Head coach Sonny Lubick’s decision to bench starting quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt after a costly personal foul in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s Border War turned into the story of the day.
When the game ended, Van Pelt left the field without talking to the media, while reserve quarterback Justin Holland was surrounded by microphones, enjoying the attention after finishing a game for the first time as a Ram.
Lubick, however, was quick to clarify the situation and his decision.
“Bradlee’s still our starter,” Lubick said Monday at his weekly media luncheon. “He’s been playing well. In fact, I think Bradlee had a very good game this week. You have to like him for his intensity and his warrior-mentality. He’s not in the doghouse, but it’s something that happens that we cannot allow to have happen. Personal fouls are the worst things. We can’t have guys shoving and pushing and swinging. It’s our job to get him out of there and get him cooled down a little and go with the next guy because you certainly don’t want to have a rash of those things.”
Holland finished the day with 74 yards on seven completions, including two touchdowns and two interceptions. He is the first CSU reserve quarterback to throw two touchdown passes since Matt Newton in 1998. Lubick said he was pleased about the way Holland played, but had no plans to make a switch at quarterback.
“I want him to continue to play,” Lubick said. “I’d like him to get three or four series per game, if it’s more than that, that’s fine.”
Down to the wire, again
True to form on Saturday, the Rams once again could not put an opponent away. CSU needed to recover an onside kick with little over a minute left in the game to secure the victory. Lubick had several explanations of why the Rams let a 1-5 team hang around and make it close.
“We’re not paying attention to the small details, from the coaches down to the players. That punt block, that was just a small detail that was covered, but maybe as coaches we have to cover it with a little more depth,” Lubick said. “”I guess there’s several ways to look at the football game. Number one is that we won it. We’re 5-2 right now and I’m proud of our football team from that regard. To talk about the negative, it seems like, from my standpoint, I’d like to see a little bit more consistency. That’s the most difficult thing to get in any walk of life.”
The Rams continue the conference crucible on Saturday when they travel to Salt Lake City to take on Utah. The Utes have dropped four games in a row, including a three-point loss to Michigan in Ann Arbor. Utah lost Saturday to San Diego State, 36-17.
After watching game film, Lubick said the Utes are a much better team than their record shows.
“We got a big game this week. Utah’s a good football team. They’ve had their woes as of late. But when you come back and look at it, all it takes is one little thing and then they lose three games by two or three points.”
-Edited by Jon Ackerman and Ben Koerselman