Fresno State vs. Weber State
Kickoff: Saturday, 7 p.m.
Radio:KMJ (AM 580), ESPN Deportes (1600 AM)
Internet video/audio: gobulldogs.com
Keys to Game
Consistency – The tempo spread attack will have no effect if the Bulldogs are not able to move the football. The three and outs displayed in spring and fall scrimmages weren’t the best signs of an offense expected to run 90 plays a game. This offense can be explosive, but getting first downs and being in rhythm is far more important at this stage.
Ground Attack – Most fans are going to expect Derek Carr to sling the ball all over the field. However, this offense has not run on all cylinders in August as the Coach DeRuyter chose to rest starting running back Robbie Rouse in live situations. Carr will have his opportunities, but based on fall camp, this offense will go only as far as Rouse takes it.
Touchdowns – To say the kicking game is a question mark would be a huge understatement. If the offense is consistent it should have not problems gaining yards between the 20’s, however, in the red zone, can the spread attack be effective? Big play touchdowns and limiting pressure on an unstable kicking game to score points will eliminate any possibility of Weber State having a sliver of hope on Saturday.
Turnovers – Yes, it’s cliché but Fresno State has not been able to create turnovers since 2005. The new attacking 3-4 defense is designed to pressure offenses into making mistakes. It wants to dictate the tempo of the game. If the defense can cause turnovers and give the offense more scoring opportunities, the Bulldogs should run away with a victory.
Pressure/Sacks – Weber State quarterback Mike Hoke is an experience signal caller with a good arm. He can sling the rock all over the field. If given time, he will move the Wildcats offense down the field. The ‘Dogs must pressure him and force him into mistakes. Hoke can run the ball as well, so the Bulldog defense can’t expect him to sit in the pocket. Over pursing has been an issue in the past, but the ‘Dogs new scheme should allow the linebackers to create plays, not be out of position, and record sacks.
D-Line – The linebackers are the strength of this team and the secondary is improved with Phillip Thomas and Derron Smith back from injury. The defensive line, however, makes the biggest transition going from the four-man front to a three-man front. Despite needing only six players instead of eight to form a two-deep, the lack of depth is a concern. The top four (Anthony Williams, Tyler Davison, Andy Jennings and Nikko Motta) will likely play most of the game. Can they handle the grind and be effective in the fourth quarter if Weber State can keep it close?
Coach Tim DeRuyter wants his team to play fast, physical and fanatical. No question they will do that. But can the play patient, smart, and consistent as well.
How will this team react if they fall behind? How will the coaches react?
The players have been here before, this coaching staff has not. Good thing Weber State isn’t Oregon.
The Bulldogs should be just fine. But predicting the outcome is an enigma. The ‘Dogs certainly have the talent to lay a 50-0 whipping on Weber State, but can they adjust to the new schemes in a game situation and not mistakes?
Wildcats should keep this close in the first half as Fresno State gets acclimated. The ‘Dogs will pull away in the third quarter, and the defense should be good for one score giving FS a comfortable opening win to start the DeRuyter era.
Fresno State 38, Weber State 17
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