NCF Nation: Adrian Martinez

Colorado State started the 2009 season 3-0 before a stumble at BYU began a nine-game losing streak. Coach Steve Fairchild made some key moves on his coaching staff and thinks he can put his team back in contention for a bowl. There’s a lot of work to do this spring, but there’s also a lot of returning talent on the roster.

Here’s a look at the strongest and weakest positions for Colorado State this spring:

Strongest position: Running back

Key returners: Senior Leonard Mason (156 carries, 766 yards, two touchdowns), senior John Mosure (124 carries, 650 yards, seven touchdowns), sophomore Lou Greenwood (42 carries, 147 yards, two touchdowns)

Key departures: None

The skinny: The Rams return 92 percent of their running game, including the team’s top two rushers in Mason and Mosure. The depth at running back is probably better than any other position for the Rams when you include Greenwood, UCLA transfer Raymond Carter, redshirt freshman Chris Nwoke and true freshman Tony Drake. The Rams rushing offense averaged 144.25 yards per game last season, but might have some trouble keeping those numbers high if they can’t fill some holes on the offensive line.

Weakest position: Offensive line

Key returners: Junior tackle Paul Madsen

Key departures: Tackle Cole Pemberton, guard Shelley Smith, center Tim Walter, guard Adrian Martinez

The skinny: In 2009, the CSU offensive line was the deepest and most experienced position on the team. This year, not so much. Madsen returns, but he didn’t even start all of 2009. However, coach Steve Fairchild and offensive line coach Pat Meyer have been preparing for this since last spring and have made sure that there was depth on the line. Players such as Jake Gdowski and Mark Starr have experience and the other positions will be filled by redshirt and true freshmen. Getting the offensive line together will be key for both the running game and the Rams’ new quarterback.

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