First-year Colorado State football coach Jim McElwain saw the traits of a winning team last week when the Rams played UNLV in Fort Collins. Resilient, confident and aggressive, Colorado State earned perhaps its most impressive victory in a difficult season.
His message to his team now: Dont be a one-hit wonder.
The Rams visit Boise State on Saturday. Their other wins have come against Colorado in the season opener and Hawaii on Oct. 27.
Hes definitely pushed the whole team working together as one thing, senior left tackle Joe Caprioglio said of McElwain. You can definitely see it taking hold. Theres a really good team atmosphere going on.
McElwain has turned this team over to its young players. The expected starters this week include a freshman quarterback (Conner Smith), a freshman tailback (Donnell Alexander), three sophomores on offense, three freshmen on defense and four sophomores on defense. Thats 12 underclassmen among 22 starters.
One of the things from a cultural standpoint here is for guys to understand its cool to do it right, McElwain said. Its cool to have high energy in what youre doing and not to be suppressed into the negative.
Some of the young guys who maybe havent been tainted (by the past), they understand it and theyre taking control.
The Rams lost six in a row all by double figures after that defeat of rival Colorado, one of the nations worst teams. They broke the slump with an offense that has generated 35.3 points per game in the past three weeks.
No team wants to work hard and lose. Its been tough, Caprioglio said. But I know everyone on this team would say were going in the right direction. Everyone has bought into the system. We have faith were going to turn it around.
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398,Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat