Coach: Sonny Lubick
74-34-0, 9 years
2001 Record: 7-5
Colorado LOST 14-41
at Wyoming WON 42-14
at Louisville LOST 2-7
at UNLV WON 26-24
UTAH WON 19-17
at Brigham Young LOST 34-56
at New Mexico WON 24-17
North Texas WON 45-20

2001 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

Cecil Sapp looked as good as new this spring and ready to reestablish himself as one of the MWC's top rushers. - (Photo courtesy of The Courier-Journal / Keith Williams)
2002 Outlook

Head Coach Sonny Lubick has turned this CSU program around every year for the last decade. His 74-34 record here contains only one losing season of 5-6, his first year in 1993, and no losing conference records at all in nine years (52-17 total, an astounding 27-8 road record better than his 25-9 at home!). His 34-17 overall road record makes this team composed, and therefore dangerous if it can gain confidence with an early winning roll.

But Van Pelt plus their (lacking) size up front on defense precludes this team from looking too far ahead. Their early opener at ACC contender Virginia, and then a game at UCLA after playing cross-state nemesis Colorado in between will tell tale of this teams success. Then the trendy CSU-Louisville rivalry comes to town. The Rams have to be at least 3-1 at this point to seriously think they have a shot at finishing in the polls (CSU has made three major top 25 rankings by years end, each time with two losses, never with more). The 2001 Rams lost three of their first six games by 15 points total to be a 2-4 team by half way through the season. A trend exists…

…An 18-16 total September record during Lubick's tenure has potentially cost some great squads. With other 2002 MWC tests against Utah, BYU, and Air Force, and then Fresno State too, these Rams can rank highly with success against so many tough teams. Almost as much as winning, taking so many tough games, especially non-conference, has made Colorado State competitive in pollster's minds year-to-year. The Ram's approach goes a long way towards legitimizing themselves and the entire MWC, as BYU has done.
All of this means…CSU should ultimately post a winning record to make a fifth straight bowl appearance.

Projected 2002 record: 8-6

QB - 3 DL - 2.5
RB - 3.5 LB - 3.5
WR - 2.5 DB - 3
OL - 2 ..

Passing: Bradlee Van Pelt, 94-194-10, 1247 Yards, 8 TD's

Rushing: Henri Childs, 166 att., 841 yds., 4 TD's

Receiving: Joel Dreessen, 22 rec., 205 yds., 2 TD's

Scoring: Bradlee Van Pelt, 5 TD's, 34 pts.

Punting: Joey Huber, 56 punts, 43.0 avg.

Kicking: none

Tackles: Eric Pauly, 115 tot., 67 solo

Sacks: Peter Hogan, 3 sacks

Interceptions: Drew Wood, 3 for 4 yds.

Kickoff returns: Dexter Wynn, 12 ret., 26.1 avg.

Punt returns: Dexter Wynn, 14 ret., 15.3 avg.


OFFENSE: Duan Ruff-RB, Pete Rebstock-WR, Dallas Davis-WR, Jose Ochoa-TE, Broc Finlayson-OG, David Shohet-OT, Kent Naughton-K
DEFENSE: Lucas Smith-NT, Geoff Graue-DE, Justin Gallimore-CB, Aaron Sprague-SS, Jason Gallimore-FS, Ameer Lowe-FS

written by: David Hershorin

This year's version of the Ram's offense has plenty to look forward to developing in 2002. The key will be a quality balance in junior QB Bradlee Van Pelt. He has the potential to lethally mix running and passing. But he is still unproven (47% pass completion, 12 INTs in 2001) as either a passing threat or a consistently effective starter. Last year's 158 yards passing per game for Van Pelt just isn't enough to make secondaries play on their heels yet, though his foot speed and savvy might. Van Pelt's progress will be a barometer of the Rams offensively.

The return of senior RB Cecil Sapp after missing all of 2001 with a heel tumor promises to open new holes in defenses. He led the 2000 Colorado State squad in rushing and to a Liberty Bowl victory (Sapp won game MVP). Cecil the Diesel's power style should perfectly compliment 'slash' style player senior Henri Childs (led CSU - 841 rush yds in 2001) and the speedy Van Pelt. We'll just see who blocks for whom out of those three - something has to give there. Slashly stated, Henri Childs plays wide receiver almost as well as he runs out of the backfield. With Sapp back, look for Childs to line up as a play-action receiver and in the slot more than last year. Childs and Van Pelt must pose multiple-scenarioed double-threats that defensive coordinators will be unable to fully cover.

Junior Chris Pittman and senior Joey Cuppari (both over 6'0") should, if thrown to enough, fulfill their potential(s) as projected starters (although they combined for a mere 16 catches last year). The receiving corps needs to establish itself quickly to give Van Pelt the outlet(s) mobile QBs need as they scramble. H-back Joey Dreessen has to use last year's 22 grabs as a confidence builder so as to be Van Pelt's 'go-to-guy' instantly, something Van Pelt will need with this year's schedule. Without a competent passing threat, this offense will be predictable enough to stop.
In considering the linemen, the Colorado State weak side looks covered by experienced returning seniors Aaron Green and Morgan Pears. Center Mark Dreyer also is solid, but ironically enough, the strong side is weak. The blocking Rams on this side of the ball have their work cut out for them. Quality 'option' blocking will be crucial to spread defensive schemes and freeze LBs with an effective, balanced attack based on mobile big men like these.


Returning Starters in Bold
QB Bradlee Van Pelt-Jr Justin Holland-Fr
RB Cecil Sapp-Jr Henri Childs-Sr
H-Bk Joel Dreessen-So Brandon Alconcel-Fr
WR Joey Cuppari-Sr Eric Hill-Jr
WR Chris Pittman-Jr Russell Sprague-Jr
TE James Sondrup-Jr Matt Baldischwiler-So
OT Aaron Green-Sr Jason Speciner-So
OG Morgan Pears-Sr Mike Brisiel-Fr
C Mark Dreyer-Jr Jon Van Lant-So
OG Terrell Gardner-Jr Albert Bimper-Fr
OT Erik Pears-So Zeke Hacker-Jr
K Jeff Babcock-So Kevin Mark-Fr



written by: David Hershorin

Most of CSU's front-seven linemen seem to reflect a bad trend - small in size equaled few sacks and even worse run-stopping in 2001. The team gave up 211 rushing yards per game last year, and all four 2002 starting down-linemen (255lbs, 270lbs, 285lbs, 245lbs across from left to right) combined for just 7 sacks and 14 tackles-for-loss in 2001 (CSU totaled only 19 sacks). DEs Peter Hogan and Wallace Thomas need to step into a leadership roles to make this unit solid. A good start to run-plugging in 2001 was up-ended when the Rams gave up 200 yards plus in four of their last five games (410yds @ BYU, 359yds to Air Force @ home).

The size issue bleeds into the LBs. OLB David Vickers (208lbs) and MLB Drew Wood (230lbs - 18 tackles vs. UNLV was 2001team high for single game) will need to play consistently tough and smart like junior OLB Eric Pauly (220lbs) does every play. So why isn't Pauly's proven back-up Adam Wade starting (six tackles-for-loss in 2001)? Look for Wade rotating in early and often. The linebacking corps is the key to lowering a dismal 43% 3rd-down conversion rate by opponents.

The secondary has stand-out junior Dexter Wynn to bank on, along with RCB Rhett Nelson. Last year's numbers were respectable, with CSU giving up only 216 passing yards per game. But Wynn has to stay healthy for this defense to improve. Duh. The two inexperienced safeties and second-string cornerbacks (replacing three of the top five Ram tacklers - departed brothers Gallimore and Aaron Sprague) will also be tested early and often (no 2001 starts by any of the four, 0 INTs). The quality of this secondary is to be equally measured by its ability to help stop the run as well as the pass. If the Rams run-stopping is as porous as 2001, though, the pass defense will struggle. Having to regularly send an extra man into the box will negate any coverage advantages that the secondary may establish. Easily exploited last year, CSU's nickel and dime packages become critical, too. Even the 'Wynn Factor' can't cover two men at once.

Special Teams: This was a major advantage for the Rams in 2001, something which needs to continue this year. Dexter Wynn was fifth nationally in punt return average (15.1yds/return). Returning senior punter Joey Huber was second in the MWC in 2001 with 43 yard average. This makes the net punting averages reflect a 40.3yd (fifth nationally) to 29.5yd advantage for CSU - a factor that won crucial defensive field position struggles for the 2001 Rams. The kicking game was just as dominant, most critically on defense, giving up only 19.6yds per return. Four blocked punts for scores last year helped, too. They weren't bad on returns, either, ranking fifth again nationally with 26.5yds average per kick-return. Special Teams can and did win games, a likely scenario again with much the same at the talent positions in 2002.


Returning Starters in Bold
DE Peter Hogan-Sr Pat McGraw-So
NT Bryan Save-Jr Kelesio Howard-Jr
DT Patrick Goodpaster-So Jonathan Simon-So
DE Wallace Thomas-Sr Andre Sommersell-Jr
SLB David Vickers-Sr Frostee Rucker-Fr
MLB Drew Wood-Jr Jeff Flora-So
WLB Eric Pauly-Jr Adam Wade-Jr
CB Dexter Wynn-Jr Jason Sanchez-So
CB Rhett Nelson-Sr Jesse Rivers-Fr
SS Landon Jones-So Jason Hepp-Jr
FS Miles Kochevar-Fr Travis Campbell-Jr
P Joey Huber-Sr Kevin Mark-Fr
Bradlee Van Pelt showed signs of stardom with quick feet and a big arm.