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April 9, 2011

Foes on the field, friends off it

With lockers right next to each other, Colorado State's Raymond Carter and Ivory Herd are good friends off the field, but on it, the two are as close to enemies as teammates can be.

Two starting seniors from the greater Los Angeles area who have suffered through back-to-back 3-9 seasons with the Rams, the heated rivalry they have on the field stems from color; not of race, but of practice jersey.

Carter, a running back, wears a green top during workouts that designates he's a member of the offense.

Herd, a strong safety, dons white.

From Day 1 of 2011 spring football for CSU, the offense and defense have been vocal about which unit is better, but within the last week, the shouting matches have grown physical.

"Me and Ivory always got a little thing going on in the locker room, but we're just trying to make things better for each other," said Carter, who is almost always in the middle of any intrasquad scuffle. "There's a lot of situations where I'm going to be one-on-one with a safety, so Ivory brings it at me and I just bring it back."

During Saturday morning's scrimmage at Hughes Stadium that ran just short of three hours in length, there were three fights that stopped the flow of practice and one had to be broken up by defensive coordinator Larry Kerr.

On Thursday, two mini-brawls broke out - one during an incident between linebacker James Skelton and the offensive line and the other after cornerback Momo Thomas and wide receiver Bobby Borcky, two players who had their share of injuries in 2010, exchanged words.

To date, despite the rising frequency of pushing, punching and kicking after the whistle, no one has gotten hurt, but is a more serious injury inevitable?

"I feel we know where the line is, but of course, there are certain periods when we don't go live and we want to be able to hit someone on the play, so there's always going to be pushing and shoving," Herd said. "I think we know where to draw the line when it gets out of hand and stop ourselves."

Carter agreed with Herd's sentiments about knowing where the line is, but added that a possible injury is in the back of player's minds when scuffles like these break out during practice.

"We just play. We just have to go put it all out on the field," Carter said on Saturday. "If you hesitate, that's when you're going to get hurt, so you have to just play fast and roll with it."

For now, CSU head coach Steve Fairchild appears to be taking the offense vs. defense rivalry with a grain of salt. When asked if he feared the fights were getting out of hand, Fairchild joked, "most of them don't really want to fight, they just want to make you think they're fighting."

Whether a fight is started out of frustration, the love of competition or a cliché call for attention, once the Rams step off the practice field, it all becomes moot.

"When we're out here on the field, it's a totally different thing," Herd said. "Once we're in the locker room, it's about having fun and asking the offense what they want to do after practice to hang out."



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