After installing a new offseason conditioning program and dressing up the practice field, first-year CSU football coach Steve Fairchild has now changed the format of the team’s annual spring game, which kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday at Hughes Stadium.
Fairchild said that Saturday’s practice will not be the traditional Green and Gold Game as it was under former coach Sonny Lubick, but rather a more controlled, offense versus defense, scripted type scrimmage. The two sides will keep score, however, using a play-by-play point based system as they have done each Saturday of camp this spring.
“I just think you get more work done, doing it the way that we’re doing it,” Fairchild said after the Rams’ 14th workout of the spring on Thursday. “This allows Larry (Kerr) to keep the defense and Greg (Peterson) to keep the offense, ones and twos in tact and let them play a little bit more. I think that’s more beneficial.”
Fairchild said he was relatively pleased with the team’s effort this spring, and thanks to their work, he and his staff will have a basic idea of the depth chart heading into the fall.
“We had a very good offseason conditioning program and that allowed us to come out and play the way that we did and make the strides that we did,” Fairchild said. “But there’s still some areas we’ve got to cover. So we’ll have to do the right things over the summer so when we come back in August we don’t take a step back.”
Offensive coordinator Greg Peterson said that even though the game won’t be split into a green and gold format, the game-day atmosphere will still be there Saturday.
“Anytime we’ve scrimmaged on a Saturday or practiced on a Saturday, we talk about it being game day,” Peterson said. “You want to have that intensity. Thursday practice is over, the hay’s in the barn. Friday, guys have got to focus and start building up for a game-day situation.”
On the field Saturday there shouldn’t be too many surprises when it comes to personnel, with the same group that worked with the ones last Saturday likely to do the same this weekend. Senior safety Mike Pagnotta said that by keeping the first-team offense and defense in tact and having them play each other, the competition will be better.
“It’s always cool to split up into teams and kind of have that little rivalry, but I think it’s cool also to have the one units together on both sides of the ball and let them go at it. That’s when you get the best competition,” Pagnotta said. “I think we’ll make it work. I think it will be a good time.”
Coach Peterson agreed with Pagnotta, saying that while the team wants to close out the spring season with a fun scrimmage, there is still work to be done and they are going to make the most of the allotted time.
“We want to keep that unity on both sides of the football and try to keep some continuity,” Peterson said. “I know it’s fun when you divide up the squad and have more of a game-like activity, but we still want to get things done on both sides of the football and keep our team in tact.
“That’s probably more important at this time, in spring football, than drafting your teams and going out and having a mock game.”
Sports writer Nick Hubel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sidebar 1 –
Who wins on Saturday, offense or defense?
Mike Pagnotta, senior, S –
“Oh, defense. We won last week. Plus offense gets the benefit of the doubt all the time, in everything. So we probably really beat them by five points last week. We’ll just beat them by 10 this week just to make sure there is no doubt.”
Mike Myers, senior, RB –
“Oh man, the offense is going to win, regardless. Tell Pags (Pagnotta) that he needs to go home and worry about Tiger Woods. Put that in the paper, he needs to go home and practice Tiger Woods before he worries about who is going to win, offense or defense. Because the offense is going to win, regardless.”
Greg Peterson, offensive coordinator –
“We’ve just got to fight and play. The most important thing we can do is play with our pads on Saturdays. Things that get said over the course of a week, all of those things become bulletin board material. So we want to be, as an offense or as a football team, a team that is unified and let our pads do the talking on Saturdays.”
Sidebar 2 –
Saturday’s Point System:
Situation Event Points Awarded to:
Any snap ………………..Gain of 4-plus yards 1 Offense
Any snap ………………..Gain of less than 4 yards 1 Defense
Any snap ………………..Pre-snap penalty 1 Non-guilty unit
Any snap ………………..Explosive play/rushing gain of 10-plus yards 2 Offense
Any snap ………………..Explosive play/passing gain of 16-plus yards 2 Offense
Any snap ………………..Negative-yardage play 2 Defense
Any snap …………………Offensive touchdown 3 Offense
Any snap ………………….Offensive turnover 3 Defense
Any snap …………………..Defensive touchdown 5 Defense
Third-down period …………Conversion (first down) 1 Offense
Third-down period …………..Failed conversion 1 Defense
Backed-up period (near own goal line) …First down 1 Offense
4-minute offense (objective: kill clock) …First down prevented 1 Defense
Goal-line period (inside 3-yard line) …….Touchdown 1 Offense
Goal-line period (inside 3-yard line) …….Touchdown prevented 1 Defense