All signs point to freshman Garrett Grayson starting for CSU this Saturday against Texas Christian University.
Grayson took all of the first-team repetitions in practice this week, while Pete Thomas watched in sweatpants after spraining his knee in Saturdayâ€™s loss to San Diego State University.
CSU coach Steve Fairchild was not willing to rule Thomas out, calling him â€œday-to-dayâ€ after practice Wednesday.
Thomas sounded much less optimistic.
â€œIn my mind Iâ€™m still playing this week,â€ he said.
But what does his body say?
â€œThat might be a different story,â€ Thomas said.
In steps the backup, a freshman from Vancouver, Wash. who went 6-15 for 26 yards and rushed for a touchdown in his first collegiate game Saturday after replacing Thomas.
Grayson, now getting all of the repetitions in practice, isnâ€™t afraid of being shell-shocked this Saturday.
â€œI feel comfortable with the way with things are going now,â€ Grayson said. â€œTo be honest, the first drive last week, I feel like that was the deer in the headlights look, then things started to slow down and calm down for me.â€
CSU is playing against the TCU defense, which is one of the most feared in the Mountain West and is ranked second in the conference in total defense.
Despite that, Fairchild said that if Grayson does start, the offense wonâ€™t change much other than to run plays that Grayson might run more effectively than Thomas.
â€œI think he knows what to do,â€ Fairchild said of Grayson, â€œbut sometimes when things start moving fast, sometimes getting your second and third options on plays or checking in and out of a run, sometimes those things donâ€™t register quite as quick as they need to.â€
To prepare for his first career start, Grayson has put more time in the film room than at any point this season and spent a good amount of time after practice throwing to receivers to try to get timing down.
And Thomas has been helping as much as possible in the film room and says he will help as much as possible on game day.
No matter when Thomas does come back, Grayson knows that this is his first audition for the starting job.
â€œYouâ€™ve got to be perfect on what youâ€™re doing, and thatâ€™s my expectation: to be perfect out there,â€ Grayson said. â€œLike my dad said, this is my time to shine, so hopefully I take it and run with it.â€
Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Lytle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Garrett Grayson
Height: 6â€™ 2â€
Hometown: Vancouver, Wash.
Quick facts: Had nationâ€™s highest completion percentage as a
senior in high school at 73 percent
Uncle Danny Grayson was All-American linebacker at Washington State and was selected by Pittsburgh Steelers in NFL Draft