|QB||Tom Brandstater So.*/Sean Norton So. *|
Jordan Christensen Sr.*
|Ryan Colburn Fr.|
For the first time since the mid-1990's there will be a battle in spring for the starting quarterback position. Brandstater has been anoited since 2004 as the next great Bulldog quarterback, when many fans argued for him to get some playing time as a true freshman. Norton is the program's first Parade All-American, although undersized, has the arm, grit and intangibles that can't be taught. Paul Pinegar's experience will be hard to replace, but both the new quarterbacks have a far better upside. Brandstater is comparable to Pinegar physically, but with a much stronger arm. Norton would have been the most sought after quarterback in America after high school if he was just a couple inches taller. He is very elusive in the pocket, and is a playmaker. Colburn has been compared to former quarterback David Carr, same size and similar arm but will most likely redshirt. Christiansen will be a 5th year senior, and his experience will give the 'Dogs another capable quarterback in new offensive coordinator Steve Hagen's offense.
Outlook- Promising. Better talent, but less experience.
|RB||Dwayne Wright Jr.*||Clifton Smith Jr.*||Shannon Dorsey Jr.*||Kreig Peters So.*||Lonyae Miller Fr.|
The biggest question mark for the 2006 offense will be tailback. There is no question about talent or experience but durability. Bryson Sumlin and Wendell Mathis formed the best tailback combo in Fresno State history since Ron Rivers and Anthony Daigle. Both were tough durable backs that combined for nearly 4,000 yards rushing in two years. Wright and Smith are returning from season ending knee injuries, and in Wright's case it has been two seasons away from football. Both are on track to return for the fall, but nothing is 100%. Wright should be healthy for spring ball, but needs to get back into football shape. Smith more than likely will miss spring ball, and could miss all or most of preseason practice come August. Dorsey and Peters will probably get a majority of the snaps in the spring. Dorsey, as well, has had numerous injuries in his two years. Dorsey missed most of 2004 and 05 with injuries, but could be the starter come September. Incoming freshman Lonyae Miller has a good chance to play as a true. Depending how he adjusts to the college game, Miller will compete for the playing time as the second or third back.
Outlook- Good. Questionable durability, but added depth.
|FB||Roshon Vercher Sr.*||Nate Adams Jr.*||Kyle Richard So.*||Frank Padilla Fr.|
The fullback position was reborn in 2002 under former offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti's offense. Prior to that the Bulldogs used a second tight end or H-Back. However, it was not until 2003 that Fresno State had a "true" fullback in Vercher. Now a senior, he has become a vital part of the offense, but that all could change depending on what scheme Hagen will use on offense. Adams was lost last year to a season ending injury. If 100%, he and Vercher are almost interchangeable. Richard is a capable blocking back, but lacks experience. Padilla grayshirted last year, and may redshirt this year, but is the prototypical fullback but with better speed.
Outlook- Big Improvement. Best FB depth since the early 90s.
|TE||Bear Pacoe So.*||Jesus Tapia Jr.*||Drew Lubinsky So.*||Maurice Graham Fr.|
The tight ends were not used much under Cignetti, hopefully that will change. The Bulldogs lose their top pass catching threat, Devyn McDonald, but Pascoe , Tapia and Lubnisky are all bigger targets. Pascoe showed his versatility in the Liberty Bowl as the lead blocker in the I and offset formations. This could be a real strength in Hagen's offense. Graham, 6-4 300, is a big target, but will probably redshirt.
Outlook- Improvement. Good size and versatility.
|WR||Paul Williams Sr.*||Jaron Fairman Sr.*||Seji Arjuotutu Fr.*|
|WR||Joe Fernandez Sr.*||Kevin Ciccone So.*||Chastin West Fr.*||Jason Crawley Fr.*|
|C||Kyle Young Sr.*||Robin Kezerian Sr.*||Cameron Harris So.*||Joe Bernardi Fr.|
|RG||Ryan Wendell Jr.||Kezerian||Richard Pacheco So.||Pierce Masse Fr.*|
|LG||Cole Popovich So.*||Kezerian||Chris Piligian Jr.*|
Popovich and Wendell form the best guard duo in the West, and maybe the nation. Popovich possesses the same intensity as former 1st round pick Logan Mankins. Popovich, Wendell, and Young give the Bulldogs their best interior line ever. Piligian is a very big guard at 6-6 255. He would be better suited at RT where Fresno State will lack experience depth because of the graduation and early departure of Adam Messick.
|RT||Chris Denham Sr.*||Pacheco||James Meeks Fr.*|
Denham is as durable as they come. If he was just a tad heavier he would be mentioned in the same breath as Logan Mankins. He should come into his own his senior year, and could very well be a first day NFL pick when it is all said and done. Depending on who wins the quarterback derby, Denham might have the added responsibility of protecting the blind side of Norton. Messick's departure leaves a hole behind Denham. Meeks will be the next great tackle under Hill. He moves incredibly well for being 6-5 260, and can play either left or right tackle. Despite Meeks' upside, Pacheco or Piligian will be better suited to back up Denham in 06 in the event of an injury.
Outlook- Very Good. Depth may be a concern.
|LT||James Paulk Jr.||Bobby Lepori So.*||John Guevara So.*|
This is truly the wildcard position. Dartangon Shack was better suited to play guard, but filled in just fine at left tackle in 03 and 05 in place of Mankins. However, Paulk could make a good Bulldog offensive line into a great offensive line. Paulk has missed a year of playing ball to shore up his academics. He will be in Spring practice, and will be penciled in to play left tackle. Lepori is very good young tackle. He played sparingly last year in relief roles, but will be ready to battle Paulk for the Shack's vacant spot. I would not be surprised if Lepori beats out Paulk for the starting spot. Guevara is a very good lineman that has been lost in the shuffle. He is versatile enough to play any spot on the offensive line.
Outlook- Promising. Lack of experience is a concern.