filed in Pre-game on Aug.27, 2003
CSU vs. CU
For perhaps the first time ever, The Colorado State Rams have the “big names” in the on-again-off-again showdown against the Buffs. QB Bradlee Van Pelt is a name now known around the country. Throwing for 2,073 yards and running for another 819 least year has definitely caught the attention of folks outside of the little, MWC. The second name that has garnered nearly as much attention, though more for his off-field moves, is RB Marcus Houston. Fresh off his recent transfer (isn’t there supposed to be a year of ineligibility somewhere? Oh well, I guess he’ll take it after he graduates.) Marcus Houston hopes to do for the Rams what he never could for the Buffs. Evidently Sunshine, I mean, Bradlee agrees. “I think he’ll go out and play CU and show them what they lost and what they mistreated.”
On the other sideline are the Buffs. Loaded with talent at tail back, wide receiver and all over the defense, there are none the less some critical questions. Will the O-line gel and open holes for Purify and Calhoun? If the O-line works, how will Klatt perform?
While Klatt may be pretty green when it comes to being the CU signal caller, he is not a stranger to big-time sports. Klatt played for 2 years in the San Diego Padres farm system. The experience he gained there gave Barnett the confidence to go with Klatt as the starter. Many of the players feel the same. Senior WR D.J. Hacket: “We feel extremely confident with him.” That pretty much sums it up.
The real key is the O-line. Everything in Barnett’s system keys off of it. The line sets up the running game. The running game sets up the passing game. The only returning starter is SR Marwan Hage – probably the best of last year’s strong line. A man who should have been an honorary lineman last year will also be missed; the Alaskan Assassin, Brandon Drumm.
On the defensive side of the ball things really start to get interesting. CSU returns seven starters from a year ago including the very impressive senior line backing duo of Eric Pauly and Drew Wood. The third returning senior is corner Dexter Wynn. Last year the Rams held opponents to 373.4 yards with 167.6 on the ground. That could be good news for us.
Now it’s time to get excited. The Buffs defense is definitely the strongest unit on the team. Watch out for Marques Harris, James Garee and Brandon Dabdoub. The line is expected to keep 6 to 8 players in rotation leading to fresh legs against a not-so-deep CSU O-line. At linebacker, the only one with meaningful experience is Sean Tufts. I wouldn’t be surprised if sophomore Chris Hollis is a name you will know well before long.
On special teams freshman Mason Crosby will get the nod for PAT’s and field goals and I can’t wait to see Bloom go yard again this year.
Aside from the what’s going on on the field there is Barnett. And the monkey that seems to be riding on his back. Let’s hope this year is different and he can win both the first and last game of the year. I hate to say it already, but the first game of the year is a must win.