Rams could start using two running backs

FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- Colorado State may have a new look on offense next season.

Offensive coordinator Dan Hammerschmidt said this week he is considering using two running backs. For 12 years, the Rams had the same basic one-back set.

"We're not going to change anything scheme-wise," Hammerschmidt said. "We're still going to be a zone-blocking team that lines up with two and three tight ends and plays power football. But having two backs gives us some versatility we haven't had."

The biggest reason for the change is the graduation of Joel Dreessen, CSU's all-Mountain West Conference tight end/halfback. Dreessen was the leading pass-catching tight end in school history and a dominant blocker who could line up in multiple positions.

"Dreessen was just a great blocker; so naturally strong, and he had such great leverage," Hammerschmidt said. "We asked a lot out of him in our blocking scheme. He took a beating and almost never missed a play. We just don't have a guy like him coming back."

Senior tight end Matt Bartz missed most of last season with a knee injury and will be limited in what he can do at spring practice. Sophomore Kory Sperry, an H-back, has the same problems and Brandon Alconcel, a backup at both positions, has been moved to offensive guard.

The Rams do have plenty of running backs. Senior Jimmy Green, sophomore Kyle Bell and redshirt freshman Gartrell Johnson should be available this spring, while redshirt freshman Tramell McGill and incoming UCLA transfer Nnamdi Ohaeri are expected to play this fall.

Hammerschmidt said his bigger backs -- Green and Bell both weigh 220-plus pounds -- would be ideal in two-back formations.

"It will be interesting to see if Jimmy or Kyle can do what we need," he said. "Both are big, tough guys, and both are pretty good blockers. I think they will make good lead blockers."

The running game got another boost when Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak -- whose son, Klint, signed with the Rams earlier this month -- spent a day with the CSU coaching staff discussing the Broncos' running game.

"The Broncos are pretty similar to us, and I think we learned some stuff that we can put to use," Hammerschmidt said. "You've got to get your bread-and-butter plays and make them work, which is what we hope to do. Not only do you have fewer mistakes, but the kids play faster when they know what they are doing."