The Bulldogs suited up in half-pads Friday for the first time this spring. The hitting began but it will be nothing compared to Saturday, when the ‘Dogs will practice in full pads.
Ryan Colburn has had a steady spring thus far, but Friday the redshirt freshman quarterback was money. Every mid-range pass he threw – in 11 on 11 drills – hit his receivers on the numbers.
His accuracy set him apart from Tom Brandstater. Colburn did throw an interception but the pass was perfect. But CB A.J. made a great break on ball and cut in front of the receiver for the interception.
Brandstater did not have a bad practice but was a bit off target on his mid-range throws. But his long ball could not have looked better. In 11 on 11 drills, Brandstater found his receiver streaking and hit him in stride. The pass easily flew 50 plus yards in the air and could not have been thrown any better.
Saturday’s practice will gage each quarterback’s progression from last season to this spring. Although each has seen some pressure in drills, the intensity heats up once in full pads.
Marlon Moore is a burner; wearing #5 only brings memories of Bernard Berrian wearing the same number early in his career. The only knock on Moore has been his hands. Friday afternoon, the sophomore receiver showed he does have them. It was easily Moore’s best practice this spring.
Jason Crawley stood out the first week in spring 2006, easily establishing himself as a player to watch. But something happened, he just couldn’t hang onto the ball and quickly fell out of the picture.
After getting a bit of playing time last season, he is having a solid spring. His tall, lanky frame is reminiscent of Berrian, and his vertical leap has made a deep threat option thus far in spring.
Chastin West is the only receiver who is not fighting for a starting job per se. He still must hold off his fellow sophomore cohorts but as long as West continues to be West, he has nothing to worry about.
He is the complete package and is the Bulldogs most polished receiver this spring. He runs great routes, has good speed and soft hands.
His biggest threat is Seyi Ajirotutu. The 6-3 target has been amazing this week. He catches everything and is faster this year than last, when he got injured the second week of spring.
Ajirotutu is a big, imposing target and easily creates separation from his defender. But his greatest asset is his hands. His injury last year set him back; otherwise, he could be the Bulldogs top receiver.
There are a few walk on receivers that are making some noise. #17 and #87 are getting a lot of looks this spring. BarkBoard.com does not have names on these individuals but has learned #87 is a former track and field athlete.
When Fresno State signed Sharrod Davis in February, most fans expected him to assume the starting cornerback spot in August. If A.J. Jefferson continues to have a great spring, Davis will have a harder time taking over that spot.
Jefferson stood out in last year’s season opener vs. Nevada. But got injured and didn’t play too much outside special teams the remainder of the season. This spring he is the starting cornerback along side senior Damon Jenkins. And he is making the most of his time.
As mentioned above, Jefferson made a great break on a Colburn pass and came up with the interception. It was easily one of the biggest defensive plays of spring ball thus far. Jefferson weighed only 170 lbs last season but looks a bit bigger this year.
Marvin Haynes has a strong hold on the free safety spot. But junior Jake Jorde has had a good week of practice. He does not have Haynes’ speed but he constantly gets himself into positions to make plays. And that is something Bulldog defensive backs did not do last season.
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