Colorado State got more than a head coach when it plucked Jim McElwain away from Alabama in 2012. Also making the trip from Tuscaloosa to Fort Collins was a green-and-gold replica of Alabama's Fourth Quarter program, Ram U.
"This is about more than football," McElwain said. "The lessons learned and the endurance required in the Ram U program will not only help them in playing the game of football, but will carry with them the rest of their lives, with their families and in their careers."
In practical purposes, that means a one-hour lift four days a week and then a one-hour afternoon session focusing on agility and conditioning. "It's still tough. Every year you have to come out ready and you have to come out prepared," said senior tight end Kivon Cartwright. "You know you physically can get through the program since you've done it before, it's just mentally telling yourself that and pushing yourself to the limit."
From year one to year two at Ram U, Colorado State improved its record from 4-8 in McElwain's debut season of 2012 to an 8-6 mark with a 48-45 win over Washington State in the New Mexico Bowl to close the year.