September 8, 2010

On the Matt: Needed offensive adjustments

The main issues Colorado State had in Saturday's Rocky Mountain Showdown loss to Colorado were on the offensive side of the ball. This week On the Matt, Senior Analyst Matt L. Stephens breaks down the main adjustments the Rams need to make heading into their Week 2 game at Nevada.

Establish a ground game

This is by far the most obvious change that Colorado State needs to make this week preparing for Nevada. The Rams could not get anything going on the ground outside of two end-around for freshman Tony Drake near the end of the game.

But you need to have an every-down running back be able to establish himself, and that starts with the offensive line. Raymond Carter doesn't have the breakaway speed Drake does, he's a more balanced runner. The offensive line must create holes and allow CSU to be two-dimensional.

Extend the passing game

Now I'm not saying that the Rams need to start going deep on fade routes all day long, but less of this rinky-dinky 2 yard routes that don't even get you close to the first down marker.

Yes, Pete Thomas showed struggles when it came to reads, primarily telegraphing too many passes, but when CSU did run routes between 15-20 yards, the Rams had success. Byron Steele had a great game receiving and established himself early as a go-to target.

Dump and screen passes are alright every once in a while, but the Rams don't run a West Coast offense.

Convert third downs

CSU was completely terrible when it came to converting third downs Saturday, going a whopping 1 for 12 on conversion attempts. There's no way around it, watching the Rams try to convert on third down at Invesco Field was more painful than listening to a baby cry on an airplane.

It doesn't matter how CSU manages to convert third downs, it just has to do it.

Clock management

This will happen often with a freshman quarterback, but I was really disappointed with the way CSU let so much time run off the clock while running the two-minute drill.

At the end of the first half, CSU should have had at least seven seconds left, a chance to take one shot at the end zone, rather than the four that forced the Rams to attempt a field goal that ultimately got blocked.

When you're in hurry up mode, you have to hurry up.

On top of the clock management at the end of the first half, there were two instances when Colorado wanted the previous play reviewed. CSU didn't try to expedite the next snap to negate any chance the previous play could be overturned, but took its time and allowed

Know the situation. That's what it comes down to.

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