FORT COLLINS -- Being it was a scrimmage -- especially one hyped up to have a game-like feel -- there were mixed results Saturday for Colorado State's football team.
The live part of the day only accounted for 26 plays, but much of the behind-the-scenes machinations were playing out, too, creating a bit of chaos at times.
In that framework, even the bad can be good as head coach Steve Fairchild came away with a pretty good idea of what needs to be worked on and which players on the roster will factor in heavily when the games are for real.
"There were some bright spots, and even defensively there were some," Fairchild said. "For us to be a good football team, defensively we have to play with a hell of a lot more energy, and offensively, we've got to clean up the beat-yourself type of stuff, the substitution errors and dropping the ball on the ground. We've got enough talent to be pretty darn good, but if we play flat defensively, we won't do it. And if we beat ourselves offensively we won't do it."
For the first time, coaches were in the press box (Larry Kerr heading the defensive side, Anthoney Hill representing the offense with grad assistants helping both), while on the field, they worked on substitution patterns and signaling play calls. It led to some sloppy play at times, but Fairchild said that was as much on the staff as the players themselves.
But the players have some work to do in spots, and there are areas that still are drawing Fairchild's regular criticism, namely wideout. Dropped balls were commonplace, and the fourth-year coach still craves consistency from the position as a whole.
"We're still waiting for a receiver to somewhat emerge," he said. "We're struggling there."
Starting quarterback Pete Thomas said he still expects big things from the group this season, but for the moment, his eyes are being drawn inside more and more to the tight ends, fullbacks and slot receivers.
"It's real hard to find an actual go-to receiver. There's not that many of them out there," he said after completing 2 of 4 passes in live periods, the big one a 32-yard hook-up with Marquis Law. "I feel like our receiving corps is real strong this year and they're going to do some real good things, but our tight ends and Fs that play in the slot, I'd say are our go-to guys right now, and they proved it today. With the type of guys we have inside, it's just going to open up the outside for the receivers to make plays."
The Rams will practice at the stadium again tonight, the official last day of camp before they take Monday off for the start of classes. On Tuesday, the team will start to focus on the New Mexico game, and with fewer players in the rotation on offense and defense, the expectation is things will clean up at a quicker pace.