Coach Pat Hill's thoughts on the first day -- Listen to Audio.
Here is a recap of what BB.C noticed on the field Tuesday…
Quarterbacks – There is a huge drop off after No. 2 QB Ryan Colburn. Tom Brandstater and Colburn looked ready to take the field against Rutgers on Tuesday. Both QB’s have a nice throwing motion complemented by the fact that they both seem to know the offense like the back of their hands. It would not be a stretch to say that these two may be the only ones to throw a pass from the pocket this season. With Brandstater as the starter and Colburn as the backup the Bulldogs offense is in very capable hands.
Running Backs – Ryan Mathews, Lonyae Miller, and Anthony Harding are going to be outstanding this year. Miller looks to be even faster than he was last season. Mathews has the rawest talent out of the three and has bulked up to the point that he may be able to take those tough hits and continue to play this season.
Mathews thoughts on the first day of fall camp --Listen to Audio.
Harding is going to be an enforcer type RB who breaks tackles and earns his yards. Overall the running game is one area that fans will not have to worry about. If the passing game is not clicking, the Bulldogs will be able to rely on these three returning backs to get the job done.
Wide Receivers – Seyi Ajirotutu is easily the most improved on the field with respect to wide receivers. Tutu looks stronger, faster, and may be a Paul Williams type receiver for FS when all is said and done – think Paul Williams 2005 not 2006. Marlon Moore and Jason Crawley are going to provide both explosiveness and depth at wide receiver. Chastin West looks much stronger than ever before. However, he has a ways to go to get him self back in football shape. He will be ready by the first game to make a contribution to this offense. Bear Pascoe continues to have great hands and will only make things much worse for any defense that tries to match a LB up with Pascoe. Matt Linsdsay is a tall target with great hands that will have the chance to contribute at the wide receiver position as well. He looked to be one of the few practicing with the freshman who knew what he was doing on every play.
Offensive Line – Honestly we were not expecting to see Joe Bernardi out there in pads today. Bernardi not only practiced but looked just as agile as the rest of the offensive line. The offensive line generally excels under Pat Hill and this season there is no reason to expect anything different. The overall mood on offense on Tuesday was outstanding it looked like everyone wanted to be on the field of play.
Defensive Line – Most Fresno State fans have shown their concern with respect to the depth of the defensive line and if they are going to be able to get pressure on the QB. After seeing the d-line Tuesday, we have no worries as to how good this unit is going to be.
Jon Monga has a motor that seems to never quit. Ikenna Ike is poised to have a breakout season as he looks to be in great shape. Anthony Williams is one of the few freshmen I was able to see today and the guy is a “Sav” as we like to say here on BarkBoard.com. Williams has the size and tenacity to compete from the first snap of the season on. Wilson Ramos, Cornell Banks, and Chris Carter will all provide a harsh rush that is going to be tough to defend. Bryce Harris is of great stature and will provide depth at defensive line as well. Expect this defensive line to make many more tackles than the line from last season did.
Linebackers – Chris Carter began the drills as the starting WLB. If the Bulldogs can put Jacobs, Herron, and Carter at LB there will be very little to worry about. Jacobs is a field general and knows his position as well as anyone. Kyle Knox, Austin Raphael, and Sean Plummer took the second reps at SLB, MLB, and WLB, respectively. Knox came away with a interception in 11-on-11 action. Quaardir Brown did practice but with the newcomers.
Secondary – The Bulldogs may have one of the best secondaries in the WAC if not the entire West Coast this season and that is not a stretch. A.J. Jefferson’s speed is ridiculous. Damion Owens does a good job of reading coverage’s and getting to the ball. Moses Harris is a natural football player. He understands the game and has the ability to make the tackle at anytime on the field. Marvin Haynes is along the lines of Harris and those two at safety will provide a solid one-two punch for the ‘Dogs.
Jake Jorde and Zak Hill provide two capable backups that will also do a great job when given the chance to get on the field of play. The surprise of the day was Lorne Bell. We did not expect to see Bell suit up much less participate in drills. However, when the returning players took the field Bell took his position and ran drills with the rest of the players. Bell looked agile and in great shape. It will take time for him to become 100% healthy again but it was great to see him running at full speed with the rest of the defense.
Special Teams – No disrespect to Devon Wylie but Marlon Moore and A.J. Jefferson are a step above the rest when it comes to returning kicks. They catch the ball and within five steps, they are 20 yards downfield. The kick return game is going to yield great results for the ‘Dogs regardless if Wylie, Jefferson, or Moore is doing the returning. The kicking game looks to be in very good shape as well.
Kevin Goessling was as accurate as we have seen him since he arrived. He hit everything between 30 and 45 yards with plenty of room to spare. If Goessling continues his conditioning, FS will have few worries with respect to the freshman kicker. Robert Malone did a good job of punting on Tuesday as well. Malone seems to have learned that distance is not as important as hang time. If the ‘Dogs can get 4.5 seconds of hang time from Malone look for the field position battle to be in Fresno State’s favor nearly every week.
That is the recap for the first practice of the season. The freshmen were hard to make out as names and numbers are not released yet. In time we will have a better report on the freshman. Needless to say there is plenty to look forward to with respect to Fresno State football this season. Overall the Bulldogs held a great first practice.
Join Neil, Mario, and the rest of the BB.C staff in the chat room this evening for more info on the first day of fall camp...
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