Confidence. It may aid you in getting a date or possibly even score a little higher on a test. For the CSU Rams, confidence might be the difference between a win and loss on Saturday.
CSU started the season full of confidence and were rewarded with three straight wins. The Rams have struggled the past two weeks though, dropping consecutive games thanks in large part to frustrating mistakes.
CSU cornerback Nick Oppenneer insists that the Rams confidence is still there, but admitted that it has been tough the past few weeks.
“We know we are a better team than 3-2. We could easily be 4-1,” the senior said. “If we would have come out better against BYU we would be 5-0. That is still in all our minds, but you have to prove it. We know we have to come out this week and prove it.”
Head coach Steve Fairchild called the Rams current confidence level “an interesting topic” and said that while the team is confident, they aren’t quite at the level he imagines them one day being.
“We think we can right now, we are working hard and believing in our plan and having some success in some areas,” the second year CSU head coach said. “But when you are at the elite level, you know you can; you just keep practicing the way we practice, it will translate onto the field and throughout the whole program eventually.”
Quarterback Grant Stucker explained that the Rams have continued to grow more confident despite struggling lately and do it by only taking the good things away from defeats. The first year starter has had the two best games of his college career in the Rams two losses, throwing for a combined 669 yards and six touchdowns.
“You take certain things out of a loss and throw everything else away,” Stucker, a senior, said. “We have definitely taken the positives and the good side of the losses and moved forward. We still have a high confidence, and more than anything, our resolve is very strong.”
Even though the Rams can say they are confident, they realize they have a long way to go before fans and opponents will believe them. The knights of the green and gold will have an opportunity to do just that Saturday as they take on Mountain West powerhouse Utah in Hughes Stadium.
Stucker said this is the point where CSU has played its best, comparing this situation to that of the game against CU-Boulder earlier this season. The Rams were 11 point underdogs going into the Rocky Mountain Showdown this year and came out with a 23-17 victory.
“We’re back at that spot where we need to start proving things to people,” Stucker said. “When that gets under guy’s skin is when we play really good football.”
Oppenneer agreed with his quarterback, saying that the week CSU has had in preparation for Utah says it all.
“If you saw us practice, you would know that we still have confidence and we still want to work,” he said. “We know we have a lot to prove and we’ll do it.”
Assistant Sports Editor Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.