Apr 052009
Authors: Matt L. Stephens

Despite heavy snowfall the previous night, the CSU football team took to the field Saturday afternoon for a very cold, but enjoyable, practice. Saturday’s practice was originally scheduled to take place at Hughes Stadium, but the need to clear the turf of snow moved it to the Moby fields.

Even though temperatures were below freezing, head coach Steve Fairchild thought things went relatively well.

“(The temperature) wasn’t too bad, really,” Fairchild said. “We cut out special teams. We’ll make that up next week. You know we weren’t quite out there two hours, but we got some work done that was pretty good.”

As has been the story all of last week, the CSU offense hasn’t quite been clicking the way Fairchild has hoped, something he believes is a motivation factor. According to Fairchild, the Rams’ skill position players on offense need to toughen up.

“They’re alright, a little bit better — we have a long way to go. Right now our receivers and our running backs and our quarterbacks aren’t real tough and need to get tougher.”

A member of that wide receiver corps is senior Rashaun Greer, who led the Rams in 2008 with 1,114 yards receiving. Greer feels that while it may be more difficult to catch a football in the cold conditions, there’s really no excuse not to.

“Oh man, it does make it harder to catch the ball, because your hands are cold and the ball is hard plus you got the wind blowing,” said the north Las Vegas native. “Right now things are kind of like last spring with a lot of pressure on the receivers, especially since we have a veteran group coming back so (Coach Fairchild) is always going to have a lot of pressure on us, but that will help us push ourselves to go farther.”

Even though Fairchild has not been happy with his offense so far, his defense is looking sharp, especially in the secondary. In 2008 there were question marks about how the CSU secondary would perform outside of Klint Kubiak and Mike Pagnotta, but now with another year of experience things seem to be looking strong.

“I think they’re looking really good, actually,” Kubiak said. “(Elijah-Blu Smith) is playing really well at safety and (Nick Oppenneer) and (Brandon Owens) are playing well – the corners are just playing their butts off. Marcus Shaw is also looking like he wants a spot on this team. So there’s a lot of competition out there, but it’s only going to make us better in the end.”

CSU will have this afternoon off before continuing spring practice on Tuesday.

Football beat writer Mall L. Stephens can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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