WR David Anderson
Coach: Sonny Lubick
91-44, 11 years
2003 Record: 7-6
vs. Colorado LOST 35-42
at California WON 23-21
at Brigham Young WON 58-13
at Wyoming LOST 28-35
at New Mexico LOST 34-37
at UNLV WON 24-23
Boston College LOST 21-35

2003 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2004 Outlook

Consistency is the word to describe Sonny Lubick's 12-year tenure (91-44) as Ram head coach. His current ten consecutive winning seasons are only matched (or beaten) by FSU (26), Texas (14), Tennessee (12), Kansas State (11), Virginia Tech (11) and Purdue (10). Such company, and we'll bet that most of you do not realize Lubick's CSU has joined them. CSU is 77-4 in games they lead going into the fourth, and 25-6 when holding foes under 300 yards. The Green and Gold are 62-21 in conference games and 42-21 on the road with Sonny, so expect little to change result-wise from the revamped troops of this master motivator.

With this said, Sonny has to have a strong turnaround after a highly-touted Ram squad disappointed greatly with so much senior leadership last year. Enough is different that it is difficult to predict just how all of these fresh, new variables will play themselves out when brought together.

Holland is highly anticipated, but has (at) Colorado, (at) Southern Cal, and then Minnesota to set him in motion. His learning curve has to be steep and fast, or he risks having no wins by the conference slate. The second two are winnable, but, most importantly, the test in L.A. cannot become a deflating experience. By the time this offensive line syncs with Holland (which should be by October), foes will be sorry.

On defense, these guys are stacked with athletes, but not size. The line has some girth, but the LBs are going to be tested against the bigger non-cons linemen. Look for the outside routes (along with running inside) to be the chosen method of exploitation for foes, that is until these new CBs can adjust to their isolated status. As stated, look for simple coverage(s) to start (that Leinart will exploit). Once you see the Ram secondary clicking, the entire 'D' will, too.

New Mexico, Utah, and Air Force will help to close and define the 2004 Colorado State Rams. Holland has to expect mixed results in his first starting year - opponents that dreaded having to chase Van Pelt are excited to know Holland is not as mobile, and they will come after him until he (like the CBs) can keep them honest. Just like Holland, Ram fans have to expect mixed results until this new group can find genuine leadership and plant their own roots into the Hughes Stadium/Sonny Lubick Field turf. And once they achieve their own identity this way, they become the best university squad in the state.

Patience will eventually heed consistency.

Projected 2004 record: 6-5
QB - 3.5 DL - 2
RB - 3 LB - 2
WR - 3.5 DB - 2
OL - 2.5 ..

Passing: Justin Holland, 55-37-2, 381 yds., 3 TD

Rushing: Marcus Houston, 158 att., 636 yds., 9 TD

Receiving: David Anderson, 72 rec., 1293 yds., 9 TD

Scoring: Jeff Babcock, 13-19 FG, 46-48 PAT, 85 pts.

Punting: Jeff Babcock, 50 punts, 42.1 avg.

Kicking: Jeff Babcock, 13-19 FG, 46-48 PAT, 85 pts.

Tackles: Ben Stratton, 79 tot., 50 solo

Sacks: Patrick Goodpaster, 5 sacks

Interceptions: Ben Stratton, 4 for 35 yds., 1 TD

Kickoff returns: David Anderson, 13 ret., 13.4 avg., 0 TD

Punt returns: David Anderson, 3 ret., 5.3 avg., 0 TD


DE Patrick Goodpaster
OFFENSE: Jamie Amicarella-OL, Mark Dreyer-OL, Chris Pittman-WR, Rahsaan Sanders-RB, Bradlee Van Pelt-QB
DEFENSE: Jeff Flora-LB, Lavell Mann-DL, Benny Mastropaolo-DB, Eric Pauly-LB, Bryan Save-DL, Andre Sommersell-DL, Drew Wood-LB, Dexter Wynn-DB

This position's fundamental change will be the most important team pivot for the entire campaign. Justin Holland is a prototypical passer with an arm to match. He can throw a clothesline 40 yards and sees the field well for his experience, which is not much. Once Holland develops as a real starter, only a good pass rush will stop his aerial efforts. But, like backup Joey Kearney, he is not a mobile sort of guy. Holland has speed (HS track letterman), but stands and delivers without many scheduled runs to keep foes guessing. Kearney is a walk-on who has continually surprised to get to this level. Either is no serious threat to run, and defenses will surely know this and affect the flow with vaunted pressure schemes. If not, Holland is capable of picking even the best secondaries apart. Once Holland is patient and takes his time with what defenses give him, he will be deadly.

Running Back
Denver-native Marcus Houston is a slasher who looks to be the starter. He is good, but will have to prove he can adapt to being the main backfield running threat. The bulls-eye on his back is large, but he is likely to benefit from being the first part of a one-two ground punch. His backup, junior Jimmy Green, is a diesel - not Cecil, but close. Green will be a physical presence who will run over opponents just when they think they can pin their ears back going for Holland. Green thrives as a backup whom opponents don't have on their radar. His speed is deceptive for a big back. This unit has even more depth, and they often run alone when their number is called. No true fullback means both will see time. Calls for passes to go the Ram RBs' way(s) are almost non-existent, but look for that to change with Holland, unless RBs are needed for protection, which is not a likely scenario by October.

The three-wide receiver sets State utilizes are complex, and the unit they have is capable and proven within them. Often lining up a hybrid-TE/FB as an "H-Back', the match ups the Rams impose are difficult to stop. Senior Joel Dreesen is exceptional at this, forcing confusion and mismatches galore with his size (though Dreesen was oft injured with an abdominal strain in '03, missing four games). David Anderson is also knowledgeable of the Ram's system and will be a steady target for the talents of Holland. Depth here has potential, but is untested. Newcomer Johnny Walker is so anticipated, only time can tell how far he will go. The size of the incoming talent is nice, so look early for a huge rotation to be imposed to keep all fresh. This rotation will also make (any lack of) real-game experience in this unit an afterthought by the conference tilts. When they throw to the RBs, this unit could develop even more, likely garnering 40+ catches for three or four.

Tight End
Matt Bartz is a sure-handed snarler and a solid blocker, too. Most of his efforts as a viable receiver have to be taken seriously - they will throw multiple times (in one game) his way if/when they find LBs isolated on him.

Offensive Line
This line is looking pretty good, with both starting tackles returning and experience at each spot. Much of the other experienced guys are not returning starters, but they saw enough of that all-around action with Van Pelt that only the pocket-passing will pose a challenge to protect. CSU is likely to run less, so their work is cut out for them with respect to stopping pass-rushers in predictable situations. Without a mobile QB, these guys can dig in and use their strength without having to sacrifice footing foundations in moving laterally. The line's adaptability to the new (2004) offensive styles will be second in importance only to the QB adjustments.

The team's offensive balance, personified through the approach of now-departed QB Bradlee Van Pelt, has to again be earned. The option is out, and what ensues will be an approach that better-embraces their unique "H-Back" style through a higher volume of passing plays. Justin Holland is qualified - he is one of five prep QBs to ever reach 10,000 career yards and was both a Parade all-American and the in-state Gatorade Player of the Year (2000) while graduating as a member of the National Honor Society (3.8 GPA). In other words…smart and talented, a proven combination. He has the wares to take CSU to places Van Pelt evidently couldn't. These receivers will make it an easy break-in period for Justin, such that he will be able to concentrate on leading the team with this much competence surrounding him (seven upperclassmen start). Look for play-calling dilemmas to start as OC Dan Hammerschmidt adjusts to the players' (in)abilities in this new approach. But Dan is also the QB coach, so expect this learning period to be short.


QB Justin Holland


Returning Starters in bold
QB Justin Holland-Jr (6-3, 201) Joey Kearney-So (6-0, 189)
RB Jimmy Green-Jr (5-11, 225) Marcus Houston-Sr (6-2, 206)
WR David Anderson-Jr (5-11, 192) John Walker-Fr (6-0, 184)
WR Dustin Osborn-So (6-0, 194) Luke Roberts-Fr (6-2, 208)
H Joel Dreessen-Sr (6-4, 260) Brandon Alconcel-Jr (6-4, 263)
TE Matt Bartz-Jr (6-3, 249) Clint Oldenburg-So (6-5, 255)
OT Mike Brisiel-Jr (6-5, 300) Dan Crews-Fr (6-4, 314)
OG Josh Day-So (6-4, 296) Nick Allotta-Fr (6-3, 292)
C Jassem Redha-So (6-3, 310) ..
OG Albert Bimper-Jr (6-1, 315) Jason Haskell-So (6-3, 280)
OT Erik Pears-Sr (6-8, 315) Justin Tyler-Fr (6-7, 344)
K Jeff Babcock-Sr (5-9, 188) Kevin Mark-Jr (6-2, 180)



Defensive Line
Patrick Goodpaster leads a crew here that is a mixed bag of sizes and experience. Goodpaster is a well-sized rush-end who can disrupt and penetrate. His counterparts, though, are smaller with much less real-game knowledge. RS frosh Blake Smith leapfrogged junior Steve Olech, solidifying his inside spot with solid spring play. The interior was a soft spot in the run-stopping efforts, as surrendering four-plus per carry to opposing rushers ranked State sixth in the MWC. The '03 sack total (29) promises that these eager Ram linemen can/will deliver on any and all levels. These guys will carry their weight.

This is an area of concern. Like many smaller LB units, these guys can cover better than they can run-stop. Jahmal Hall is the most experienced - a smart kid with strong leadership qualities, but he is listed at 183 pounds! The two Jones - Courtney and Landon - round out the middle and other outside spots, and the former is the largest LB on the first two strings at 232. Look for teams to commit an extra helmet and/or lead blocker to run with regular success. Keeping the play in front of them will be the key to this unit not being a liability. With all that said, we do realize the Rams match up well here with many pass-happy Mountain West foes.

Defensive Back
The safeties are solid, but the corners are both new and small. Former-CB Ben Stratton, now the free safety, has the size and pop to make receivers worry when crossing the middle. He is again healthy and fully ready (hamstring). But corners Cathy and Levine are of concern until proven. There is no quality depth at corner, either. The trial-by-fire that begins their non-con slate has to be endured, with learning as the primary goal. Any failures early cannot become the beginnings of a "psychological avalanche" effect, as the MWC air attacks then commence. With efforts from 2003 that ranked them only 69th in pass efficiency defense, a new, Wynn-less approach may surprisingly produce better results. Look for predictable two-deeps and basic nickel/dime packages to graduate to more developed coverages.

With such mixed results, the first season in coordinator Steve Stanard's tenure tells us little. Vast amounts of talent produced only two respectable, commanding overall defensive performances - (10/4) versus Fresno State - 34-10, and (10/9) versus BYU - 58-13. Otherwise, this squad was constantly challenged and rarely kept opponents from making big plays and challenging weekly for the win. This version has a strong line, but suspect LBs and CBs that will be exploited early and often. These two marginal units should be schemed to support each other with zone coverages that force opponents into the middle, the Ram's strongest deep area. One trend that will continue is CSU's inability to stop rushers who penetrate into their second tiers. Once running in the open field, opposing RBs will again hurt these Rams.


FS Ben Stratton


Returning Starters in bold
DE Patrick Goodpaster-Sr (6-3, 275) Tom Martindale-Jr (6-6, 244)
NT Delroy Parker-Jr (6-2, 298) Erik Sandie-Fr (6-2, 270)
DT Jonathan Simon-Sr (6-6, 285) Blake Smith-Fr (6-2, 269)
DE Luke Adkins-So (6-2, 229) Terrance Carter-Jr (6-3, 239)
SLB Jahmal Hall-Jr (6-0, 183) John Nichols-Fr (6-2, 218)
MLB Courtney Jones-Jr (6-1, 232) Zach Morse-Fr (6-4, 228)
WLB Chris Davis-Jr (6-0, 226) Landon Jones-Jr (6-2, 219)
CB Brandon Cathy-Fr (5-10, 186) Darryl Williams-Fr (5-9, 174)
CB Liddon Levine-Fr (5-10, 186) Daniel Foster-So (5-10, 176)
SS Adam Lancisero-Sr (5-9, 198) Joey Flores-So (6-3, 207)
FS Ben Stratton-Jr (6-2, 210) Lukas Davis-So (6-1, 207)
P Jeff Babcock-Sr (5-9, 188) Jim Kaylor-Fr (6-3, 194)




Senior Jeff Babcock is consistent enough to make this dimension a plus for the Rams. Babcock is a little over 50% from past the 30 on FGAs. More importantly for State, he is an achieved punter who has enough control and power to have hit it 42+ while ranking 14th nationally for net results with his coverage unit. Kevin Mack is tapped for KOs, so as not to overuse Babcock's leg.

Coverage again will be strong, for the defensive units are quick and deep enough to predict such. They have achieved in this area since Lubick has been around, so why should that change, huh? The big difference will be the Dexter Wynn-less return game. David Anderson tried to break in under Wynn's tutelage, but clearly failed. The RBs look to be deep, as do the WRs, so expect a youngster (like Walker) to emerge and be given both return jobs.