Colorado State Suspensions Compound Early Growing Pains for Jim McElwain


An ugly situation challenges new Colorado State immediately into his tenure. Earlier this week, three Ram defenders were suspended indefinitely for involvement in what The


refers to

as a “beating” incident. The Big Lead

posted photos and videos

of the four freshmen allegedly assaulted, and the images are not for the faint of heart.

McElwain issued the below statement via

"“At this point, the three players reported to be involved in the incident over the weekend are indefinitely suspended from the football program. That means they are effectively no longer part of this team and will not take part in any football-related activity. We do not condone in any way, shape or form this type of behavior. It is completely unacceptable.“I understand people want me to remove them from the team immediately. But until the investigation concludes and due process takes its course, suspending them indefinitely is the strongest action I can take.“The vast majority of players in this program are good kids. They work hard and they do the right thing. They understand that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.”"

The act itself would be no less heinous were the players involved practice squad members, though McElwain might wish they had been. Comprising the trio are ends Nordly Capi and Colton Paulhaus, and linebacker Mike Orakpo.

Paulhaus saw sparing duty last season, but the other two are particularly noteworthy. Orakpo is the brother of former Texas All-American and current Washington Redskin Pro Bowler Brian Orakpo. He was CSU’s third leading tackler last season with 87, including three for loss, and picked off a pass.

Capi was a standout, earning 1st Team All-Mountain West honors for his 10 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss. He forced seven fumbles: more than Tyrann Mathieu, Jadeveon Clowney, Jake Knott or anyone other player not named Whitney Mercilus. Capi would have been an anchor for a defense returning other key contributors, but his future is uncertain.

McElwain’s statement indicates full cooperation with the law, and choosing severe punishment should due process find his players guilty. The suspensions are the latest addition to a trying first few months on the job for Alabama’s former offensive coordinator.

Quarterback Pete Thomas transferred from the program not long after McElwain was hired. Thomas struggled in his freshman campaign, but was the Rams’ starter throughout 2011. McElwain also opened tryouts to all CSU students to plug holes on the offensive line.