Watch out for CSU

Published: July 23, 2009, 11:47 am, by admin

It probably won’t happen this year.

And it might not happen next year.

But something tells me Steve Fairchild is going to get Colorado State back into the upper echelon of the Mountain West Conference. And probably sooner rather than later.

Just a gut feeling. I like the second-year coach’s no-nonsense attitude. I like his commitment to an offense based around a power running game (when 90 percent of the teams in college football – or so it seems – are moving to spread offenses). I like how much the Rams improved – and overachieved – in going 7-6 a season ago. And I like the history in Fort Collins – wasn’t so long ago the Rams dominated league play.

“Last season was kind of a nice, little – in a sense – righting the ship for our program,” Fairchild said Tuesday at the Mountain West Conference media days in Las Vegas. “It’s still our aim at Colorado State to get our football program back to being one of the elite teams in the Mountain West – being a team much like Utah has (been) to compete year in and year out for the conference championship. We’re not there yet by any stretch of the imagination, but we’re headed in the right direction, and I think we’ve got a good mindset for our football team. So the ‘09 season will be a very, very good barometer for how far we’ve come.”

As someone who grew up on the Redskins teams of the 1980s (when The Hogs became the most famous – or at least most recognized – offensive line in the game’s history), I still believe that football games – despite the rise of fancy, high-flying offenses – are won up front. And Colorado State is good up front.

The Rams return all five of their 2008 offensive line starters, and those players have combined to start 125 games – the most of any unit in the country heading into the 2009 season.

If the Rams have a breakout 2009, the line likely will have had a lot to do with it.

If the Rams don’t have a breakout 2009, look for such a season not too far down the line.

“I took this job with a long-term goal in mind,” Fairchild said. “And 18 months ago when I took this job I saw very clearly where we were, and I know very clearly where we want to get to. Now that road is not going to be smooth. We’re going to have some ups and downs along the way. We’ll just have to keep to our plan. This season is very important for us, but it’s not the end all. At some point, we’re going to get Colorado State football back where it belongs. This season is just another chance to take a step in the right direction.”