Apr 082009
Authors: Matt L. Stephens

For the remainder of spring football practice, CSU will be without senior cornerback Nick Oppenneer and junior tight end Eric Peitz, both of whom are expected to start at their respective positions in 2009./

On Monday, Oppenneer underwent shoulder surgery for an injury he sustained on Nov. 18 when the Rams faced Utah. With Oppenneer clearly establishing himself as a starter on defense, the CSU coaching staff decided now was the appropriate time for surgery so that he can be back at 100 percent during summer drills./

“(Having the surgery now) is a good thing,” said CSU head coach Steve Fairchild. “Take Nick for example. He had nothing left to prove so now we get some more reps for the other guys so we can look at them.”/

With Oppenneer sidelined for the remainder of spring, cornerbacks coach Tim Duffie is hoping that it will serve as motivation for the rest of his players to step up into the spotlight./

“I sure hope some guys step up, because if they don’t then we have the wrong guys out here,” Duffie said. “I think it serves as motivation, but at the same time I know they’re all hoping that Nick can come back soon.”/

On the offensive side, Peitz suffered an injury earlier this spring in which he tore cartilage in his knee. His surgery is scheduled for Friday./

“I was just blocking during practice, twisted my knee, tore a little bit of cartilage in there,” said the Nebraska native./

Peitz, who is scheduled to miss up to four weeks, had five receptions for 29 yards in 2008, including a crucial third down catch against BYU that kept he Rams’ hopes alive against the Cougars. Despite not being able to practice with his team again until summer, Peitz is staying optimistic for the time being./

“I don’t know, it may affect the rhythm a little because we’ll have some guys in there who maybe aren’t as used to that, but they’re all catching up these last couple of practices and really getting it down.”/

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

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