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2022 Early Spring Predictions


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  • #31
    I’m not going to rank the teams in the order I think they’ll finish. I don’t have enough specific knowledge about each team to make a fair assessment. Instead, I’m going to give you my “cheap seat” assessment of CSU-Pueblo’s team. First I’ll share some thoughts about last year’s team. And secondly, I’ll tell you what CSUP’s opponents are likely to see this coming season and where the team is likely to finish in the conference.

    According to folks in the peanut gallery, the T-Wolves were not prepared to play the games on their schedule last year from day one, for several reasons. For one, University President Dr. Timothy Mottet hampered what the team was allowed to do during the pandemic off-year. What’s more, CSUP didn’t adequately fill the void created by the retirement of its former strength and conditioning coach, Allen Hedrick, at the end of the 2019 season. Instead it hired a coach who lasted less than two years and who didn’t prepare the players to compete at a high level physically. Moreover, the T-Wolves didn’t have an effective spring training session in 2021. There wasn’t even a Spring Game. Other teams, like Western State, played at least one game and practiced for others that were cancelled. Most conference teams were prepared when the 2021 season rolled around. CSUP was not.

    To make matters worse, Mottet made decisions that led to a parting of ways between CSUP and its most ardent supporters, the Friends of Football. Dan DeRose, a spokesman for the organization, told the media that he and members of his organization believed that Mottet was leading the T-Wolves in a direction opposite of the “values, beliefs, and priorities” that his group believed in; that such actions had been happening for quite some time. Mottet didn’t address DeRose’s assertions. Instead, he claimed that a mandatory vaccination for students was at the center of the dispute. DeRose disagrees. The mandate was only a small part of the story he said, "but it's a great example" of the disagreements they had with the president's office. In the end, The Friends of Football graciously donated the Thunderbowl football stadium and other assets on the campus to the university's foundation. The Friends of Football disbanded. The stadium was renamed and CSUP lost one of the most powerful booster organizations in all of DII football.

    The 2021 T-Wolves roster included enough talented players to compete for an RMAC title. Three players got minicamp tryouts with NFL teams. One got an invitation from the Kansas City Chiefs while two got invitations from the Denver Broncos. A wide receiver went to the Edmonton Elks in the CFL. And another signed with the Arena Football League's Green Bay Blizzard. In addition, two were named to The 2021 Don Hansen NCAA Division II All-America Honorable Mention list.

    The T-Wolves should have had a better season given the talent on the team. But talent doesn’t win games. Scoring points and stopping opponents does. To some fans, The Pack looked like a cheap imitation of its former self. No blocking. No running game. No passing game. Missed field goals. Missed tackles. No interceptions. No sense of urgency. And most of all, no “Pack Football.” That led to a dismal 5-loss season. Since the football program was resurrected in 2008 the T-Wolves have had only 1 season with that many losses. That was in 2008. That year CSUP lost 6 games. In 2009 CSUP lost 4 games. Since that time the Pack has averaged no more than 2 losses a year. And in those seasons were CSUP lost two games, one loss came during the playoffs.

    So what’s in store for the 2022 season? I think CSUP will finish in the top 3 in the conference. Why?

    For starters, CSUP had a good productive offseason. Players worked out together as a team (unlike during COVID) and are getting high quality strength and conditioning from CSUP’s new Director of Sport Performance, Rashad Harris. Harris promises to have the Pack ready to perform at a high level in 2022. We shall see.

    In addition, the Pack’s spring ball sessions were productive. Spring training ended with a game between the Blue and Red teams. The game featured a come-from-behind victory by the Red team over the Blue team 24-21. Second-year quarterback Leslie Richardson III, a 247Sports 3-star prospect, led the Red team to a comeback as he went 16-of-25 for 159 yards and one passing touchdown. Quarterback Steven Croell led the Blue team and went 8-of-12 passing for 168 yards and one touchdown. Croell, who peanut gallery fans believe will be the starter heading into the fall, had two passes of 67 and 59-yards in the second quarter to put the Blue team up at halftime 15-3. “I think that there were some big plays in the passing game,” Wristen told the Pueblo Chieftain. “Some things we needed to work on and got done. But we have a lot of work yet to go before we kick it off and against Midwestern. We're just getting excited about trying to get back to having ‘Pack’ football back. And we're doing it as a team. We win or lose as a team.”

    What’s more, CSUP signed a large number of players in February on National Signing Day. CSUP got commitments from over 55 prospects. Wristen went for quality and quantity and got both. To strengthen the offense, Wristen signed a 247Sports 2-star JUCO QB transfer from California and 3-star DI transfer running back from Idaho. He also signed a speedy wide receiver who initially committed to CSU but signed with CSUP. He also signed a top-notch TE who committed to the University of Northern Colorado and also switched. On defense, Wristen signed two 247Sports 3-star players from Arizona; a defensive lineman and a defensive back. He also signed a 247Sorts 2-star defensive lineman from Utah. Included in the class are 5 other 247Sports 2-star prospects from Colorado; four on defense and one on offense. This may be one of the most talented classes Wristen has ever recruited at CSUP.

    As for performance of the field, the 2022 offensive line has the raw talent to be one of best units in the conference. It boasts two outstanding tackles. One is an NFL Draft Diamonds prospect and the other is a 247Sports 3-star transfer from Montana. Both are about 6-6 and 300 pounds. The two guards are talented too. One is a 247Sports 3-star transfer from Colorado and the other is a 6-6 338 behemoth who played at Mullen HS in Denver. The Center is a three-year starter who may be the best in technique in the conference. He’ll be backed by a UNC transfer who played at Cherry Creek. Both are quick and physical.

    Speed at the running back and wide receiver positions was significantly improved. The upgrade should be noticeable.

    On defense, linebacker, Luke Conilogue, 6-6 256, is back. He got injured in the first game and missed most the season. He comes back as a fifth-year player. The defense should be solid. The DLs are experienced with good size. The LBs and DBs promise to be faster and more physical.

    The Pack has plenty of talented players to be successful in 2022. It’s time for the coaches to step up and do their part.

    Pack players however need to take stock of something Rudyard Kipling wrote, to wit: “The strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.” Go PACK!!!
    Last edited by Lobo; 08-01-2022, 08:13 PM.


    • #32
      Originally posted by Lobo View Post

      Samuel Clements might say that your opinion of CSUP's demise is greatly exaggerated.
      Not sure how an opinion can be described as exaggerated when it's still to be determined whether or not it's correct.

      Mark Twain was misquoted, by the way.


      • #33
        Originally posted by ccmoney8 View Post

        Not sure how an opinion can be described as exaggerated when it's still to be determined whether or not it's correct.

        Mark Twain was misquoted, by the way.

        Whatever. I wasn't trying to misquote Mark Twain. I was trying to misquote Samuel Clements. I would never quote Mr. Train. He used a naughty word more than one in a couple of his novels he wrote years ago

        As for your opinion that is "still to be determined." It's not supported by any facts.

        That's all. Have a wonderful day sir!
        Last edited by Lobo; 08-05-2022, 07:10 PM.


        • #34
          Originally posted by ccmoney8 View Post
          With the news of a stadium renovation, Western will have to play home games on a soccer field...
          Dang it! I was looking forward to watching a game or two being played on that Pantene spruced grass field in the Mountaineer Bowl.


          • #35
            Chadron has Jalen Starks back on the roster after a year off. Big fullback type who carries and catches out of the backfield.Click image for larger version

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