1. Will the new offensive assistants mesh well?
Yes, but the last time Pat Hill had to replace for than one offensive assistant, Fresno State finished 5-6 including a 1-5 start back in 1998. The Bulldogs talent level is much better now, but Hill has to break in three new offensive assistants, offensive line coach, running back coach, and offensive coordinator.
Derek Frazier was a former Bulldog graduate assistant that worked with the offensive line. He is familiar with the scheme and the veteran players. His hiring was a no-brainer; the Bulldogs O line will not miss a beat, and will still be the premier unit in the WAC.
Tim Skipper’s was a college middle linebacker, under Hill, and a defensive coordinator at Sacramento State last year. But his father and brother are great pro and college running back coaches, respectively. With both Bryson Sumlin and Wendell Mathis leaving, the transition for Skipper will be tough if no clear cut, healthy back emerges in spring practice.
Steve Hagen has said Fresno State will be an “attack offense”, but Hill has been synonymous with running a conservative scheme. Something has to give. Under Andy Ludwig the offense used a single back multiple offense that utilized an H-back since there was little or no fullback depth. Under Frank Cignetti the fullback was brought back into the lineup, but tight end production decreased. Hagan ran a high-octane offense in the early to mid nineties at Nevada and UNLV, but a pedestrian one at Cal in the late nineties. What scheme will he run in 2006?
2. Is Dwayne Wright 100%?
Yes. Wright could have played last year, but was held out because he was not football ready, per se. The extra time makes him truly 100%, but it remains to be seen if he can pick up where he left off nearly two years ago.
3. Who will be the starting quarterback?
It is anybody’s’ guess. Sean Norton is the underdog. Ryan Colburn is the grayshirt that wowed the coaches during bowl practice. Tom Brandstater has been the heir apparent since 2004. Pat Hill has said it will be an open competition between the three, but it is Brandstater’s job to lose.
4. Who will take over Garrett McIntyre?
Depends, on what position one is speaking of. McIntyre was a better defensive tackle than he was a defensive end. Jason Shirley will now be able to occupy the middle with Louis Leonard. Former Pac 10 recruits Jason Roberts and Mike Stuart give the Bulldogs great size and speed, McIntyre lacked at defensive end. But do they have the motor that never quits? Someone has to pick the intensity and leadership McIntyre brought to the table, and Tyler Clutts just might be the one to fill the void.
5. Who will win the CB job opposite Marcus McCauley?
Lawrence Hood. Damon Jenkins has yet to wow anyone since arriving as a hot-shot recruit from De La Salle in 2003. Experience senior Elgin Simmons lacks the size and speed to be an effective starting cornerback. That leaves a host of young prospects with a shot to start along side McCauley. Hood is the best of that bunch and probably best young cornerback prospect since Richard Marshall.