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‘Live and breathe football’

Former Bulldog playing at the collegiate level for Colorado State

Mari Katherine Raftopoulos

— Ever since Michael Babb could throw a football, he has wanted to play lineup for the Colorado State Rams.

The 2005 Moffat County graduate got his opportunity after he walked on at CSU. He could be part of long-standing history, said offensive line coach Darryl Funk.

“There is a great history of walk-ons in our program,” Funk said. “Some of our walk-ons have gone to the pros, and Mike is heading down that line of greatness.”

The red-shirt sophomore has learned a different perspective the past two years, watching from the sidelines. Heading into this year, he said the plays are no longer a puzzle because he learned the playbook by watching and studying.

“The playbook is the hardest thing to learn because it is so different than high school,” Babb said.

“Mike has really picked up the system. It is not easy and takes a couple of years to get it going,” Funk said. “He has put himself in a position to compete.”

Competing means acting as a professional.

“You have to be professional as you would in a job,” Babb said. “It is so much more than just going out and playing football.

“My life is football and my job is practice.”

With fall training camp under way at CSU, the difference for Babb will be starter or second string.

The possibility is something he has been waiting to hear. But Babb didn’t take these words as a compliment but as a motivator.

“This is my time to prove myself. This year could be my year,” Babb said. “But the difference between second string and starting rides on the training camp.”

At training camp, you live and breath football, said Babb.

This is the reason why, on any given Sunday during the summer you will find him in the weight room perfecting his power clean or on the football field running sprints.

“Mike had a great off season in the winter and a nice spring ball. He worked out well at home and looks like he is ready to go,” Funk said. “He has put himself in a position to be our starting right tackle, but it depends on how he performs during camp.”

During the summer, Babbs does sprint workouts three days a week and lifts weights four times a week. Although Babb was provided with a strenuous summer workout from his strength training coach, he enjoyed seeing the improvement.

“I have better technique on all my lifts now, especially my power cleans. They have sky rocketed,” Babb said. “I can see an improvement in my strength and condition since last season.”

As a Bulldog alumni, he hopes his improvements in skill will inspire high school football players to go to the next level.

“Those boys who want to play college football need to get in the weight room and become leaders,” Babb said. “Don’t accept slackers on your team or anything but greatness.”

Babb said everyone is a leader on his team, and being surrounded by this drive and passion is something that cannot be replaced.

“There is just something about being a part of a team,” Babb said. “And when you don’t have it, you miss it.

“I have had the opportunities to do what very few people do in a lifetime.”


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