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Colorado State's offensive tempo improves in blowout win over Wyoming

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November 8, 2015

 

Tempo, just like for a musician, is important for Colorado State football.

Imagine Miles Davis, the trumpeter extraordinaire who’s known for playing with a quick pace; CSU’s offense wants to be like Davis and play with a quick tempo. They’d also love to make something beautiful happen on the football field, just like Davis did on the stage.

On Monday, before the team’s “come to Jesus meeting,” as head coach Mike Bobo said was going to occur that day, there was a sign sitting in the meeting room. That sign read in part, “Our offense is untamed and ferocious. Our tempo is unmatched. We will wear down our opponents play after play.”

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It seems that sign’s message sunk in; the Rams worked with better tempo than we’ve seen for most of the season and they wore the Cowboys down with a relentless rushing attack and won the game 26-7.

The first drive of the day was punctuated with tremendous tempo. The Rams ran to the line, not allowing the Cowboys to get set for long enough, as Dalyn Dawkins took advantage with quick, explosive runs. That quick tempo pushed the Rams into scoring range where they slowed down a bit and eventually had Izzy Matthews dive over the pile to score for the 7-0 lead.

On their next two drives, which each started in Wyoming territory, the Rams moved the ball with a slower, more regular tempo. On the fourth drive, though, when the Rams got down into the red zone, they turned the tempo up again. After a Xavier Williams catch for a first down, CSU quickly got to the line and ran the ball with Matthews, Wyoming wasn’t ready.

And after that fourth drive, the Rams led 23-0, scoring three touchdowns and one field goal; completely having their way with Wyoming’s defense.

All season long we’ve heard of Bobo talking about how important a fast tempo is to his offense and on Saturday we saw its effectiveness, at least early. The Rams are a work in progress, as their 4-5 record shows in Bobo’s first season, but they’re getting it, they’re learning, they’re catching on.

“I was,” Bobo said about being happy with his team’s quick tempo early. “Guys were running up fast, we were trying to get set and come off the ball. We were running zone plays, whether it was a one-back or two-back zone play. The backs were doing a nice job of surging and hitting the cut-back.

“I talked about wanting to play conservative but I still wanted to play fast,” Bobo explained. “I think we had 40-something plays in the first half because of the tempo. And we just couldn’t match it in the second half because of penalties.”

Colorado State can use the experience in the quick tempo they played with in the first half of Saturday’s game and continue to do so in their final three contests. The fast pace makes it difficult for the defense to get set in time and gives the advantage to the offense.

CSU moved to the line with speed and ran the ball for big gains in the up-tempo attack; look for them to do the same the rest of this season as well as even more in the near future with Bobo as head coach.

Ram fans have been frustrated and even upset with the way Bobo’s team has played this season, but with all the changes, success simply takes time. Finally, nine games into the season, we saw Colorado State’s offense clicking; they’ll only continue to improve as this season winds down.

While they might not hit the tempo in which Bobo wants them to play with every week this year, they will during his tenure. And when that day comes, Ram fans who doubted Bobo will eat crow.

Until then, Ram fans can simply enjoy this season-defining win which saved Colorado State’s bowl hopes.

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