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2007 Colorado State Preview

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jul 1, 2007


Preview 2007 Colorado State Rams

Colorado State Rams

Preview 2007

By Pete Fiutak

- 2007 CSU Offense Preview | 2007 CSU Defense Preview
-
2007 CSU Depth Chart
| 2006 CFN Colorado State Preview 

There was a time not all that long ago when Colorado State was a real, live powerhouse.

From 1994 to 2003, head coach Sonny Lubick had one of the best underground programs going. He had the type of team that annoyed the heck out of the bigger names, particularly Colorado (which it still does), and represented well in bowl games as a WAC power before becoming a force in the Mountain West. And then, everything started to go wrong.    

Head coach: Sonny Lubick
15th year: 105-65
19th year overall: 126-84
Returning Lettermen: 47
Lettermen Lost: 11
Ten Best Ram Players
1.
RB Kyle Bell, Jr.
2. FS Klint Kubiak, Jr.
3. DT/DE Blake Smith, Sr.
4. H-B Kory Sperry, Sr.
5. LB Jeff Horinek, Jr.
6. C Nick Allotta, Sr.
7. QB Caleb Hanie, Sr.
8. P Jimmie Kaylor, Sr.
9. CB Darryl Williams, Sr.
10. WR Johnny Walker, Sr.

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
5-7

Sept. 1

Colorado (in Denver)

Sept. 8

California

Sept. 22

at Houston

Sept. 29

at TCU

Oct. 6

San Diego State

Oct. 13

Air Force

Oct. 20

at UNLV

Oct. 27

Utah

Nov. 3

at BYU

Nov. 10

at New Mexico

Nov. 17

Georgia Southern

Nov. 23

Wyoming

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
5-7
2006 Record: 4-8

Preview 2006 predicted wins

9/2 Weber State W 30-6
9/9 Colorado W 14-10
9/16 at Nevada L 28-10
9/30 at Fresno State W 35-23
10/7 UNLV W 28-7
10/12 at Air Force L 24-21
10/21 at Wyoming L 24-0
10/28 New Mexico L 20-19
11/4 BYU L 24-3
11/11 at Utah L 35-22
11/25 TCU L 45-14
12/2 at San Diego St L 17-6

Going 14-19 over the last three years isn’t exactly what Ram fans have become accustomed to, and losing seven straight games to close out the 2006 season certainly wasn’t what anyone had in mind after a promising 4-1 start.

Is it a case of a program needing new blood and a fresh start after 18 years under Lubick? Why did it go so wrong and can it be turned around?

CSU hasn’t been able to put together a complete team in a few years. It ran well with Kyle Bell in 2005, but got steamrolled by any ground game with a pulse. The defense tightened up last year, but Bell was lost for the year in a preseason practice and the running attack was among the worst in America. Now, the Rams have to find the mojo and the confidence it had a few years ago. To do that, it has to be better on the lines.

Having a veteran quarterback like Caleb Hanie back will help the cause, but the season, and Lubick’s fate, depends on how his lines can push everyone around. With Bell set to return this fall and with everyone back on the defensive line and three starters back on the offensive front, the potential is there to be a more physical, more consistent team.

The coaching staff is still good, despite the recent record. The overall talent level is sound. Now Colorado State has to figure out how to be Colorado State again, and that starts by …

What to watch for on offense: … running, running, running. The program was at its best when it pounded away with players like Kevin McDougal, Cecil Sapp and quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt. Bell’s return should make a difference, but if he’s not quite back to 100%, someone else has to emerge right off the bat to take the pressure off the passing game. Hanie’s great when things are going well, and lousy when he has to do everything by himself. 

What to watch for on defense: The defense rebounded nicely after finishing 115th in the nation in run defense, and it should be a rock up front again despite the loss of outside linebackers Jon Radford and Luke Adams. The defensive front has the potential to be among the Mountain West’s best, and all four starters return to a secondary that was a pleasant surprise. Expect more attacking into the backfield as the defensive backs get more and more confident.

The team will be far better if … the defense forces more turnovers and figures out how to protect the quarterback. For a team that needed a spark, any spark, over the second half of the year, the inability to take the ball away, and seeing drive after drive die on a sack, helped speed up the downfall.
CSU was tied with UCF, and NC State for the fewest takeaways, 12, while the offensive line almost got Hanie killed allowing a whopping 41 sacks.

The Schedule: It's not a walk in the park. The early non-conference schedule is a bear starting with the nasty rivalry date with Colorado and followed up with California and a trip to Houston to face the defending Conference USA champion. If that wasn't a tough enough start, the Mountain West season opener is at TCU. On the plus side, three of the next four games are at home along with the final two dates of the year. Unfortunately, November trips to BYU and New Mexico could kill the season before the Rams get to make any noise against Georgia Southern and Wyoming.

Best Offensive Player: Junior RB Kyle Bell. It’s easy to dismiss the problems of the running game last season on the loss of Bell to his knee injury, but the offense had pinned all hopes on its star to carry the load after rushing for 1,288 yards and ten touchdowns in 2005. He’s expected to be back and as good as ever, helped by getting a full year to let the knee heal, and he has to be a pounder to take the focus off the passing game.

Best Defensive Player: Junior FS Klint Kubiak. The good: he led the team in tackles. The bad: he led the team in tackles. It’s never a plus when your free safety is making all the stops, but Kubiak was up to the task as the last line of defense. Unfortunately, it kept him from doing more against the pass. The secondary is experienced enough to let him roam free and make more plays.

Key player to a successful season: Offensive tackles Cole Pemberton and Dane Stratton. After an awful year in pass protection, and getting no push for the running game, the line has to be far better for the offense to be more productive. Most importantly, the tackles have to give Caleb Hanie more time to throw. Neither one saw a ton of time last season and will each have to be stars right away against the Colorado pass rush in the season opener.

The season will be a success if ... the Rams go to a bowl game again. The schedule isn’t all that easy, and the team still has plenty of issues to deal with, but there’s enough overall talent to get to a bowl game and finish with a winning season. Winning all the close games is a must, and overcoming a likely rough start by not getting too mentally down will be vital. Anything less than a seven wins will likely mean a new era in CSU football next year at this time.

Key game: Sept. 1 vs. Colorado. While the in-state rivalry has rarely been a measuring stick for the rest of the season, after losing the final seven games of last year the Rams have to come out roaring in Denver. A loss, especially if it’s not close, could be disastrous with a home date with California and trips to Houston and TCU to follow. An 11-game losing streak spanning two years wouldn’t be pretty.

2006 Fun Stats: 
- Penalties: Opponents 72 for 608 yards – Colorado State 57 for 467 yards
- Average rushing yards per game: Opponents 149.1 – Colorado State 76.5
- Sacks: Opponents 41 for 283 yards – Colorado State 27 for 161 yards

  

Related Stories
2007 Colorado State Preview - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 1, 2007
2007 Colorado State Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 1, 2007
2007 Colorado State Preview - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 1, 2007








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