football team returned outside from the practice field Wednesday afternoon, after inclement weather forced them indoors Monday, for the last time before their first scrimmage on the year on Friday.
Wednesday also marked the halfway point of spring practices for CSU, as it will have a total of 14 before the annual spring game April 21.
As the Rams scramble to learn new offensive and defensive playbooks after only two weeks of formal team activities, the scrimmage on Friday enables players to show the new coaching staff what they can do in game situations for the first time.
â€œI think weâ€™ve come a long way already,â€ linebacker James Skelton said. â€œEverybodyâ€™s picking up everything really fast and weâ€™ll see how the scrimmage goes, but I donâ€™t expect anything real big to happen.â€
Offensively, the Rams will be examining the quarterback position during the scrimmage to start the process of determining which of the four quarterbacks on the roster can effectively run coach Jim McElwainâ€™s national championship winning offense he ran at Alabama.
â€œI feel like Iâ€™ve grasped it way better than I did last year,â€ said sophomore quarterback Garrett Grayson, the favorite to win the starting position, of the new playbook.
â€œLast year, a lot of the time, I feel like I was just hanging onto the ball way too long and then it would result in a sack and (Steve Fairchild) would get on me, so Iâ€™m getting the ball out a lot quicker and making hot reads correct.â€
One thing that has been stressed over the past two weeks by the team has been the quicker tempo employed by McElwain during practices this year compared with the slower paced ones last year under Fairchild.
Since no depth chart has yet been filled, the Rams will try to allow many different players to see action during scrimmages, which also allows the team to run more plays overall since different rotations of players must come in quicker to conserve time.
â€œOur practice style last year was a lot different,â€ said wide receiver Thomas Coffman. â€œBut with coach Macâ€™s style of coaching, we can all make plays and execute and you know, we do a lot better and it doesnâ€™t even feel like weâ€™re doing as much and we really are.â€
As the team prepares to compete with one another hoping to get starting positions on next fallâ€™s roster, the desired result for McElwain after the scrimmage is much simpler.
â€œHopefully when we watch film (after the scrimmage) you know, I donâ€™t jump off the top of Moby or anything,â€ McElwain joked after practice Wednesday. â€œBut just see how guys compete, thatâ€™s really the biggest thing.â€
Football Beat Reporter Andrew Schaller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fri. April 6 at 3:45 p.m.
All scrimmages are open to the public