Higgins and defense remain questions as CSU prepares for 2016

With the BCS National Championship in the books, college football teams can start looking to next year. For football fans in Fort Collins, the CSU Rams 2016 season can’t come soon enough. After a 10-3 season in 2014 under head coach Jim McElwain, expectations were certainly raised for the 2015 campaign.

Unfortunately, McElwain accepted an offer to coach the Florida Gators, and the Rams failed to reach those same heights under new coach Mike Bobo. An up-and-down 7-6 season concluded with a 28-23 loss to Nevada in the Arizona Bowl.

Tuesday on Mile High Sports AM 1340, Gil Whiteley chatted with Mike Brohard of the Loveland Reporter-Herald about what to expect from Rams  as they prepare for the 2016 season. The players are set to return to campus next Tuesday (Jan. 19) and training will resume soon after.

“They’ll amp up thier fourth quarter program,” said Brohard, “which Bobo said will be more intense than the previous years, and right now we’re just waiting for the days of spring football.” Brohard also mentioned signing day in February, and was anxious to see how Coach Bobo does in his target recruiting areas.

Atop the list of player discussion was the status of receiver Rashard Higgins.  Higgins is currently deciding whether to declare for the NFL draft, or return to Fort Collins for his senior season.

“I thought he was in a good position to go pro if he wanted to,” said Brohard of the situation. “I talked to a scout who felt he could be a third rounder, but the longer this decision takes, the more I start to wonder if he is coming back.”

Having Higgins on board for one more year of Rams football would help maintain CSU’s offensive production, which averaged over 29 points per game last year.  Higgins caught eight touchdowns and led the team in receiving for the third year in a row with 1,061 yards.

While Higgins may be a big question mark for the Rams, the rest of the offense is primed to improve on the previous season. Quarterback Nick Stevens, who tossed 21 touchdowns last years, will be under center again. Running back Jason Oden will not be returning, but Dalyn Dawkins will be pulling on the pads come the fall. Dawkins led the Rams in rushing yards last year (867 yards) and added a pair of touchdowns.

An area where the Rams could improve is defense. CSU allowed 27 points per game (67th among Division I schools), and some timely defense could make the difference in challenging for the Mountain West title.

The Rams will hold their annual Green and Gold scrimmage in April before taking on CU boulder at Sports Authority Field on Sept. 9.

Listen to the podcast below to hear the full conversation, including a discussion about Monday’s BCS National Championship game, in the podcast below…

Catch Gil Whiteley weekdays from 11a-1p on Mile High Sports AM 1340 or stream live any time for the best local coverage of what’s new and what’s next in Colorado sports.

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