Colorado State will open fall football camp Saturday with two practices, but coach Jim McElwain isn’t trying to get a jump on the competition. Instead, he is giving the first-year players a chance to acclimate to the program without getting lost in the shuffle.
It’s a bit of a return to the old days when freshmen were able to report for drills before the veterans, a practice the NCAA scraped nearly a decade ago.
“There was a time when you actually brought freshman in for three to five days or whatever, and I thought that was great,” McElwain said. “It gave them an opportunity to not being the back of the line right away. Learn how to do Ram-jacks, learn how to flex, learn the fight song – you know, a lot of important things that help you.
“What we try to accomplish in just that one day is actually, guys, this is how we practice. Boom, this is the drill, you’re going from here. That kind of thing. We’re just doing it for one day, and it gives us an opportunity as well that they are up first in line. That’s really where it’s at and the reason for it.”
McElwain also dismissed the notion in his pre-camp press conference that the new players are his and he’d like them to take over the reigns this season. He said in his first meeting with the roster he inherited that he empowered them to take over and turn things around. By no means will they be left behind, but rather, will be asked to lead the charge.
“They don’t deserve that at all,” McElwain said. “I hope those younger guys, we’re able to season them and that this crew of guys that we have are able to take it and say, this is our team and we’re going to make it something special. I truly believe in that.”
McElwain also touched on the Rams’ rivalry games, starting with the season opener Sept. 1 with Colorado in Denver. He naturally likes the game, but more so, what it can mean to the state.
“I think that it is an outstanding game to have. I believe this, we need both teams to have great years and be successful,” he said. “I mean both teams, because it helps the whole state of Colorado. It helps the high school football in the state for us to be successful. Now, on that given day, I hope they aren’t successful, but I also understand what the strength of programs in a state can do for everybody. It can do for college athletics, it can do for both universities.”