“You can’t replace Rashard Higgins,” Mike Bobo said Friday, one week out from the start of the 2016 season.

Higgins, a 2014 consensus All-American wide receiver, took his 3,649 career receiving yards to the NFL following the 2015 season. And he isn’t the only playmaker the Colorado State head coach must replace this season.

Bobo joined Joe Williams, Kent Erickson and Benny Bash on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 in advance of the annual in-state rivalry game to talk about, among other things, how his team plans to replace the productivity of the program’s all-time leading receiver.

“I think we’re concerned about everything, both sides of the ball,” Bobo said. “Offensively, we’ve got a pretty good offensive line and some experience coming back at quarterback. You know, we have to be able to do both – run and throw the ball – to be effective.”

Bobo must replace several key producers on the offensive side of the ball, most notably Higgins, who is now with the Cleveland Browns.

“It’s hard to replace a Rashard Higgins,” Bobo admitted. “He caught 90-plus [passes] the year before I got here, 75 last year. And then a guy by the name of Joe Hansley, who’s from the Denver area, was a great player for us in the slot and a returner. [We] lost both tight ends who caught a lot of balls, so there was a lot of production offensively and Rashard was the main guy. You can’t replace Rashard Higgins, but we feel like we have some guys that are capable  and have had experience in games. I don’t know if we’ll have another guy as explosive like Rashard Higgins, but we’ll see.”

In 2015 Higgins ranked second in the Mountain West in both receiving yards and touchdowns one year removed from leading the entire nation in yards with now-Saints quarterback Garrett Grayson at quarterback. Overall, though, the team’s total offensive production didn’t change much. The distribution of wealth did, however.

Last year the Rams ranked third in the conference with 426 yards per game on an extremely balanced attack. Their 228.1 passing yards to 198.7 rushing yards ranked second and fifth in the conference, respectively. One year earlier, under Jim McElwain, CSU averaged 481 yards per game, with 321.6 of them coming through the air.

“The way our offense runs,” Bobo said, “the way I’d like it to run, is we’re balanced. Not just run-pass, but balanced in who we throw the ball to, too. A lot of it’s dictated on how they play coverage and the matchups we get, but I’m excited to see these new guys.”

Bobo has his eye on a transfer student to step in and assume the role of primary playmaker in Higgins’ absence.

“One guy in particular – Michael Gallup, a junior college kid from Butler in Kansas – has a chance to be an explosive player. Now, will he be a Rashard Higgins? I don’t know. But we’ll see. It’s going to be exciting. We’re going to throw it up there. Somebody’s gotta come down with it, they just won’t have 82 (Higgins’ number) on their jersey.”

With an experienced offensive line and a solid rushing game in place, Colorado State’s offense appears to be on track to replicate last year’s effort – especially if Nick Stevens returns as the starting quarterback. While Bobo has not named a starter publicly, it appears Stevens is in the driver’s seat.

Bobo knows his squad has plenty to accomplish prior to the Rocky Mountain Showdown, but he says the energy on campus leading up to the first week of football helps.

“Excitement is starting to pick up around here on campus. I know our guys are getting anxious. We still have a little work to get done first.”

Bobo’s Rams take on the University of Colorado in the Rocky Mountain Showdown to open the 2016 college football season on Friday, Sept. 2 at 6:00 p.m. Listen to the game on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 in Denver.