After suffering a 34-19 loss in Kalen Deboer’s head coaching debut, the Fresno State Bulldogs will host a Thursday night football game against the Colorado State Rams.
The Rams had their season opener canceled versus New Mexico due to COVID-19 concerns.
We spoke with Jack Taylor — the sports editor at the Rocky Mountain Collegian, student newspaper for Colorado State — to discuss the upcoming game.
Q: Colorado State’s first game of the season was canceled. Do you think not playing puts them at a disadvantage?
A: I believe that any team would suffer from their first true test of competition being canceled. I can not speak to what extent the Rams will be affected by the missed game, but the team and coaching staff are optimistic for a solid first showing for the 2020 team.
Q: Steve Addazio is making his debut for the Rams this Thursday. What made him the right pick for the Rams?
A: Consistency and toughness. Addazio is a veteran coach and demands a lot from his team; he wants them to the best that they can be. Hard-nosed. Fighting for every yard of football is something that (former head coach) Mike Bobo did not place high on his priority list for the team. Addazio and his coaching staff seem to be a breath of fresh air for the team.
Q: CSU beat Fresno State last season by scoring 17 points in the last quarter of the game. What can we expect to see from this year’s CSU team?
A: Addazio likes to run the ball, leveraging for consistent yards rather than taking chances down the field through the air. I expect to see long drives that are taxing on the Fresno State defense. However, this is college football; nobody knows what to expect.
Q: Are the Rams more confident heading into this game after Fresno State struggled vs. Hawai’i?
A: I can’t speak to the confidence of Rams heading to California for an away game, but coming up against an opponent who has lost their season opener is advantageous for the Rams’ first game back.
Q: Much like CSU, Fresno State has a new head coach — Kalen Deboer. Do you see any similarities between Deboer and Addazio?
A: Yes, both coaches are new to their respective teams, but they are nothing the same. Deboer prefers to pass on first down and look for shots deep down the field to open up his offensive scheme. Offensively, the matchup will be an old-school against new-school. As for defense, both coaches are question marks in my opinion. I am excited to see how both coaches plan on strategizing to take away each other’s bread and butter.
Q: Who are some impact players on both sides of the ball for the Rams?
A: On offense, Marcus McElroy Jr. has shown lots of improvement. He’s going to receive a lot of touches because of Addazios run-first scheme. Keep an eye on Trey McBride, he is an absolute unit at the tight-end position. His large frame is going to be essential to CSU’s run game. Defensively, our secondary unit is scary. Logan Stewart and Keevan Bailey will be in the spotlight to stop Fresno’s pass game.
Q: CSU had a huge COVID-19 outbreak within its campus. What’s the situation like now?
A: Just like every university in America, COVID-19 has had a major impact on day-to-day activities. Personally, most of my classes are online, staying home and away from possible exposure has been difficult, but manageable. I have full faith in our university administration to handle COVID-19 and keep our student body safe.
Q: Can you give us your prediction of the game?
A: 21-14 Rams take the win. Fear the green and gold.