Wednesday, February 08, 2006

2006 Bulldog Offense

returning starter in black, *-redshirt, bold-player to watch

QBTom 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.

RBDwayne 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.

FBRoshon 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.

TEBear 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.

WRPaul Williams Sr.*Jaron Fairman Sr.*Seji Arjuotutu Fr.*

Williams is easily the best WR in the WAC and among the best on the West Coast. He will create matchup problems for just about any team on the Bulldog's schedule. Thus, opening the doors for the other guys to step up. Fairman has showed flashes of brilliance in his three year years. With a wide-open offense he could catch 40 balls. He is a good route runner, similar to DeAndre Gilbert, but a lot faster. Arjuotutu will be a future star, think Bernard Berrian.

Outlook-Great. Williams is a legit all-American candidate.

WRJoe Fernandez Sr.*Kevin Ciccone So.*Chastin West Fr.*Jason Crawley Fr.*

Fernandez has been Fresno State's leading receiver for the last two years. Williams should get most of the attention from opposing defenses, allowing Fernandez to work against man-to-man coverage. Ciccone is a great possession receiver. He is not as fast or big as the rest but has grit and is not afraid to go over the middle. Ciccone has to establish himself as the 4th option and the experienced leader for 2007. West is a big strong target, but will be hard pressed to find playing time with a such a deep group. Crawley will battle for the 4th and 5th spot on the depth chart.

Outlook- Experienced. Fernandez will have at least 60 receptions on the year.

CKyle Young Sr.*Robin Kezerian Sr.*Cameron Harris So.*Joe Bernardi Fr.

Young is the best center in America, hands down, or at least the best pro-prospect, like that really makes a difference when grading a center. Young will anchor a very deep line, and has a good back up in Robin Kezerian. Kezerian will back up both guard spots, giving the Bulldogs tremendous versatility. Young is considered the best center in Fresno State history, but grayshirt Joe Bernardi could take that title away in the coming years. Bernardi was the best offensive lineman prospect out of Arizona in 2005. His lack of size scared away most bigger schools, but Hill landed the future anchor of the offensive line. He could play as a true, but will probably redshirt and be a 4 year starter like Young. Harris could back up Young, if Kezerian plays mostly guard and Bernardi redshirts.

Outlook- Best in America.

RGRyan Wendell Jr.KezerianRichard Pacheco So.Pierce Masse Fr.*

Wendell has not stopped since taking over for Cole Popovich in 2004 as a true freshman. The undersized but ferocious guard uses his quickness to his advantage, and has become one of the best guards in the West. Hill thought so highly of Pacheco he decided to play the true freshman, instead of redshirting him. He can play every position on the line, but will probably back up RG in 06. Pacheco could move over to right tackle, where I think he could be the future replacement for senior Chris Denham. Masse's progress will allow Pacheco to make the move to right tackle.

Outlook- Outstanding. Lots of young talent.

LGCole Popovich So.*KezerianChris 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.

Outlook- Outstanding.

RTChris Denham Sr.*PachecoJames 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.

LTJames 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.


bdogpridevalleywide said...

nice break down of the offense. i'll be looking forward to the defense when ready.

mdg said...

I will have the defensive breakdown by Monday or Tuesday.

Anonymous said...

Great work on the offense, but what about Adam Messick?

mdg said...

Messick graduated and has decided not to return for his 5th year.

gofsudogs2006 said...

Mdg do you think Fernandez is a better posession receiver than any other Bulldog on the roster? Or do you think Williams is the best receiver and just suffered from a qb who could not get the ball to him (Pinegar)? Personally I think they are going to be one of the better 1-2 wr duo's in the nation this season. If you are Norton or Brandstater you have to be seriously thrilled that in your first season you have these two men to throw the ball to.
I think the offensive review was great. I am really looking forward to the defense and seeing if they can make the improvements at LB and defensive line to be a threat this upcoming season. Well I am pretty much in for the LSU game, looking forward to that. Let me know what's going on with that when the time comes. By the way this is Neil.

mdg said...

I knew it was you. I think Fernandez is a great possesion receiver, and Williams is the best deep threat. But with teams focusing on Williams, Fernandez will have a career year. The one to keep an eye on is Fairman. He runs the best routes and IMO, will become the Bulldogs best possession receiver. Ciccone, however, working with his former HS qb, Norton, could become a viable 4th option. I wished Hill would have recruited a top notch JC WR to push the young guys for the 4th spot. But Hill probably already knows he has a good crop of young WRs and the last JC WR never panned out, 4 star recruit Chico Mackey.

bdogpridevalleywide said...

yeah, where in the world is mackey?

mdg said...

Mackey didn't make grades in 03 and sat out but came back in 04. He was the 5th WR, but a big player on SP teams. He got hurt against Portland State or La Tech, and never was able to get back into the lineup after that. He didn't come back for 05. Not sure if he was ineligible or he just decided not to play.

Hill has signed 3 JUCOs that were either 4 or 5 star recruits and none became great players, Donyell Booker, JJ Martin, and Mackey.