Steve Fairchild is pretty sure the jury is still out his Colorado State Rams.
After winning seven games in 2008, the Rams started this past season 3-0 and proceeded to lose their final nine games. Fairchild doesn’t have a definitive reason for the slide, but he’s not convinced either season really defines his team.
“We won seven games that first year and I’m not sure we were that good of a football team,” Fairchild said. “We had a little bit of a skid this past season and I’m not sure we were that bad of a football team.
“I think the truth lies somewhere in between.”
Colorado State had a promising start after defeating rival Colorado at Folsom Field in Boulder, Colo. Then it defeated Weber State and a struggling Nevada team. But then the wheels came off. The Rams were manhandled by BYU, suffered some injuries and never fully got back on track. They lost three games by two points or less.
“I knew when I took this job that it was going to be a minimum three or four-year type of deal where we’re going to have to change everything from recruiting to getting a little commitment from the administration in terms of facilities,” Fairchild said. “It’s just a process. I think we didn’t take as good of a step as we would have liked to last year, but I’m quite confident that we’re headed in the right direction.”
Despite the poor season, the Rams did manage to wrap up the best recruiting class since Fairchild took the job.
For the second consecutive season, the Rams will have a quarterback competition in the spring. Senior Jon Eastman, junior T.J. Borcky, redshirt freshman Nico Ranieri and incoming freshman Pete Thomas all will be competing. Thomas was one of the top recruits in the class and he’s the favorite to win the starting job.
The Rams added a couple new coaches. Fairchild named Pat Meyer offensive coordinator and brought back Dan Hammerschmidt, who worked with the Rams in the 90s, to help with the passing game. Fairchild also will be intimately involved with all aspects of the offense.
“It will be the same system,” Fairchild said. “We’ll always tweak it and do some self analysis in the offseason, but I’m kind of the offensive coordinator anyway, I call the plays.”
The Rams do return 92 percent of their rushing yards and only lost two starters on defense. The biggest question will be the offensive line, for which Fairchild felt confident the Rams could find suitable replacements.
“I’ve said all along here, ever since I took this job that it’s a process that’s going to take three or four years before we even get there,” Fairchild said. “We’ll stack a few recruiting classes in there and get the type of depth and speed and things that we need to compete. We didn’t arrive after that first year and we’re not there yet and we probably won’t be there after next year. But we’ve just got to keep working.”