Sep 132004
 
Authors: Jon Pilsner

Facing the first 0-2 start in his 12-year tenure at CSU, head

coach Sonny Lubick still has confidence in his team, he said at his

weekly press conference Monday. After losing to Colorado and

Southern California, Lubick is optimistic about the team’s ability

to improve.

“We give USC all the credit, but we didn’t help ourselves with

errors and turnovers and sloppy tackles,” Lubick said. “I still

believe we have a good football team. We are still going to win

games.”

The loss of tight end Matt Bartz, who suffered a season-ending

torn ACL injury against USC, will be a difficult loss for the team,

Lubick said. Bartz had three receptions for 21 yards and one

touchdown in the season’s first two games.

“Apart from playing, we’ll miss his contributions as a person,”

Lubick said. “He is a great young kid and he loves football, but

everyone is certain that he will be in surgery as soon as

possible.”

With Bartz out, the focus now goes to backup tight ends Brandon

Alconcel, a junior, and Tom Martindale, a sophomore. Martindale has

been fighting a knee injury during the last two weeks of

practice.

“If he can find a way to keep fighting his leg and keep

improving, he will be a good tight end,” Lubick said of

Martindale.

True freshman Kory Sperry may also earn playing time this

season. The team redshirted Sperry, but with injuries to Bartz and

Martindale, Sperry may be forced into playing this season.

“There is a chance of pulling the redshirt off Sperry,” Lubick

said. “I would think, as a coaching staff, he will play for us this

season.”

The loss of Bartz will hit the offense hard, but Lubick is

optimistic about the young talent at the position.

“I like both of our tight ends,” Lubick said of Martindale and

Sperry. “They’re good kids, they have brains and they are good

athletes.”

Lubick said he hoped the tough losses, in the win-loss column

and in the injury category, didn’t dampen the team’s spirit.

“The team atmosphere is good,” Lubick said. “Hopefully they

aren’t discouraged; I am certainly not.”

The Rams face another ranked opponent this weekend when they

take on No. 22 Minnesota Saturday night at Hughes Stadium.

“Minnesota is more of a powerful, hard-hitting football team,”

Lubick said. “This week isn’t going to be any easier.”

Running back Tristan Walker, who left the USC game early with a

knee injury, is expected to practice this week, Lubick said. He is

currently listed fourth on the depth chart.

Uldis Jaunarajs, who led all Rams rushers with 74 yards rushing

against USC, is listed as this weekend’s starter against Minnesota.

However, Jimmy Green is expected to be 100 percent after being

limited by a ankle sprain the past three weeks.

“Jimmy is ready to go,” Lubick said. “We’ll try and see if he

can go full speed today.”

The other questions surrounding the offense focus on quarterback

Justin Holland, who threw four interceptions against USC. Lubick

said Holland had to be stronger mentally, but he had been a

quarterback too long to have his confidence shaken.

“He didn’t have his best game,” Lubick said. “I expect him to go

two or three games without giving up an interception. He knows the

defenses that well and where to put to ball.”

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