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Steve Addazio, Todd Centeio remain confident as 2021 season approaches

Justin Michael Avatar
August 11, 2021

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — It’s all about “Toddy.”

There is reason to believe that Colorado State Football is going to be an extremely tough opponent for anyone they line up against in 2021. 

The Rams have NFL-caliber players all over the skill positions, including but not limited to David Bailey (RB), Dante Wright (WR), Trey McBride (TE) and Cameron Butler (TE). According to both the coaching staff and veteran players, the offensive line is both more skilled and more intense than in previous years as well. 

On the defensive side, expectations are about as high as they have been in a decade, which makes sense considering the Rams return everyone on the defensive line, their most productive linebackers, and a group of defensive backs that have played a lot of football over the years. 

So really, the biggest question mark for CSU at the moment is what type of production the Rams can expect from Todd Centeio at quarterback. 

Colorado State football quarterback Todd Centeio scrambles during the first day of fall practice outside Canvas Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021.

In one start at Fresno State last season, Centeio was 10-of-23 (43.5 percent) for 141 yards through the air. He also rushed for 80 yards on 13 attempts, for an average of 6.2 yards per carry. Unfortunately for Centeio, though, the former-Temple QB injured his foot in the loss to the Bulldogs which resulted in him missing the following game versus Wyoming. 

After Patrick O’Brien led the Rams to victory over the Pokes, Centeio saw cleanup action against Boise State and San Diego State, though he didn’t exactly light it up in either game. Centeio was 2-of-9 for 36 yards and a touchdown against the Broncos. He was 2-of-4 for 50 yards with an interception versus the Aztecs. 

The first person that will tell you that he needs to perform better this season is Centeio himself. In an extended interview with the local media on Tuesday, the veteran QB admitted that he didn’t feel like he showed what he is truly capable of in 2020. “I don’t believe I put the best tape out,” Centeio said. 

According to Centeio, injuries definitely limited his potential. After hurting his foot against Fresno State, Centeio injured his index finger on his throwing hand against Boise State. “It really hindered my play,” Centeio said. 

“The index finger is the last thing that comes off the football. So it really affected me. It was painful to throw. But you know, I had to try and push through it for the sake of the team.” 

Centeio was honest when asked about the impact a disrupted training camp and a wonky four-game season had on him. He explained that just when things were starting to ramp up in camp, they were then off for nearly a month as the Mountain West had originally determined the league wasn’t going to participate in fall competition. The players continued to work out through those stages, but according to Centeio, the process of conditioning their bodies to contact was thoroughly disrupted. 

“I feel like that’s a reason I wasn’t as healthy as I could have been,” Centeio said. 

Finally healthy again, Centeio said that he’s feeling really good, and that he’s enjoying the opportunity to excel. As Centeio explained, he wants to continue to improve his football IQ, but he’s not at all worried about his ability to complete passes this fall. When asked about what he did to improve his accuracy issues this offseason, Centeio bluntly expressed that he’s not an impaired passer. He believes that while he is an effective runner, he’s actually most effective with his arm. 

“I truly believe that,” Centeio said with a smile. “I really can’t wait to show you guys.”

Todd Centeio scrambles in the open field against Fresno State. PHOTO: Brandon Randall (CSU Athletics)

As confident as Centeio is in his own abilities, it still doesn’t match the enthusiasm that his coach shows when asked about his starting QB. 

According to Addazio, Centeio did some really great things against Fresno State, including displaying an explosive capability. He continued that there were a couple of missed throws and a few dropped balls, but for a guy making his first college start amid some pretty unique circumstances, Addazio was really pleased with what he saw overall. 

“He started that game because he was the best leader, best competitor, and he had done the things necessary to be in that game,” Addazio said. 

Addazio continued, explaining that everyone likes to pinpoint passing stats and use them as the single determining factor for whether a quarterback is good or not. But to Addazio, there is so much more to the position — primarily leadership qualities — something Centeio has in spades. 

“You don’t measure quarterbacks with their spirals,” Addazio said. “You measure quarterbacks by their ability to win, their ability to lead, their intangibles. That’s what’s critically important. And the players know. They know when guys have that, or they don’t have that. And Toddy has that.” 

In Addazio’s coaching career he has been around CFB legends like Donovan McNabb, Tim Tebow and Cam Newton. All of the aforementioned were criticized for issues throwing the football at various points in their career, but what they all had in common was the ability to lead their teams during the heat of competition. When the lights shined brightest, they were the most relentless competitors on the field. 

Addazio reflected on Tebow’s time at Florida, and talked about watching Tebow in high school with defensive coordinator Chuck Heater. In that game Tebow led his squad to a state championship with a fractured bone in his leg. 

“I mean he just had it,” Addazio said of Tebow. “I used to tell Urban (Meyer) and Urban laughs about it. Like I said, in a staff meeting one day, that dude would stare a bear down and throw the ball. I mean, you could come right down and like you’re going to split his chin in the boat, he’s not gonna flinch. How do you measure that?”

Addazio completed his trip down memory lane with a general synopsis on how he evaluates the immeasurable qualities like leadership.

“When you see a guy who you know has the ability to go out, and in the most competitive moments can play his most competitive football, you’ve got somebody special there,” Addazio said. 

He also talked about the progress Centeio has made this fall, stating that he has made great strides as a passer under offensive coordinator Jon Budmayr. 

“I’m so impressed with him right now in training camp,” Addazio said. “He’s highly accurate, and thrown the crap out of the ball. Never mind the fact that he can beat you with his feet. And he’s leading. He’s on top.”

For Centeio, in addition to being healthy, he believes the biggest key to his success this season will come from preparation. After living through a season where the team didn’t get to fully experience training camp and then started the campaign shorthanded, Centeio is taking advantage of every opportunity available to him. He’s worked with the wide receivers throughout the summer, and now that the season is just around the corner, he doesn’t want any opportunities to slip through his fingers. 

“I don’t want to feel like that again,” Centeio said. “I want to be the quarterback and have the it factor for the team. Everybody knows that I can do this. And I believe that I can do this. That’s where I’m at.”


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