Colorado State Rams Football: 2015 Season Preview


After a successful 2014 season for the Colorado State Rams under head coach Jim McElwain, what should we expect from the program under first-year head coach Mike Bobo in 2015?

Colorado State went 10-3 last year and came in second place to the Boise State Broncos in the Mountain West Mountain division last year with one of the more prolific offenses in the country led by quarterback Garrett Grayson.

Under head coach Jim McElwain, the Rams finished with the nation’s No. 8 passing offense with an average of 321.6 yards per game as Grayson and wide receiver Rashard Higgins formed one of the most lethal passing duos in college football.

But enter the 2015 season and McElwain is gone after taking the job with the Florida Gators and Grayson was a third round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft as the Rams could take a big step back this year.

Offensive Outlook

Grayson was nothing short of spectacular last year when he threw for 4,0006 yards and 32 touchdowns and etched his name all over the Colorado State record book. With Grayson gone the offense will be led by quarterback Nick Stevens who attempted only 25 passes last year as the backup to Grayson.

Stevens should be able to handle the duties asked of new head coach Mike Bobo who came to Colorado State after years as the offensive coordinator at Georgia and brings his pro-style offense to the Rams.

Stevens will encounter growing pains along the way but he will be able to lean on Higgins who was a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s best receiver after leading the nation in yards with 1,750 and touchdowns with 17. Also helping Stevens in the passing game is All-MWC tight end Steven Walker and fellow tight end Kivon Cartwright.

Three starters return on the offensive line but gone is leading rusher Dee Hart after he rushed for 1,275 yards and 16 touchdowns. There could be a committee approach this year in the backfield with Purdue transfer Dalyn Dawkins, Treyous Jarrells and Jasen Oden competing for carries.

Defensive Outlook

The defense will have a radical new look with the Rams switching from the 3-4 they’ve run under McElwain to a 4-3 after Bobo hired former UCF coordinator Tyson Summers. During his one-year stint as the full-time DC at UCF, Summers showed he likes to be aggressive and limited big plays. Colorado State is hoping that will follow him to the MWC.

The defensive line will shift from occupying blockers to allow the four linebackers to make plays without offensive linemen hanging over them and will be asked to get in the backfield and make plays. Defensive end Joe Kawulok is the best player on the unit and will be counted on having a strong year.

They should have some nice support in the back seven with linebackers Cory James leading a unit that includes Kevin Davis, Deionte Clyburn and Kiel Robinson who looked like an impact performer during spring practice.

Experience isn’t lacking in the secondary where four starters return. Free safety Kevin Pierre-Louis is the leading returning tackler for the team and is supported by Trent Matthews, nickel back Preston Hodges and cornerback Tyree Simmons.


Colorado State had one of their finest seasons in program history last year but the Rams will be hard pressed to have a second straight 10-win season after losing McElwain, Grayson and Hart. Higgins remains one of the best receivers in the nation but if Stevens struggles and can’t get him the ball, the offense will struggle under Bobo who came under fire at Georgia for his play-calling.

The season ultimately hinges on how well they fare in October when they travel to Utah State, host Boise State and Air Force and San Diego State and while I don’t think they win 10 again, a third straight bowl game should be a certainty.

Next: Ranking the Coaching Hires this Offseason

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