Mar 232009
Authors: Matt L. Stephens

In a football town, March Madness isn’t just limited to college basketball.

Never is that more evident than today, as the CSU football team starts their spring practice, which will almost surely bring its own madness among fans, with many key positions up in the air this year.

The Rams need to replace 11 of 22 starting players from last season, including at what are arguably the two most prominent skill positions — quarterback and running back.

“A lot like last spring we’ve got some questions to answer, quarterback being one of them. Just as important, last year we were talking about cornerback and some other spots, this year we have some positions that we need to address,” head coach Steve Fairchild said. “We need to find out how talented we are, how deep we are and then look to the future.”

Fairchild, who is starting his second season at CSU, will have a pretty deep pool to choose from while searching for his starting signal caller. Entering last summer, the final battle came down to senior Billy Farris and junior Grant Stucker. While Farris was the victor, Stucker seemed to earn more playing time later in the season thanks to his mobility — a talent that was shown in the New Mexico Bowl with an 18 yard run for a touchdown.

According to the depth chart released on Monday, the leader at running back is John Mosure with Alex Square and junior college transfer Leonard Mason tailing behind. Mosure brings triple-threat versatility to the backfield, but Mason’s durability is part of the reason he was named the No. 2 junior college running back of the 2008 season. According to Fairchild, he’s not against a two-back system, much like Gartrell Johnson III and Kyle Bell participated in last year.

“We have to find our running back or backs. In the past years we have had years where we have done it with rotations … I think that, again, it is like last year. Ideally by the second day we would have a starter at both and go with it, but I am not going to put any parameters on when or how many we will have in the running.”

Today’s practice, starting at 3:30 p.m. on the football practice field, is the first of 15 leading up to the annual spring game on April 18.

Football beat writer Matt L. Stephens can be reached at

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