Colorado State didn't just have their ego bruised in the beating by the Colorado Buffaloes, their bodies are still trying to mend, too.
Only three players were listed on the Rams' Week Two injury report, but all three are incredibly important to the same offense that largely struggled last Sunday.
Wide receivers Charles Lovett (knee) and Joe Hansley (ankle) are each doubtful head coach Jim McElwain said post-practice Wednesday, while running back Donnell Alexander (broken hand) is questionable.
“From an injury standpoint today, right now, I'd say Hansley's doubtful,” explained McElwain. “Lovett's probably doubtful; tried to go today, didn't see the juice we were looking for. And Donnell, readjust him tomorrow at the hand specialist, and should have a better idea there. Not saying that they probably couldn't go, with a certain boost here and there, but you know what guys, life's too short. It's not worth anything from a life-altering deal down the road and so, I just don't believe in doing that to players. When they're ready, their bodies will tell them.”
Lovett was the team's top receiving threat last season, and after missing the Rocky Mountain Showdown, he likely won't play this week either. Hansley was sensational Sunday, with eight catches for 91 yards and a 74-yard punt return touchdown. He wore a boot on that ankle at practice and missing him will be a big blow to not only the offense, but special teams, too.
Without arguably their top two receivers, Coach Mac rattled off many names that have to step up this week for CSU.
“Jordon's (Vaden) got to really step up,” he said. “Thomas Coffman has been doing some good things on the outside, move Jordon down inside and obviously try to get some things out of (Robert) Ruiz. And then, Rashard (Higgins), we need to get the ball in his hands and let him go to work a little bit. It probably means as well, some of the other guys – Xavier Williams might have to step up and get rolling at the receiver spot – and obviously, Austin Gray is still a little tight with that shoulder as you could see on the catch in the game. But, we're just going to have to move forward and go get after it.
Also, “Willy Udofia played extensively (on special teams), and he's another guy that can play at 'X',” McElwain finished on the injury news.
That means a ton of young guys need to bring their focus, attention to detail and shake off that “deer in the headlights” stare they had going in the first game. This time, away from Colorado, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Alexander was the team's starting running back, but broke his hand early in the game three days ago. He was wearing a big cast on the hand, with only his thumb and fore fingers free to move. With the job of securing the ball, it seems unlikely the sophomore back will see the field for at least a couple weeks.
McElwain said he hopes to see senior Chris Nwoke play a bigger role, and that Kapri Bibbs will run the ball for the Rams in Alexander's absence as well. If he indeed does sit this week.
0-1 Colorado State faces the 0-1 Tulsa Golden Hurricane Saturday at 5 p.m. MT. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network and the official watch party will be at Taps Sports Bar and Grill.