While the rest of campus is worried about swine flu, the CSU football team is facing a different type of health challenge: the injury bug.
The Rams were a little more red than usual during Tuesday afternoon’s practice as seven different players, including cornerback Gerard Thomas, safety Ivory Herd, running back John Mosure and defensive tackle Ty Whittier were dressed in red jersey’s.
CSU defensive coordinator Larry Kerr is trying to see the bright side of the injuries, but said hurt players are never a good thing.
“Obviously when you have guys who can’t practice, it makes things tough because the repetition and seeing the picture in practice is important for every player,” he said. “At the same time that means someone needs to step in, get more reps and we continue to develop depth.”
While the majority of those dressed in red are listed as questionable for Saturday’s game against the University of Nevada, Thomas, a starting cornerback, is listed as doubtful.
The sophomore suffered a bruised left knee after colliding with a wide receiver late in CSU’s win over the Weber State Wildcats last Saturday.
DeAngelo Wilkinson, who has played mostly in CSU’s nickel defense this season, is expected to take Thomas’s spot in the starting lineup. The junior said that he is confident he can step up to the occasion.
“We are all conditioned the same way and we get the same amount of reps every practice,” Wilkinson said. “Just from all the nickel reps and then going to corner, I feel pretty prepared for it.”
Kerr is still hopeful that Thomas will heal quick enough to see some playing time before the week is through but has faith his defense will survive either way.
“Gerard (Thomas) is an excellent player for us, and it’s going to effect us a little bit in our nickel package,” he said. “Wilkinson comes in on nickel, and now he’s starting at corner, so we are going to have to do some shuffling. We should be OK, but I’m still hopeful he can play a little bit.”
Kerr added that if backup cornerback Brandon Owens performs well in practice, he might also see some increased playing time in Thomas’ absence.
Owens, a sophomore, explained that he believes he’s practicing well enough to play.
“I have to focus on the technique and like coach says, master my craft,” he said. “I think I’ll do pretty good out there and I’ll be ready.”
Among the list of injuries, CSU did announce some good news during Tuesday’s practice. After missing last week’s game, starting running back John Mosure has been upgraded to probable for Saturday’s game against the Wolfpack.
Assistant Sports Editor Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at email@example.com.
John Mosure – RB – Concussion – Probable
Ty Whittier – DE – Stinger – questionable
TJ Borcky – WR – Illness – questionable
Cory Macon – DE – Hip – questionable
Ivory Herd -CB -Thumb – questionable
Josh Gabler – S – wrist – questionable
Gerard Thomas – CB – Knee bruise – doubtful