Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Rocky Mountain News: Cal's speed presents next challenge for CSU

Jackson top threat, but Golden Bears fast all over the field

By Randy Holtz, Rocky Mountain News

FORT COLLINS - Sonny Lubick answered the question. Well, sort of.  Lubick, when asked Monday if his Colorado State Rams will kick the ball to dangerous California punt-return man DeSean Jackson on Saturday at Hughes Stadium, smiled and answered with a comment and another question.  "We'll probably see how we feel going into the stadium," Lubick said. "We'll probably punt to him. That's what the fans want to see, don't they?"  Cal fans unquestionably would answer yes. But CSU fans are justified in being terrified of Jackson, the athletic junior who burned Tennessee with a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown during Cal's season-opening win against Tennessee.  Jackson's big return helped the Golden Bears score an impressive 45-31 victory against the Volunteers in Berkeley, Calif., a win that confirmed Cal's No. 12 preseason national ranking. It was Jackson's fifth career punt return for a touchdown, and Lubick and his staff know all about the speedy Los Angeles native.  "He's just like advertised," Lubick said of Jackson, who also is a major threat as a wideout. "He's something extra special, a pretty darned good football player. He made that punt return look like a walk in the park."  The kickoff is set for noon Saturday on CSTV. Lubick, for his part, doesn't believe the hypotheses that the high-and-mighty Bears will come into Sonny Lubick Field overlooking the Rams.  "As a coach, as a staff and as players, we know Cal will not take us lightly," he said. "They're an excellent team and they're a well- coached team, and that's not going to happen."

Lubick spent part of his regular Monday news conference looking back on the Rams' season-opening 31-28 overtime loss to rival Colorado at Invesco Field at Mile High, but he generally was upbeat about the way his team played.  He knows what a win Saturday would mean to his program, especially since it's against a ranked team. Also, CSU will be trying to snap an eight-game losing skein that dates to last fall.  "It could mean a lot to our program and our season if we won this game. I think it would make people forget about a lot of things. A win like this would be immensely great for our student body and our entire school. But it'll be a formidable challenge."  Lubick is impressed with Cal's overall team speed.  "That concerns everybody who will play them this year," Lubick said. "Their tailbacks are very fast and they have some very fast guys on defense. We'll have to keep their backs from hitting the crease, because they're the kind of guys that if you give them a small crease, they can pop it for 40 or 50 yards."  Lubick said he anticipates no significant lineup changes from Saturday, though he hopes to get backup cornerbacks DeAngelo Wilkinson and Jermaine Walters more involved. Also, defensive lineman Bob Vomhof is expected to play more. He played Saturday but was limited to a handful of plays after arthroscopic knee surgery.  Lubick said Kyle Bell suffered no ill effects from his 40-carry day. Bell missed last season after tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament, but his knee held up fine under duress against the Buffaloes.

ETC.: CSU special-teams coach Dave Arnold was back in the office breaking down film Sunday morning after being hospitalized with fatigue after the game Saturday. Arnold was on the field coaching Monday. . . . About 5,000 tickets remain for Saturday, at $40 each. Ticket information: (800) 491- 7267. . . . Lubick and selected players will speak at a pep rally at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Old Town Square in downtown Fort Collins. Also present will be Cam the Ram and the CSU marching band. . . . CSU will wear throwback jerseys against Cal to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the school's name change from Colorado A&M to Colorado State and nickname change from Aggies to Rams.


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