The 2004 CSU football team returns 15 starters from a team that ended 2003 with a 7-6 overall record for a third-place finish in the Mountain West Conference (4-3). The Rams also made the Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl but lost to Boston College 21-35.
This year the Rams look to junior quarterback Justin Holland to take command of the offense after the departure of Bradlee Van Pelt. Holland played in nine games last year and is more of a pocket passer than the more mobile Van Pelt. In 2003, Holland threw for 381 yards and three touchdowns on 37 of 55 (.673) passing, and he threw two interceptions.
Senior H-back Joel Dreessen will be a big part in the Rams offense once again. Last year Dreessen caught 29 passes for 323 yards and three touchdowns in a season that was cut short by an abdominal strain. Dreessen returns as a four-year starter, bringing experience and leadership to the Rams along with a 6-foot-4-inch, 260-pound target for Holland to aim for.
Leading the wideouts onto the field will be junior receiver David Anderson. Anderson set single-season records for the Rams last year with 72 catches for 1,293 yards and nine touchdowns.
On defense, senior Patrick Goodpaster returns as a staple on the line. Goodpaster is a three-year letterman and made 49 tackles last season, 29 of which came unassisted, and 10 were for a loss. He also had four sacks and recovered one fumble.
Senior safety Adam Lancisero and junior Ben Stratton anchor the secondary. Last season Stratton finished third on the team with 79 tackles, 50 coming unassisted, and led the Rams with four interceptions. He will play free safety this year while Lancisero plays strong safety. Lancisero was a linebacker last year, making 21 tackles in five games, and was moved to safety for the 2004 season.
The Rams look to get a good start this year playing a tough non-conference schedule with two of their first three opponents ranked in the top 25. The Rams travel to Los Angeles to play the top-ranked Southern California Trojans and then take on the No. 23 Minnesota Gophers. The four-game non-conference schedule opens Sept. 4 with the Rocky Mountain Showdown against the Colorado Buffaloes. The game venue was changed this year to Folsom Field in Boulder.
The Rams will be looking to avenge the 42-35 loss at the hands of the Buffs last year at Invesco Field at Mile High. The Rams are 20-53-2 all time against CU and 7-30-1 in Boulder.
The Rams recently ended two-a-day practices, in the first year of an NCAA rule change. Two-a-day practices were only allowed every other day this year, and the Rams held theirs Monday, Wednesday and Friday of last week. Both the offense and defense looked good last week in practice as the players settled in and began workouts. Saturday the Rams held a 90-minute scrimmage where head coach Sonny Lubick said he saw many positives and also many things that would need to be worked on.