After four losses in a row, the Rams have had it.
On Sunday, team captains, Nick Oppenneer, Cole Pemberton, Shelley Smith and John Mosure called a players-only meeting to let out some steam and frustration and decide where this now 3-4 team wants to go.
“We asked ourselves what we want to be. Where do we see ourselves at 3-4? … We’ve got a chance to make this season really special. We have to work for it, but if we do, we can be good,” Oppenneer said.
Each of the captains spoke, and Oppenneer said every player attended the meeting.
“Our captains, that’s why they’re captains, they have to take control of situations like that. I think they have done a good job,” defensive coordinator Larry Kerr said.
Though the four-game slide has been a disappointment after the team’s fast 3-0 start, Pemberton spoke to his teammates about the Rams’ teams of 2006 and 2007.
Carrying over from the middle of the 2006 season, the Rams lost 13 consecutive games.
“I was here when we went on that 13-game losing streak. This team’s a lot different than that, we’ve got a different coaching staff and I’m confident we’ll pull ourselves out of this,” Pemberton said.
The Rams’ skid came amid the nation’s toughest four-game schedule. No. 16 BYU, Idaho, No. 19 Utah and No. 10 TCU are a combined 23-3.
And now CSU is ready to put the past four weeks behind them and focus on a 2-4 San Diego State team.
“We’re ready to get back to work after that embarrassment last weekend,” Pemberton said.
The Rams will go to work the rest of the season down one of its defensive leaders in Klint Kubiak, who will sit out the remainder of the season due to shoulder surgery. Sophomore linebacker Mychal Sisson may fit that bill as a needed leader.
“We talked about what we need to do. One thing was that we need to be more vocal and hold everyone accountable,” Sisson said. “At times, I’ve been called to step up. I do see myself as a leader. I’m coming along trying to be more vocal.”
Whether or not Sisson is vocal, his solid play will help this Rams defense which has struggled of late, giving up 35 points per game during the four-game losing streak.
“You’d like to maybe have a bell cow guy that everyone rallies around, and sometimes that’s great to have, but it’s not necessary,” Kerr said. “As long as everybody understands their role and everybody becomes accountable and demands performance out of themselves first and doesn’t point at the other guy, that’s what the team needs.”
Emotions will be high when the team ends it losing streak, which they hope happens this weekend against the Aztecs.
“Ending a four-game losing streak is going to feel great,” Pemberton said. “Not only just for us, but for the loyal fans that come out and support us. I feel bad for them having to watch us lose four games in a row.”
Football Beat Reporter Stephen Meyers can be reached at email@example.com.