The Horned Frogs have learned in the past not to judge a team by its record. With the Colorado State Rams coming into Saturday’s game at 0-3 this season, head coach Gary Patterson said the Rams will be a tougher opponent than they appear. “We’re going to have to play our best football game to this date to be able to win this ball game,” Patterson said.
The Frogs head into Saturday’s game at 2-2 following a 21-7 victory against SMU. In order to have its first winning streak of the season, Patterson said the team must improve from last week.
One aspect of the game Patterson said his team must improve on is the amount of turnovers the offense has committed. The offense has committed 11 turnovers this season – more than half the turnovers committed during the 2006 campaign.
“If we would’ve scored and didn’t turn the ball over the last two weeks in the Air Force and SMU game, we probably would’ve scored 14 more points in both ball games,” Patterson said.
On offense, both redshirt freshman Andy Dalton and sophomore Marcus Jackson will share snaps at quarterback as they did in the SMU game.
Junior center Blake Schlueter said though there may be some competition at the quarterback position, there is no controversy.
“We have two great quarterbacks who are very capable of leading our offense as they have both shown this season,” Schlueter said. “Whoever is quarterback, we’re totally going to be behind him, support him and block for him just the same.”
Junior running back Aaron Brown will be back for his third game of the season, and Patterson said that he will be in better shape this week than he was last week. Brown missed two games due to a knee injury in the Baylor game. Schlueter said having Brown’s presence on the field has quite an impact.
“He brings an extra spark, different style of running, and a little more speed so he can kind of stay up in the tackles a little more,” Schlueter said. “Seeing him in the huddle is a huge motivation.”
Patterson said the offense must improve on time of possession.
Senior defensive end Chase Ortiz said the extensive amount of time the offense spent on the field made a tremendous difference on the defense.
“The best defense is a good offense,” Ortiz said. “As long as the offense is moving the ball and we’re off the field, it’s hard for the other team to put up points.”
Ortiz said the main threat the Rams pose for the defense is running back Kyle Bell, who is averaging more than 100 yards a game with three touchdowns this season. In order to keep him from having a successful game, Ortiz said the key to stopping Bell is controlling him before he gets started.
The defensive line will be without standout senior defensive end Tommy Blake, who has taken a medical leave of absence. Patterson said the team is doing what is best for Blake.
“We’ve tried for three weeks to push him through but that hasn’t been a positive, especially for him,” Patterson said. “As a football team, we have to be able to move on since we’re getting into the tough part of the season.”
Patterson said Blake’s
situation will be re-evaluated in two weeks. Until then, junior Matt Panfil will fill in for Blake at defensive end.
In order to come out with a victory Saturday, Patterson said that the Frogs will have to excel in all parts of the game, because the Rams are not likely to make a lot of mistakes.
“They’re one of the teams you got to beat,” Patterson said.
The Rams come to Fort Worth after losing to Houston. With three tough losses in a row, Patterson said the Rams come into Amon Carter Stadium with a lot to play for.
“We’re trying to get to 1-1 in the conference, and they haven’t played any conference games,” Patterson said. “So their motivation is they have a new season.