Feb 082004
Authors: Christiana Nelson

On Friday afternoon the Intramural Gym was divided into an east

and west gym by a curtain, but the players on both sides of the

divider had the same goal.

The goal of someday becoming a member of the CSU football


On the gym’s east side the coaches’ children mimicked the drills

performed by players on the other side, college hopefuls trying out

for a walk-on position on the CSU football team.

Eight-year-old Dustin Funk raced six-year-old Jesse Williams,

Holly Hammerschmidt, 8, and Michael Hammerschmidt, 5, to the end of

the gym over and over again before they all fell on the floor in


In the west gym, despite their fatigue, the players do not fall

on the ground with exhaustion.

The 4 p.m. semi-annual tryout was their only chance to prove

themselves to the CSU football coaches, who walked around observing

the players as they ran through drills.

“We’re looking to see if the young guys have quite a bit of

agility and if they can change direction,” said CSU football head

coach Sonny Lubick. “This is by no means a scientific process; we

can see quickness, balance and posture and we can tell which people

have done these drills before.”

During the tryout that lasted for a little less than an hour,

approximately 35 students competed for seven to eight positions on

the CSU football team by stretching, running, conditioning and

rotating through agility drills stations.

Corey Donahue, a junior political science major, said he felt he

had prepared adequately and was ready for the drills the coaches

had set up.

“I felt good about it,” said Donahue, who tried out as a running

back. “I lifted and knew that there would be agility drills so I

worked out with Gavin Madsen, who also tried out, since last


While Donahue claimed to be “anxious, not tired,” Chris Kaufman,

a sophomore computer information systems major, did not feel quite

as prepared for the tryout.

“I did pretty good, but the tryout was a little tiring,” said

Kaufman, a defensive lineman. “It was harder than I thought it

would be.”

The tryouts focused on physical fitness and ability because NCAA

rules do not allow players to practice with a football until the

first official day of spring football practice, which falls on

March 27 this year.

Assistant head coach and running back coach Mick Delaney said

NCAA rules also interfered with some students’ ability to


“Students have to clear academic eligibility regulations with

NCAA clearinghouse before they can tryout,” Delaney said. “They

have to take at least 12 credits at all times and maintain a 2.0

GPA overall. We had about 55 students come to the meeting, but

about 15 to 20 of them couldn’t tryout.”

NCAA also regulates the number of students allowed on a football

team at one time, which in turn determines the number of walk-ons a

team can accept.

“We can only take so many players,” Lubick said. “Once we get a

player we never cut them, but after one to two weeks they know if

they fit in with the rest of the team.”

Delaney said that because tryouts are so abridged, a player’s

position also plays a role in determining who is chosen from the

walk-on tryouts.

“We’re a little short-handed for spring,” Delaney said. “We are

mostly looking at d-ends, quite a few running backs, a DB, tight

ends and possibly one linebacker.”

Chris Speer, a junior social sciences major, left the Fort Lewis

football team for the opportunity to walk-on as a defensive back

for the CSU football team and was not intimidated by the short

timeframe tryouts provided to prove one’s ability.

“The coaches are pretty good at what they do,” Speer said. “They

know what to look for, but then again if you are chosen you have to

prove yourself on the field too.”

The walk-on tryout results will be posted today and Delaney

believes the tryout “went quite well. I was kind of surprised, but

this group did a great job”.

While Donahue wished he had more time to prove his ability, he

accepted the one-hour tryout.

“You just show up and do your best,” Donahue said. “You can’t

ask for anything more.”

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