These are some of my favorite articles to do every year. Each opponent is different, and every week I get to learn something new about another team. This week, CSU is up. Joshua Fredlund was kind enough to answer a few of my questions, and I tried my best to answer some of his. Look for those answers on the MWCConnection SBNation site. Anyways, here's some enemy intel on the CSU Rams.
1. Mike Bobo has been playing mind games in not naming an opening day starter at QB. Who do you think he goes with and could we see him pulled if he underperforms?
More than likely Bobo is going to go with Nick Stevens. I believe that Faton Bauta was brought in as an injury/worst case scenario type and to push Stevens. Stevens got better last year as it went on. I don't think he'll be pulled if he underperforms. But I do think Bauta will get some plays as he is seen as the running QB option for the Rams.Collin Hill will redshirt unless something nuclear happens and will eventually be the Rams QB of of the future. He enrolled for spring camp and Bobo was impressed with how much of the playbook he was able to pick up.
2. CSU lost a lot of experience on the D-line and in the secondary. How strong are these units and have they adapted well to the new 3-4 scheme implemented by Marty English?
The 3-4 scheme is new to those who weren't here two years ago as Marty English was the DC under Jim McElwain. Kevin Davis has said that it's slowly coming back to him as they get more and more into it. The D-Line while losing starters does have a little experience returning. They'll rotate linemen throughout the game to try and keep them fresh. I'm more worried about our secondary. We only have one returning starter, we have a WR convert starting at one corner, and we have a bunch of newcomers who are expected to rotate in. I would say the good news is that our secondary the past couple of years wasn't the best so we only have upwards to go.
3. The run game looks to be the strength of the team, and in the scrimmages the Rams have had, it seems like they have had great success. Is this success in the intrasquad scrimmages due more to great offense or porous defense?
The running game is definitely one of CSU's strengths. I would this is a combination of good offense and bad/tired defense. The defense has shown that it can handle itself when the time comes. I believe the stats come from the fact that CSU ran a full games worth of plays in both scrimmages; going about 120 plays each scrimmage. If the scrimmage stats are a result of porous defense, then the offense will need to produce those scrimmage like stats.
4. Who is the one player to watch on offense? What about on defense?
Offensive player to watch is Marvin Kinsey. He's been a running back that Bobo and the rest of the offense rave about. Even though he's listed third on the depth chart, expect Bobo to give him some plays. Defensive player to watch for is Jordon Vaden. He's the WR convert I mentioned earlier. He's a long, tall, lanky corner who is actually performing really well for having played WR the past three years.
5. Who do you think wins the game?
If CSU can get out of their own way, have the offense perform well, and have the defense not be terrible I think CSU can squeak this one out. If everything falls apart, expect a long game of Buff ball.