While the weather was wet Wednesday, the Rams got some good news, and some not so good news on the injury front.
Donnell Alexander and Jordon Vaden are listed as “probable,” while Joe Hansley and Charles Lovett are both “questionable” to play.
Alexander, who broke his hand in the Rocky Mountain Showdown, is a valuable running back to the Rams' offense.
“Probable, Donnell will play,” Jim McElwain said after practice Wednesday. “Unless unforeseen something happens; he falls on it tomorrow. He'll play.”
Alexander possesses a combination of speed and power, having him to play will be a big-time boost to an offense that's done almost nothing but struggle to sustain drives in their first two games.
McElwain also explained Alexander will likely see a lighter work load, but, “We'll split those reps and hopefully get into the hot hand.”
Kapri Bibbs has had that hot hand – or legs, as it would be – averaging 76 yards per game with two touchdowns, while senior Chris Nwoke came alive in Tulsa with 97 yards and a score of his own.
As for the three injured receivers, it sounds like both Hansley and Lovett are out this Saturday, while Vaden is a “wait and see.”
“Vaden's the one, who's on the probable, that I'm a little more nervous,” said Coach Mac. “Actually, I thought we'd be farther along. Hansley actually took some reps today in a red jersey. And I just, guys, I don't see Chuck (Lovett) being there. And Hansley, straight-up, is probably an emergency. And in Jordon's case, it's an acute deal that could change. But if we don't get a lot out of him tomorrow, he won't go. And, as you know, my policy is I'm not going to put somebody out there to put them at risk. Life's too short. Some people would, that's just not my deal.”
Without their three top receivers, McElwain also said freshmen Sammie Long and Xavier Williams could play this week, or at least sometime this season, and that their film will be looked at to evaluate if they're ready to play or not. It would mean burning their redshirts, but with this many injuries at a key position this early in the season, it may be a viable option.
Regardless, someone has to step up for Colorado State in their home opener this Saturday afternoon. That could be freshman Rashard Higgins, or it could be the Rams' talented duo of tight ends, Crockett Gillmore and Kivon Cartwright. It remains to be seen how well they can pass the ball to compliment the run game, and if it rains like Wednesday, they may not throw much at all.
Colorado State's hope opener at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium is set for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff this Saturday.