What you need to know ...
Colorado State turned into a passing team last year finishing
16th in the nation averaging 286 yards per game, but the ground
game, when Kyle Bell was held in check, went kaput. Now there
should be more of a balance with the passing attack going to be
a little worse with Caleb Hanie taking over for Justin Holland
at quarterback and without star receiver David Anderson to make
big play after big play. The line is too big and too strong to
not blow open bigger holes for Bell and the running game.
Passing: Caleb Hanie
13-29, 251 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Kyle Bell
276 carries, 1,268 yds, 3 TD
Receiving: Johnny Walker
43 catches, 663 yds, 2 TD
Star of the offense: Junior RB Kyle Bell
Player that has to step up and become a star: Junior QB
Unsung star on the rise: Junior WR Luke Roberts
Best pro prospect: Junior TE Kory Sperry
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Bell, 2) Sperry, 3) G
Strength of the offense: Running backs
Weakness of the offense: Offensive line depth
Colorado State shifted to becoming more of a passing team
when Justin Holland was at the helm, but there will likely be
more balance this year. Caleb Hanie showed impressive promise as
a true freshman, but he wasn't able to see enough time to
develop any further last year. He's a big bomber with good
mobility in the pocket, and now he has to cut down on his
mistakes, be more accurate, and grow into the role. Backups
Billy Farris and Grant Stucker have no experience and must find
time to develop. Farris is set at the two, while Stucker will be
learning on the job at the three.
The key to the unit: Getting the backups ready while
getting starter Caleb Hanie to hover around the 60% completion
Quarterback Rating: 6
- Caleb Hanie, Jr. - 13-29, 251 yds, 2 TD
In 2004, Hanie stepped in for an injured Justin Holland and did
a decent job throwing for 1,204 yards and eight touchdowns, but
with three interceptions, over the second half of the season. He
didn't get much work last year with Holland able to go all
season, but he did see a little bit or work in mop-up time. He's
a big, 236-pound passer with good mobility and he should know
the ropes after getting so many key reps over the last few
seasons. The main concern early on is his accuracy and his
consistency at keeping the offense moving.
- Billy Farris, Soph.
Farris isn't huge like Caleb Hanie, but he's a tall quarterback
with a live arm and good skills. He has been a solid practice
players and even saw a little bit of time in the blowout win
over Nevada. The number two job is his as long as he can be
- Grant Stucker, RFr.
One of the team's top recruits two years ago, Stucker is the
best all-around athlete among the quarterbacks. Now he needs
more experience and meaningful practice reps after not getting
much action in his redshirt season. If used, it's because the
Rams are either looking for a change of pace or need an
Can Kyle Bell get some help? Colorado State got six 100
yards games out of its 225-pound star runner, but the team
ignored the ground game when #34 wasn't getting it. The result
is almost no experience among the reserves and a huge question
mark if something happens to the workhorse of the offense.
Gartrell Johnson is another big back who'll pound it out like
Bell, while Tramell McGill and Alex Square will be the speed
backs. The Rams didn't use their backs at all in the passing
game last year and only use a fullback for blocking.
The key to the unit: Developing the reserves, finding
a home-run hitter, and getting the ball more to the backs in the
Running Back Rating: 6.5
- Kyle Bell, Jr. - 276 carries, 1,288 yds, 4.7 ypc, 10
TD, 9 catches, 33 yds
Colorado's all-time leading high school rusher was the Colorado
State ground game last year netting 1,288 of the team's 1,460
rushing yards. He's a 225-back who isn't afraid to use his size
to hit defenders, and he has a little bit of breakaway speed.
He's a smart back who doesn't make mistakes and rarely fumbles,
however, he's not going to break off too many big runs and he
isn't going to be used much as a receiver. When he was rolling
last year, the Ram offense was tremendous as he had a huge three
game stretch tearing off 183 yards against Nevada, 197 against
Air Force and 140 against Utah. CSU won all three games. When he
struggled, so did the team with the Rams losing all four times
he ran for fewer than 75 yards.
- B-Back Tristan Walker, Sr. - 4 carries, 12 yds, 1 TD
The Rams don't like to use a true fullback, but they'll
occasionally employ a "B-Back" for their two-back sets. Walker
is a 255 pounder who'll occasionally be used as a short yardage
back. He'll mostly come in to be a blocker for Kyle Bell on
obvious running plays.
- Gartrell Johnson, Soph. - 11 carries, 26 yds
Johnson saw a little bit of work early in the year with all 11
of his carries coming against Minnesota and Nevada, and then he
didn't see time the rest of the way. Like starter Kyle Bell,
Johnson is a big back with power to go along with a good burst,
but he has to stay healthy.
- Tramell McGill, Soph.
McGIll needs to see the ball. The 189-pound sophomore didn't see
any action last year, but the former Arizona high school player
of the year is a tremendous athlete who provides more speed than
the main backs. He has to establish himself as a change-of-pace
back by tearing off a few big runs early.
- Alex Square, RFr.
A pure speed back, the 5-9, 165-pound Square would be a perfect
third-down back if the Rams ever used consistently used their
running backs in the passing game. He could grow into the team's
home run hitter.
- B-Back Kyle Van Horn, Jr.
Van Horn was injured and missed all of last year. Now he'll
combine with Tristan Walker as the B-Back, or fullback. While
Walker will get a few carries, Van Horn will primarily be a
It'll be up to several receivers to try to replace the
lost production of underappreciated playmaker David Anderson,
who caught 86 passes for 1,221 yards and eight touchdowns last
season. Most of the top-end speed receivers have little
experience, while Johnny Walker and Dustin Osborn have to prove
they can be more than just complementary players. The H-Back
situation is excellent with the return of Kory Sperry along with
the Kevin McPeek back at H-Back.
The key to the unit: Getting Johnny Walker or Dustin
Osborn to take hold of the role as a number one receiver while
finally getting steady production from all the junior backups.
Receiver Rating: 6.5
- Johnny Walker, Jr. - 43 catches, 663 yds, 15.4 ypc, 2
Walker appears to have made the transition from high school
quarterback to receiver finishing second on the team in
receptions last year. He was a big-play threat over the first
half of last year with four 100-yards games, but he was held in
check over the final four games of the season. While he has good
speed and is great in the open field, he'll have to prove he can
handle the responsibility of being the team's number one
receiver now that David Anderson is gone.
- Dustin Osborn, Sr. - 19 catches, 293 yds, 15.4 ypc, 5
The former walk-on saw his role diminish with the emergence of
Johnny Walker, but he was still a decent deep target and now
will take over the starting role at flanker. He made his big
catches in bunched scoring three times in the loss to Minnesota
and twice in the loss to Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl, and now
the hope is for consistent production after catching two or more
passes in a mere four games last season.
- Tight end Chris Kawulok, Soph.
Kawulok hit the weights hard over the last two years filling out
his frame into a solid 251-pound blocker. He has experience, but
he hasn't caught a pass yet used only to pound away for the
ground game. Now he'll have show off some hands and become a
reliable safety-valve target like former starter Matt Bartz used
- H-Back Kory Sperry, Jr. - 42 catches, 547 yds, 13 ypc,
There's a lot to get excited about with Sperry. He's a precise
route runner and a huge, 6-6, 260-pound target with pillow soft
hands finishing third on the team in receptions. The knee injury
that cost him most of last spring wasn't an issue, and now he
should blossom into an All-Mountain West performer if new
starting quarterback Caleb Hanie can keep feeding him the ball.
- Luke Roberts, Jr. - 16 catches, 293 yds, 18.3 ypc,
It's just a question of time before Roberts becomes one of the
team's best offensive weapons. He averaged a whopping 18.4 yards
per catch highlighted by a 123-yard, one touchdown day against
Air Force, but he wasn't able to show off his deep play ability
too much the rest of the way. At 6-2 and 218 pounds, he's a much
bigger target at flanker than Dustin Osborn.
- George Hill, Jr. - 12 catches, 118 yds, 9.8 ypc, 1 TD
Hill is a rail-thin 177 pounds on a 5-11 frame, but he's the
best all-around athlete in the receiving corps with 4.4 wheels
and tremendous leaping ability. Now he has to be used more as a
deep threat after averaging a mere 9.8 yards per catch. His
biggest role will likely be as the team's top kickoff returner
after averaging 20.2 yards per try last season.
- Damon Morton, Jr. - 4 catches, 101 yds, 25.2 ypc
It hasn't really clicked yet for Morton. He has led the team in
yards per catch over the last two seasons, but he only has ten
career grabs. He'll occasionally get the ball on reverses and
should start to see more passes his was as the third man in the
- Tight end Tyler Jorgensen, RFr.
Jorgensen spent last year in the weight room and now will
combine with Chris Kawulok at tight end. His playing time will
depend on his development as a blocker.
- H-Back Kevin McPeek, Soph.
McPeek had a rough season missing most of the year after
recovering from an illness that slimmed him down to 200 pounds.
He's up to 237 and should be back in playing shape enough to
start to build on the promise of a strong true freshman year as
a star on the scout team.
Three starters return to a line that wasn't all that bad
last season, but has to be more physical in the running game. It's a big
line among the starting five, but there's no appreciable D-I experience
among the backups and disaster will strike the offense if there's an
injury problem early on in the season. The tackles are athletic for
their size, while the interior is very strong.
The key to the unit: Quickly developing the reserve
and getting more holes opened up for the running game.
Offensive Line Rating: 6
- OT Clint Oldenburg, Sr.
The former tight end and guard looked like a natural at tackle as the
season went on, and now he'll be one of the team's steadiest blockers
with 22 career starts under his belt. He's an athletic 297 pounds who's
best in pass protection.
- OG Jerome Williams, Sr.
The bulldozer on the line, the 6-2, 334-pound senior doesn't have great
feet, but he should add more pop to the ground game as the team's
biggest lineman. He has a little bit of starting experience, and he
should benefit from playing on the left side next to Clint Oldenburg.
- C Nick Allotta, Jr.
Allotta stepped into the starting job and was solid enough to expect a
big season as the anchor of the line. He's a great athlete for being 6-3
and 304 pounds with tremendous strength.
- OG Josh Day, Sr.
Day should be the best player on the line. He has 22 career starts and
has the size at 6-4 and 304 pounds to become a better run blocker. He
has gotten bigger and stronger, and it should all pay off with an
all-conference caliber season.
- OT Dane Stratton, Soph.
An understudy for the last two seasons and a decent reserve last year,
it'll be Stratton's job on the right side. He has the size a 6-5 and 299
pounds, and now he has to show he can be a consistent pass protector.
- OT Justin D'Arcy, Sr.
D'Arcy only saw time in one game last year, but the former JUCO transfer
has the size at 315 pounds, and the experience from his pre-CSU days, to
be a key reserve at right tackle behind Dane Stratton.
- OG Daniel Crews, Soph.
Crews appeared ready to be a top backup last year before suffering an
arm injury that cost him the season. At 6-4 and 313 pounds, he's the
biggest reserve guard playing behind Jerome Williams on the left side.