Three players that stood out for the Rams Saturday
Colorado State football held its first scrimmage of the 2018 season Saturday in front of a modest showing from the community. While there was no official score kept for the scrimmage, the format had the 1's from the offense square off with the 1's from the defense, and the 2's faced each other on both sides of the ball as well.
In general the Rams fielded a pretty healthy squad on Saturday, but there were a variety of players that wore orange jerseys to signify limited to no contact. Safety Jordan Fogal, wide receiver Bisi Johnson, and running backs Izzy Matthews and Marcus McElroy were all in orange Saturday, along with all of the quarterbacks.
According to head coach Mike Bobo this was simply a precautionary manner to limit potential injuries of proven players. Wide receiver Preston Williams is already dinged up with a groin injury, so the fourth-year head coach wanted to be cautious with some of his experienced players.
Due to the nature of the scrimmage, the offense predominantly dominated Saturday, but Bobo praised the efforts of players on both sides of the football. The play-calling was vanilla and designed to get a good look at the passing offense, so the defense only sent pressure packages twice all day.
Who Stood Out:
1. K.J. Carta-Samuels: The Washington transfer QB had a really nice performance in his first official scrimmage as a CSU Ram. Carta-Samuels threw three touchdowns on the day and made a variety of impressive touch passes Saturday as well.
Obviously this was not a true-game scenario and the pressure he faced was not as intense as what he will face in a real game, but it was definitely a positive sign to see Carta-Samuels command the offense well and make good decisions.
According to Bobo, Carta-Samuels has really come into his own over the last four or five practices and has displayed a strong command of the offense. Bobo still trusts his other quarterbacks, but the work Carta-Samuels is putting in right now leads to believe that he will be starting under center when CSU faces Hawaii on Aug. 25.
2. Cam Butler: Butler did not reach the end zone Saturday until the team began the red zone drills but it is clear that the sophomore tight end is going to play a big part in the Rams' passing offense. Bobo explained that having to replace the production of Michael Gallup (1,418 receiving yards) and Dalyn Dawkins (1,709 all-purpose yards) means that the offense is going to need a variety of players to step up. The coaching staff expects that the tight ends will play a large role in replacing some of that production.
Butler has great size which makes him a mismatch for defensive backs and he is much too quick for most linebackers. Butler recorded 12 catches and three touchdowns in 2017, which was the most by a freshman tight end at CSU since Matt Bartz in 2002. He will play a much larger role in 2018 though as the tight ends in general are going to see the field more.
The team ran most of its sets of its 12-personnel, meaning the offense had two tight ends on the field and only one running back in the backfield. Bobo explained that this gives the offense more flexibility through the air, particularly because of how athletic his tight ends are.
3. Warren Jackson: Following the scrimmage, Bobo said that he turned to his wide receivers coach, Alvis Whitted and told him that No. 9 has a chance to be a man this season. And after Jackson's performance Saturday, this is not surprising at all. Jackson looked virtually impossible to cover in one-on-one situations, going up and over defenders to make a play on the ball multiple times throughout the scrimmage.
Jackson came into the 2017 season limited with a foot injury and still managed to make an impact in the passing offense as a true freshman. Now completely healthy for the first time in his collegiate career, Jackson has looked like a monster throughout training camp. According to Bobo, it would not be surprising if Jackson ends up being one of the best wide receivers to ever step on the field for CSU.
- Quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels hit wide receiver Warren Jackson on a fade in the corner of the end zone and Jackson went up and over the defensive back to secure the touchdown. The play looked a lot like Jackson's touchdown at the University of Alabama in 2017.
- Later in the scrimmage, Carta-Samuels connected with wide receiver Bisi Johnson, who burned a defensive back for a 27-yard touchdown.
- Running back Rashaad Boddie beat a linebacker to the sideline, then cut up field for a 35-yard touchdown run. Boddie outran three defenders on the play and displayed impressive burst for a back of his size. Later in the scrimmage, Boddie dropped his shoulder on a defender in the open field and displayed his athleticism.
- Running back Marvin Kinsey did not score a touchdown, but he looked a lot like the Kinsey of 2016 in the scrimmage. The junior running back had a 45-yard run in which he made a nice cut through the hole and bursted forward for the big gain. Had it not been for a diving tackle, Kinsey would have taken it all the way to the end zone.
- Linebacker Trey Sutton intercepted quarterback Justice McCoy early in the scrimmage. After having a rough spring period, defensive coordinator John Jancek told the media on Thursday that Sutton has impressed the staff throughout training camp.
- Near the end of the scrimmage, linebacker Josh Watson intercepted Carta-Samuels at midfield during the one-minute drill. Carta-Samuels tried to get the ball to a tight end and Watson jumped the route, made a nice catch for an interception. According to Bobo, the ball was thrown slightly behind the tight end but Watson made an impressive catch.
1. 20-yard TD pass from Justice McCoy (QB) to Nikko Hall (WR)
2. 4-yard TD pass from K.J. Carta-Samuels (QB) to Warren Jackson (WR)
3. 26-yard field goal from Wyatt Bryan
4. 26-yard TD pass from (QB) K.J. Carta-Samuels to Olabisi Johnson (WR)
5. 3-yard RD run from Rashaad Boddie
6. 20-yard TD pass from Judd Erickson (QB) to Griffin Hammer (TE)
7. 10-yard TD Pass from K.J. Carta-Samuels (QB) to Warren Jackson (WR)
8. 2-yard TD run from Rashaad Boddie
9. 3-yard TD pass from K.J. Carta-Samuels (QB) to Cam Butler (TE)
PHOTOS: Courtesy of CSU Athletics.