The Ralphie Report sat down with the fine Mountain West blog on SBNation, MWCConnection, to discuss Colorado State and their true freshman quarterback heading into tomorrow's game. We will post Jeremy's response's to our questions as soon as they are up.
After a pretty great start, what happened to the Rams in 2009?
Their quarterback play was wildly inconsistent and not very good from Grant Stucker and the fact that after their 3-0 start they played four straight bowl teams in Utah, BYU, Idaho, and TCU. Even had Colorado State beat Idaho they would have been sitting at 4-3, but going 0-4 in that stretch just killed their confidence and everything when down hill from there.
What is the biggest strength and weakness of the 2010 Rams?
The biggest strength is the depth at running back as the Rams go four deep, and it starts with UCLA transfer Raymond Carter then include last years leading rusher in John Mosure. The offensive line is not as experienced as last year (not that it mattered) but the depth at running back should allow the team to help out true freshman quarterback Pete Thomas who was recently named the starter. The offensive line is the main concern this year which will directly impact their running game which looks to be their strength.
How good should we expect true freshman quarterback Pete Thomas to be this year?
He did enroll early so he could participate in the spring which is always a plus and was a four star recruit rated by Rivals. He has talent and he was named the starter back in the spring so there has been no controversy over who will be the starter during fall camp. The coaches seem to like him a lot but he is a freshman quarterback and while there has been success over the past year with Utah's Jordan Wynn, USC's Matt Barkley, or Wyoming's Austin Carta-Samuels they all had hiccups during their rookie campaign. The Rams lost their top receivers from last year so the passing game is almost starting from scratch, so expect the Rams to run the ball a lot and have Thomas be more of a game manager rather than a play maker.
What does Colorado State have to do to win this game?
Establish a running game so that freshman quarterback Pete Thomas does not have to win the game himself. Also, if the Rams can cause pressure on the quarterback play because Colorado is not strong at that position and if the Ram defense can get into the head of Tyler Hansen then the Rams have a very good chance. The problem for the Rams is that they may be playing at least six true freshman in this game and that is never a good thing when a team is currently riding a nine game losing streak.
I think if the Colorado run defense is as bad as they were last year then the Rams will have a really good shot to win this game with their running game. Neither team is expected to be great this year, and in Saturday's game what ever team has less turnovers will win. I know that is cliche to say, but this game will not be a blow out either way and whoever makes less mistakes will win this game.
How do you see the Rams finishing the season and in what direction do you think the program is headed?
I think Steve Fairchild is a good coach and last year they had some bad luck with that tough four game stretch of BYU, Utah, TCU, and Idaho which killed any momentum they had. By playing an influx of true freshman this year will struggle, but the payoff will come in a year or two, and perhaps return the Rams to the glory days of the late 90's and early 2000's when they were the force in the WAC/MWC. One advantage that Steve Fairchild has is that he was in the NFL and can tell players what it takes to get to the NFL so he may see an uptick in recruiting by getting a player they may not have ever gotten.
As for this year four or five wins is the best that the Rams may accomplish because their offense is based on their offensive line stepping up and allowing Pete Thomas to have time to throw and make holes for the talented group of running backs they have.