Sunday, April 30, 2006
The three top 'Dogs that didn't hear their name called at this weekend's draft, all signed free agent deals within one hour after the draft.
Mathis signed with Minnesota. The Vikings released former 4th round pick Onterrio Smith this past off-season, and they did not select a running back in the draft.
Pinegar signed with Jacksonville. There is no way in hell he will beat out Byron Leftwich, but it is a system he could flourish as a 2nd or 3rd quarterback.
"Big Mac" signed with Seattle. McIntyre has been projected as an undersized defensive lineman, but has a better chance at middle linebacker because of his lack of size and speed. Seattle, however, has one of the better MLB, Lofa Tatupu, in the NFL.
"Big Mac" will make the team, no doubt, and Mathis has a very good shot at making the 53 man roster in Minneapolis. Pinegar has a very good shot at the 3rd spot in Jacksonville, but all depends if the Jaguars do not sign any other quarterbacks this offseason.
Most experts believed Wendell Mathis would be the only other Bulldog drafted in the 7 round NFL draft, but Jennings, a 4th projection by one service, was drafted No. 184 overall in the 6th round by Atlanta. Mathis is still waiting for his name to be called, but not Tyrone Culver.
Culver was taken right after Jennings in the 6th round, No. 185 overall, by Green Bay. Culver was not expected to be selected. Besides Mathis, Paul Pinegar and Garrett McIntyre have the best shot to be selected before the day is over.
New England still have 3 picks in the 6th round and one in the 7th, will they take at least one Bulldog? If they do, Pinegar or McIntyre are the likely candidates. Miami still has not drafted a running back, a position it needs to address because of the Ricky Williams 2006 season suspension. Mathis has been rumored to be on the Dolphins' board, but they do not have a selection until the 7th round, picks 212, 226, and 233.
Saturday, April 29, 2006
There are not too many teams left in the 2nd round looking for cornerbacks or defensive backs for that matter. Chicago and Seattle have picks left in the 2nd round but have already addressed their needs at DB. New England, who is high on Marshall, already selected WR Chad Jackson of Florida with its 2nd round pick.
Marshall is the highest rated player on ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr's board that still has not been drafted.
The Patriots are on the clock will they choose Richard Marshall? I thought San Diego was going to pull the trigger at No. 19 and pick Marshall, but instead opted for the risk in Antonio Cromartie. I think NE will select DeAngelo Williams.
******They opted for Minnesota's Laurence Maroney, a mistake in my opinion.********
Friday, April 28, 2006
McIntyre is considered a marginal NFL draft prospect despite being named WAC Defensive Player of the Year. He had injuries last year that slowed him down, and effected is numbers and draft stock. He is projected as a late 7th round choice,at best, but hopes to go undrafted, therefore, he can pick and choose which NFL team fits him best.
I like I said, it makes perfect sense if you are an underdog. Especially if you are one that works and plays hard like "Big Mac". He will make an NFL team, there is no doubt about that, just remains to be seen which team he "chooses".
It is a censuses thought Fresno State has 10 legitimate NFL prospects, although only two are considered sure fire draft picks, Richard Marshall and Wendell Mathis. Three to four more have an outside shot at getting picked in the later rounds: Paul Pinegar, Adam Jennings, Garrett McIntyre and Jermaine Jamison. Then there are the longshots: Bryson Sumlin, Raymond Washington, Dartagnon Shack and Tyrone Culver. They will likely be signed as undrafted free agents if a NFL team is interested.
Of 16 departing Bulldog letterman, only six are not considered NFL prospects. Compare that to rival, and four-time WAC champ, Boise State, who has only two NFL prospects among eight departing letterman. Pat Hill has not been able to bring home too many WAC titles, but he is graduating his players and sending more of them to the NFL than any other non-BCS school in the nation.
Of the Bulldog longshots, Sumlin has the best shot at making an NFL roster, in my opinion. Sumlin is a hard-nosed back and knows what it takes to succeed. The former walk was a 1,000 yard rusher in 2004, but was under-utilized in 2005, which hampered his numbers and his stock. He is not very fast, but is a patient runner and does not go down after the first hit. He is also an effective blocker and pass catcher out of the backfield. Most NFL teams have three tailbacks on their roster, Sumlin fits the bill as a third back.
Culver has a tremendous football IQ. He is an intelligent player and is great in run support. However, he lacks speed and trailed on too many plays. He has good size, but will probably be nothing more than a special teams player at the next level.
Shack is a durable offensive lineman that will move to the inside in the NFL. The out-of-place left tackle is quick, versatile, and has a very good chance to make an NFL roster as a backup based on his versatility.
Washington has ideal size and great athleticism, but was a marginal college player his last two years. He doesn't have great speed per se, but is able to close in on receivers incredibly fast. He will be given a shot to make a team, as a nickel back, based on his physical attributes alone.
Fresno State's record for NFL draft picks in a year is five, set in the 1987 and 1990 drafts. But those two drafts had 12 rounds, unlike the seven round version used today. The Bulldog record for players selected in the seven round draft is four, set back in 2002. There is a good chance that record could be matched this weekend, and more than likely will be broken next year when Fresno State could have four players drafted in the first three rounds.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Besides an offer from Hill and Fresno State, he also holds one from Nebraska. He also lists USC, Washington, Oregon, LSU, and Colorado among his top college choices. All eyes will be on the 5'10 180 senior standout this fall. He runs a 4.5 forty, but has impressive strength and power for a back of his stature.
At the recent Nike Combine in Costa Mesa the running back ranked among the top in SPARQ Ratings. Taking the standard measurements of the football combine, the SPARQ Rating weighs and combines the 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle, vertical jump and bench press into a single number that measures an athlete's overall athleticism.
To learn more about the SPARQ Rating, go to sparqtraining.com.
Costa Mesa NIKE Combine Top 10 SPARQ Ratings
NAME HIGH SCHOOL ST POS HT WT YR 40 20 BP VJ SPARQ
Blaine Irby St. Bonaventure CA ATH 6-2 224 07 4.82 4.35 26 31.4 80.47
Cedric Foster J.W. North CA RB 5-7 194 08 4.41 4.49 19 33.0 80.16
Avery Horn Hanford CA RB 5-10 180 07 4.57 4.50 16 35.2 79.44
Jonathon Pruitt Cesar Chavez AZ RB/LB 5-6.5 190 07 4.92 4.47 32 28.7 78.51
Mark Rodgers Leuzinger CA RB/DB 5-7.5 155 07 4.43 4.34 16 32.7 78.30
Greg Maier Chaparral CA OL 5-11.5 240 07 5.28 4.62 40 27.2 77.35
Michael Lee St. Bonaventure CA RB 5-6 152 07 4.73 4.28 14 34.5 77.00
James Carter Canyon Springs CA WR 5-10.5 169 07 4.46 4.34 7 35.8 75.26
Talmadge Jackson Chaparral CA WR 5-8.5 170 07 4.71 4.19 17 31.3 75.07
Eric Irvin Canyon Springs CA DB 5-11.5 169 07 4.59 4.32 6 36.2 73.83
Note: Some players chose not to test or had their times or marks scratched from the records The 40s were timed with electronically with SPARQ Timing outdoors on fieldturf at the Costa Mesa NIKE Combine.
Check out all the 2007 Bulldog prospects listed on the blog.
Wendell Mathis left the Valley for UCLA after a stellar career at Merced High School in 2001. After a redshirt year and unproductive freshman year, he left UCLA with less than 100 career rushing yards. He came back home to the Valley to walk on at Fresno State. He sat 2003, his sophomore year, to fulfill NCAA transfer requirements and had two years left of eligibility at the start of 2004.
In the preseason of 2004 his future as a productive Bulldog tailback looked bleak. The returning starter was second team all-WAC Dwayne Wright, and second on the depth chart was bruiser Bryson Sumlin. In the first two games of 2004 against Washington and Kansas State, Mathis had no carries and just one reception. However, a season ending injury to Wright at Kansas State became a blessing in disguise to Mathis. Mathis would start only two games in 2004, but shared a bulk of the carries with Sumlin and finished just five yards shy of 1,000 yard season.
Mathis assumed the starting spot in 2005 beating out Sumlin and Wright sidelined for the year with the same injury. Mathis earned first team all-WAC honors after rushing for just over 1,300 yards and 15 touchdowns, but more importantly became a legitimate NFL prospect. His stock improved greatly with his workout at the NFL Combine in February. He ran two 40s, in 4.51 and 4.56, 4.22 in the short shuttle and 6.93 in the three-cone drill. His 33-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-9 long jump, and 20 bench presses were also impressive.
He is considered a solid middle round pick, 4th to 6th round choice. NFL.com Gil Brandt rates Mathis the 12th best running back available for this weekend's draft. Brandt mentions that Mathis lacks all-the-way speed and had problems with fumbles last year. One thing he failed to mention that many Bulldog fans pointed last year, was Mathis' failure to power through the hole. He would often go down after the first hit, unlike his teammate Sumlin.
Overall, Mathis is a quality back that can catch the ball out of the backfield and is quick enough to make the first guy miss. In my opinion, his running style lacks patience, therefore he often goes down upon first contact. But once through the hole, he has uncanny way to break the big run despite not having great speed. If an NFL team really likes him, he could be one of the first picks of the second day.
The Giants could be in need of an understudy to Tiki Barber. Barber had the best season of his career last year, but he is not getting any younger. The Dolphins are in a need of back up to Ronnie Brown after Ricky Williams recent suspension for the 2006 season. They will be unlikely to draft one in the higher rounds but somewhere in the middle is a good bet. Mathis could fit the bill for both of these teams, as well as others, dare I say New England might draft him if it is unable to land a top back in the first two rounds.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Back up Patriot strong safety James Sanders told the Boston Globe that he hopes to join up with former teammate Richard Marshall in New England this fall. Sanders believes Marshall will make a huge impact in the NFL right away.
New England already has Sanders and former Bulldog offensive tackle Logan Mankins on the roster, and are rumored to be interested in drafting Paul Pinegar, as well as, Marshall. Pat Hill and Fresno State are fast becoming the college pipeline to Bill Belichick's Patriots, much like LSU and their former head coach Nick Saban were. Hill and Saban were both assistant coaches under Belichick in Cleveland.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Paul Pinegar and Adam Jennings both hail from the Sacramento area and are two of the area's NFL prospects. Both former Bulldogs are hoping to be drafted in this weekend's NFL draft. The Sacramento's Bee Joe Davidson is projecting Pinegar as a 5th round pick and Jennings to sign as an undrafted free agent. Davidson's evaluation of Pinegar makes me wonder if he ever saw Pinegar play.
Ideal size, poised, hails from a passing system; has nice touch and can make all the NFL throws. Concern is lack of speed, and he needs to shore up mechanics. Fifth round.
Pinegar, as I stated yesterday, is capable of making an NFL team and has good size and poise. But I do not think he has a nice touch on the ball, and he can not make all the NFL throws. He could not even make all the throws at Fresno State. I don't think his speed is a concern as a pocket passer, and he is not exactly a statue in the pocket.
Jennings, however, brings a lot to the table as a late round pick. He was an accomplished college kick returner, and a capable receiver. He fills two voids for an NFL team, one as 5th or 6th receiver and the other as a special teams player/kick returner. He had an impressive forty time at the NFL Combine, and speed is always an important asset.
Monday, April 24, 2006
He was invited to the NFL Combine, which was a surprise to many. His senior season ended on a downer and he was less than impressive in the East-West Shrine game. The combine is usually reserved for prospects that are expected to be drafted in the 7 round NFL draft. While many Bulldog fans would argue that Pinegar does not deserve a shot at the NFL, some scouts are still impressed with his size and poise.
His stock ranges anywhere from a 5th round to late 7th round pick, but there is a good chance he will not be drafted and will have to sign as a free agent. The major knock against Pinegar is his arm strength and his decision making. Within 15 yards, he is an accurate passer, but he can not make all the throws and his deep ball is often underthrown. He has been criticized for his poor throws with the game on the line, and not having faith in his arm. However, in the right NFL system Pinegar could be an effective backup or emergency quarterback.
The Patriots might be looking for that type of quarterback in the later rounds. Tom Brady is the undisputed starter, but the back up spot will be filled by the ever young 43 year-old Doug Flutie or last year's No. 3 Matt Cassell, who was a 7th round pick despite not starting a game in his college career at USC. If Flutie does not return to football, New England might consider drafting a quarterback.
Tom Casale of Patriots Football Weekly believes Pinegar will be available in the 7th round and maybe selected by New England. His speculation is mostly based on Pinegar's college coaching and system, basically saying Hill's relationship with Bill Belichick could get him drafted. Casale, who praises Bulldog Richard Marshall as the best cornerback in the draft, does not hold the same sentiment towards Pinegar.
In my opinion, Paul Pinegar was not the best college quarterback, but was not the worst either. One has to remember he only played in Frank Cignetti's offense, after spending his first two years in the program studying Andy Ludwig's offense. Cignetti's offense was a pro style offense, but some considered it a little too complex for the college game. Pinegar was able to run this offense with some success, and his stats were decent for a run first offense. Was the offense so complex that is why Hill stuck with Pinegar through thick and thin in 2004? Was Pinegar a "bad" quarterback or did Cignetti run a "bad" offense? We will find out in 2006, when Pinegar will have a chance to prove himself in the NFL, and Cignetti will be coaching the offense at North Carolina.
Despite all the flack he has taken and his limited athletic ability, I still believe Pinegar could have a lengthy NFL career as a back up. In my opinion, he will never be an NFL starter, but he has the tools to be successful in a limited role at the next level.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Adam Jennings was never a go-to receiver his four years as a Bulldog, but that doesn't mean he will not get drafted in this year's NFL draft. The 5'10 175 WR/KR is projected as high as a 4th round pick, but 5th-7th round sounds a bit more realistic. His value is as a kick returner, not a receiver. Any time an NFL team can kill two birds with one stone they usually jump at the chance.
Jennings is quicker than he is fast, but can block well and has decent hands. The great year by the diminutive Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers showed NFL teams that the small stature WR has a place in the NFL. UCLA's Maurice Drew is considered the best return specialist in the draft, but Jennings is not too far behind. It helped that Jennings was invited to the NFL combine back in February and had an impressive forty time.
Jermaine Jamison was not invited to NFL combine and that had many NFL teams stumped after the 6'2 200 WR impressed everyone at the Bulldog Pro Day. He was so impressive that the San Diego Chargers invited him to visit April 11 and 12. Tampa Bay is also showing interest in the Jamison. The consensus on Jamison is that he is raw, and did not have great college production. He does not bring extra special teams value, like Jennings, so a team will be taking a chance drafting him, instead of just signing him as free agent. However, his numbers at his pro day are hard to ignore. An athletic 6'2 200 WR that can run a sub 4.5 forty coached by Pat Hill is a rare find. An NFL team will take a chance on him late in the second day and try to mold him into a solid 4th or 5th WR.
Draftdaddy.com names Jamison one of 16 WRs that could surprise in the NFL draft as a solid 2nd day pick or free agent.
Jermaine Jamison ~ Fresno State -- His performance at Pro Day left some scouts wondering why he wasn't invited to the Combine. At over 6' 2 and 200 pounds, Jamison ran a 4.44 40 yard dash, did a very solid 4.09 short shuttle and looked like a solid overall athlete. He's a player that was very highly regarded coming into Fresno State. After a spectacular freshman season his game leveled off a quite a bit, never even recording 40 receptions or 500 yards in a season, but scouts are known to be intrigued by his size, speed and athletic ability.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
NFL draft expert Rob Curtis has been sharing his insight on the Silver and Black Illustrated and says Marshall is a first rounder despite his negatives.
Fresno State CB Richard Marshall is an interesting prospect. He has all the physical tools you look for in a CB with good speed, body control, fluid hips, and the ability to change directions quickly. At his best, he is an instinctive playmaker with good hands who jumps routes and uses well timed jumps to catch the ball at its highest point. He's also a pretty good tackler. At his worst, he still has a lot of work to do with playing within a scheme. He gets late breaks at time and loses position more than I would like. On numerous occasions, I think he takes too many risks. While he did very well against USC star Dwayne Jarrett, Oregon's Demetrius Williams made him look pretty bad. In my opinion, he is a first rounder despite being a little unpolished.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Chris Allen RB 5'7 154 4.68 Antioch HS
Ishmam Anderson RB 6'0 230 4.7 McCylmonds HS(Oakland)
Erin Banks LB 6'2 175 4.86 Clovis East HS
John Barnett Jr. RB 5'10 180 4.45 Lakewood HS
Anthony Boyles WR 6'3 185 4.37 Serra HS(Gardena)
Alex Cabatic RB 6'0 220 Clovis East HS
Russell Carr WR 6'3 192 Lugo HS(Chino)
Chris Carter LB 6'2 205 Kaiser HS(Fontana)
James Carter WR 5'11 169 4.46 Canyon Springs HS(Moreno Valley)
Justin Cheadle OL 6'5 240 Bakersfield HS*
Jerrid Holland WR/S 6'0 185 4.55 Battle Mountain HS(NV)
Avery Horn RB 5'10 180 4.57 Hanford HS
Ryan Matthews ATH 6'0 195 4.55 West HS(Bakersfield)*
Vince Pascoe FB/DT 6'1 230 Exeter HS
Romeo Pellum CB 5'11 165 4.6 Santa Fe HS(Santa Fe Springs)
I list 50 players from various sources. There are others not listed and some on this list that may be incorrect. It is very difficult to confirm these lists so early on. I will update it as the season wears on, and I welcome all input, corrections, updates, and etc.
Garrett McIntyre's South Lake Tahoe high school football team didn't win a game his senior year. Despite being named the Sierra Division Player of the Year, no Division IA school offered him a scholarship. He ended up walking on at Fresno State and the rest is history.
Now, after four years playing under Pat Hill, being named Sporting News preseason 2nd team all-American, becoming the schools' 3rd leading career sack leader, and being selected the WAC Defensive Player of the Year, McIntyre is, again, being overlooked.
What the hell does he have to do to get noticed? I know the obvious. He is an undersized defensive tackle. He is a bit slow as a defensive end. He is not fast enough to be a linebacker. But the guy has a motor that does not quit. Virginia's head coach, Al Groh, referred to him as a "ball of nails" after he harassed the 18th ranked Cavaliers in the 2004 MPC Computers Bowl. Kansas State's former head coach Bill Snyder is still having nightmares of No. 71 single handily shutting down Darren Sproles back in September of 2004. Do you need to ask Matt Leinart about what kind of player Mac is?
McIntyre just wants a chance to prove himself at the next level. He is a marginal NFL prospect at best. Most analysts have him as a 5th-7th round pick, but more than likely he will have to make a roster as a free agent. I likened him to another undersized college defensive lineman, Tedy Bruschi.
Bruschi was a tenacious player at Arizona in the mid 90s, but was only about 6-1 260 on a good day. He has proved his weight in gold, [Super Bowl] rings that is. Today's NFL is different from the NFL of 10 years ago. It is big business. It is all about numbers: height, weight, forty-time, bench reps, shuttle, and etc. McIntyre just does not fit the bill when it comes to raw numbers. He is about 6'3 250 and was timed at 4.87 and 4.76 in the 40 and had a 32½-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-8 long jump and 27 lifts, at Fresno State's pro day back on March 13.
Will New England take a chance on McIntyre in the 6th or 7th round? The Patriots need linebackers, but can McIntyre be an effective linebacker at the next level? Yes and no, but he will be on a NFL roster next year, I guarantee it, even if he is not drafted by the Pats or another team. It just remains to be seen who gives the guy a chance. Fresno State had two former walk ons make NFL rosters last year, Logan Mankins and Stephan Spach. Mankins was NE's first round pick, and Spach was as a free agent signee with Philadelphia.
Monday, April 17, 2006
Williams S. Hart High School football is a tradition rich program located in the Santa Clarita Valley just north of Los Angeles. It is known for producing talented all-CIF quarterbacks. Kyle Boller, Matt Moore, Kyle Matter, Sean Norton and Tyler Lyon are the last five and all received Division IA scholarship offers. Boller, Moore, and Matter all went to Pac 10 schools, but only Boller was drafted in the NFL. Lyon is a Pac 10 recruit too, a 2006 Arizona Wildcat signee. Norton is considered by many Hart fans and aficionados the best of the bunch. Yet he was overlooked by all the Pac 10 schools because of his size despite being named CalHi Player of the Year in 2003.
Norton had only three offers: Fresno State, Wyoming, and Portland State. He, along with teammate wide receiver Kevin Ciccone, signed with the Bulldogs in 2004. They joined 2003 recruit OL Chris Piligian, another Hart alum, in Fresno. Joe Bernardi was Norton's center in 2003 as a junior. He was named all-CIF Southern Section that year, but moved to Flagstaff, Arizona in 2004 when his father excepted a job at Northern Arizona. He verbally committed to Fresno State before the start of his senior year.
Norton still has a chance to be the starting quarterback this year. Ciccone will be the 3rd, 4th or 5th WR in a deep receiving corps and Piligian will be a part of a very deep offensive line rotation. Bernardi will probably redshirt, only because there is experienced depth ahead of him, and the nation's best center, Kyle Young, is the starter.
Another former Hart Indian, wide receiver/cornerback Evan Surratt, may walk on this fall. He sat out of football in 2005, and will be classified as a freshman in 2006. He was a first team all-CIF DII Southern Section WR in 2003 while sharing the load with Ciccone. In 2004 he shared the load with WR Ryan Wolfe but still had 46 receptions for 852 yards and 7 touchdowns in a down year for the 7-5 Indians. He will more than likely play cornerback at Fresno State since the receiver position is loaded. He has good size, about 6'2 180, but his speed is a questionable and has been out of football since 2004. Hart players do not lack one important thing, that being heart, no pun intended.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Friday, April 14, 2006
|QB||Tom Brandstater So.*|
Sean Norton So.*
|Jordan Christensen Sr.*|
The heated spring quarterback battle does not look much clearer today than it did prior to March 13. Brandstater and Norton will take their battle into August, while Ryan Colburn will more than likely redshirt. If the season started today, Brandstater would be the guy, based on his gameday experience. Norton did not due enough in the spring to wrestle the job away from Brandstater. Norton can still win the job with a solid first week in August, but all signs point to a 2006 Bulldog squad led by Brandstater. Norton and Brandstater had average springs, but considering the weather conditions all spring, it is about as well one can expect from the young quarterbacks. August looms even more important for the future starting quarterback.
Outlook- Cloudy. Someone needs to take control, and not win the job by default.
|RB||Dwayne Wright Jr.*||Shannon Dorsey Jr.*||Andrew Jones Fr.*||Rich Owens Fr.*||Kreig Peters So.*|
The biggest question mark in spring was Wright's health. Well, he is back at full strength and looks to be in the best condition of his career. Clifton Smith sat out spring ball, but hopes to be back by August. Shannon Dorsey had a great spring and will be solid contributor behind Wright. Jones and Owens had some eye opening moments this spring, and give the 'Dogs quality depth, but neither are capable of carrying the team like Wright or Dorsey. Peters missed spring ball, but looked very impressive in"solo" individual drills. He is still not at full strength but should be a solid third option come August.
Outlook- Great. Questionable durability, but very deep backfield.
|FB||Roshon Vercher Sr.*||Frank Padilla Fr.||Reynard Camp Fr.*||Kyle Richard So.*|
The fullbacks are back in full force. Vercher showed no signs of the injury that kept him out of the team's final three games. Padilla is a load at fullback that can block and catch, and had a great spring. With so much depth, there could be the temptation to redshirt, but he is too good to keep off the field. Camp is a true power back that can pound the ball near the goal line, but had an otherwise average spring compared to his FB counterparts. Junior Nathan Adams was the opening game starter back in 2004, but might not crack the lineup in 06. He is still recovering from a season ending injury, and missed spring practice. Along with Richard, he will battle for the 3rd or 4th spot on the depth chart.
Outlook- Spectacular. Vercher has to be considered one the best in the nation.
|TE||Bear Pascoe So.*||Jesus Tapia Jr.*||Drew Lubinsky So.*||Isaac Kinter Fr.*|
The tight ends had a decent spring. Pascoe has slightly moved ahead of the pack, but Lubinsky or Tapia could move ahead with a good August. Kinter is listed as a FB, but practiced with the tight ends and receivers all spring. He could be that hybrid back/receiver that the offense lacked last year. He is big enough to block out of the FB or TE position, but fast enough to beat a safety at the slot. This unit needs to have a great preseason, Hagen has a host of new formations and plays that call for a good pass-catching TE.
Outlook- The jury is still out.
|WR||Paul Williams Sr.*||Jaron Fairman Sr.*||Chastin West Fr.*||Seyi Ajirotutu Fr.*|
|WR||Joe Fernandez Sr.*||Kevin Ciccone So.*||Jason Crawley Fr.*||Marlin Moore Fr.*|
|C||Kyle Young Sr.*||Robin Kezerian Sr.*||Cameron Harris So.*||Joe Bernardi Fr.|
|RG||Cole Popovich So.*||Richard Pacheco So.||Kezerian||Pierce Masse Fr.*|
|LG||Ryan Wendell Jr.*||Chris Piligian Jr.*||Masse|
Wendell was the only "healthy" starter besides Young during spring. He played some center in preseason practice in 2004, and again this spring. He has a strong hold at LG, and had a decent spring substantiate his position. Piligian has lined up at tackle and guard, but more than likely will back up Wendell, along with Kezerian and Masse.
Outlook- Outstanding. Best depth is Hill's tenure.
|RT||Chris Denman Sr.*||James Meeks Fr.*||James Paulk Jr.*|
Denman missed most of spring practice while nursing an injury, but should return to his spot at RT without a challenge. Meeks is as good as a tackle prospect Hill has had in his 10 years at Fresno State. He is still a little raw, but still would be an effective player at either tackle spot if needed. Paulk missed part of spring due to transfer issues. His absence was hardly noticed as the former JC standout was not in football shape all spring. Come August, Paulk will be one of many trying to fill the void at left tackle.
Outlook- Great, as long as Denham is 100%.
|LT||Bobby Lepori So.*||Adam McDowell So.*||John Guevara So.*|
Lepori took hold of this spot with a good spring. He will still have to fend off McDowell and Paulk come August though. McDowell moved back to OT from DE this spring and was impressive. He has bulked up to a solid 270-280, and has great footwork. Guevara is a talented young prospect, but got overpowered a bit much at the critical LT position during the spring. Guevara might be more suited for guard, or bulk up some more to be a better LT.
Outlook- Decent, Lepori took control, but lack of experience is a concern.
Monday, April 10, 2006
After reading the San Francisco Chronicle today, one would think it should be as easy as A-B-C for Fresno State to play Cal, or would it be?
(for those with little time, or patience, the key paragraphs from the SFC):
[Steve]Holton said that coach Jeff Tedford has "an A-B-C philosophy'' about scheduling. That is, each year he wants to play a school from the A list -- a BCS-caliber team from a major conference. He wants a B team from the Mountain West or the Western Athletic Conference. And he wants a C team, or, as Holton said, "somebody you think you have a pretty good opportunity to beat.''
ESPN, in particular, has taken an active role in getting nonconference teams together. It was ESPN, Coonan said, that got Cal and Tennessee interested in each other. "We already had Minnesota on the (2006) schedule, but Jeff's not ducking anybody. He realizes the exposure of a game like that.''
Fresno State would quarrel with the no-ducking part of that statement. Cal hasn't scheduled the ambitious Bulldogs since they beat Cal at Fresno 17-3 in 2000, during the disastrous regime of coach Tom Holmoe. FSU coach Pat Hill promises he'll play anybody anywhere -- e.g. Oct. 21 at LSU -- and Berkeley is just three hours away.
But if Cal is going to play an A school, it would prefer to play someone other than Fresno, even though it is Tedford's alma mater. Part of the reason is that Cal has too much to lose and too little to gain by playing Fresno.
"Four years ago, we could have brought in 30,000-40,000 Fresno fans,'' Holton said. "But now with our season-ticket sales, we've shrunk that (visitors' allotment) down.'' He said, "Cal people will regard Tennessee as something special,'' implying that they wouldn't feel the same way about Fresno.
Friday, April 07, 2006
Your team started out 8-1 this last season, then the wheels seemed to come off. What happened?
It's hard to say what happened. I can't really pinpoint it. It was almost like the USC game was the pinnacle of our season or something. We had a lot to play for, like the WAC Championship, which I know I was playing for. I don't know if everyone else had the same mindset, but things just kind of fell apart and people just stopped playing as hard. But it's really hard to pinpoint one thing.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Quarterback Tom Brandstater has done enough this spring to secure the starting spot. Unless Sean Norton has a spectacular first week of preseason practice in August, Brandstater will be the guy September 1. The indoor practices pretty much hinder Norton's chance from taking the reigns from Brandstater. The final scrimmage would have the best chance for Norton to impress the coaches, but that has been shelved.
Defensively, no one stepped up to fill the void left by cornerback Richard Marshall. Senior Elgin Simmons should be the starter come August, but will have to fend off some talented true freshmen. Junior Damon Jenkins has to prove he can stay healthy if he wants to compete for the starting position.
Overall spring practice has to be considered a success amid the playing conditions and numerous starters who sat out due to injury. Next week I will have a full report and review of spring practice, with depth charts and analysis.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Marshall is very quick for a cornerback. He’s probably the most complete corner in the draft. He led the Bulldogs in tackles last year, so that shows how physical he is. His two interceptions of 100 and 75 yards were straight speed. He picked off the ball and he was gone. He also returned kicks in college, so that tells you what kind of game-breaker he is. Some people may not know a lot about him but when you break Marshall down on tape and compare him to the other cornerbacks in this draft, he’s at the top of the list.
Brad Hoiseth is building another viable option for avid Bulldog fans. Along with the Bark Board, the RedWaveReport is another site to get your daily Bulldog fix. Both sites offer different options for every Bulldog fan, and increase the University's national exposure.
Monday, April 03, 2006
Pat Hill's relationship with New England Patriot head coach Bill Belichick, and experience as a former NFL assistant, has help build a "pipeline" from Fresno State to the NFL. Sanders and Logan Mankins benefited from this relationship and both landed in New England, as 4th and 1st round picks respectively, last year. The Patriots drafting Marshall seemed to be a lock, as early as the second round, after NE had conducted private workouts with the cornerback in February. But his rising stock didn't stop there; he impressed scouts with his physical run support and impressive forty time at the NFL Combine.
As the draft approaches, many NFL teams have Marshall listed as top five cornerback, and he may not last until the second round. As many as five other NFL teams have scheduled or completed private interviews and workouts with the former Bulldog. ESPN's Draft guru Mel Kiper mentioned the other night on SportsCenter that the Chicago Bears would select Marshall with the 26th overall pick. New England is still considering drafting the cornerback with the 21st overall pick, despite pressing needs at other positions
Saturday, April 01, 2006
The anticipated quarterback battle was supposed to have become clearer after today’s Spring Game, but it didn’t. The only real clear thing to come out of the quarterback race was Ryan Colburn is on his way to a redshirt year.
The sun was out and thousands of Bulldog fans filed into Bulldog Stadium to see the Valley’s team. Tom Brandstater got the most reps of all the quarterbacks, but Sean Norton and Colburn were given their fare share. Norton, in my opinion had the better game, but was not too overly impressive to jump ahead in the quarterback race.
Brandstater threw the deep ball well, but his short range throws was a bit off. He hit Paul Williams in stride on a beautiful long ball with Marcus McCauley defending, but also threw a goal line interception for the second consecutive week. Williams, as well, caught a tipped ball from Norton and took it to the house. Chastin West had a very impressive day catching and throwing the ball. The redshirt freshman wide receiver threw a 25 yard touchdown pass on a wide receiver reverse to Marlin Moore.
Dwayne Wright had a great 32 yard on his first carry, but did little else the rest of the scrimmage. Shannon Dorsey, Rich Owens and Andrew Jones shared the load at running back. Owens took a vicious hit from cornerback Elgin Simmons on a halfback screen, and Jones left the game after taking a lick from Dwayne Andrews. Dorsey had a great scrimmage, and showed he is capable of carrying the load if needed.
Damon Jenkins left the game with looked to be a leg or shoulder injury. It didn’t look to be too serious, but he was taken back to the locker room. Vince Mays continued to shine in the secondary. He had another interception in the red zone and made plays all over the field. Redshirt freshman cornerback Jay Reddick read Colburn and made an incredible interception for one of the few highlights for the rest of defensive backs.
Jon Monga had a monster game in the middle. He started along with Louis Leonard at defensive tackle ahead of Jason Shirley, and didn’t disappoint. Tyler Clutts was Tyler Clutts, relentless. He never lets up and doesn’t let his size disadvantage get in the way. Andrews led a brilliant performance by the linebacking corps. The offense ran up the gut most of the time, a strength of the defense, and there were very few runs to the outside besides wide receiver reverses.
Williams was stopped on his runs to the outside, but West was able to get to the corner with ease. Norton, running the option, was about to beat linebacker Trevor Shamblee, a former track star, to the corner but the play was whistled dead.
The halfback screen looks like it will be staple in this year’s offense and not just on third down. Dorsey looked good after the catch, often making defenders miss tackles with his quick moves. Roshon Vercher was rocked by Andrews in a vicious collision, but otherwise had a great game as the lead blocker. Redshirt freshman converted linebacker Reynard Camp scored the first touchdown of the game on a fullback dive.
The quarterback battle between three of the most talented young prospects in Fresno State history was at a standstill after the Visalia scrimmage last week. Ryan Colburn had an off day, but it was offset by the lackluster performances in the rain by Tom Brandstater and Sean Norton. Today's game will be the center of attention for these three. Bulldog fans from all over will be making the trek to Bulldog Stadium to be catching their first glimpse of this heated battle.
Dwayne Wright was able to showcase his talent and abilities last week in Visalia. However, the wet conditions didn't allow him to showcase his game breaking speed or his ability to get into the secondary. Fans are anxiously awaiting to see him break a long run and bring back memories of 2003 and the first two games of 2004.
The defensive backs will be under the microscope today. Fans will be watching them closely and holding their breath as the quarterbacks will try to pick them apart in a game like setting. Marcus McCauley will hold his own, but Elgin Simmons and Damon Jenkins are unproven upperclassman. The young safeties have been great all spring, but can Moses Harris and Marvin Haynes shine in today's scrimmage? Vince Mays is ready to lead the secondary after spending his first three years as a backup and special teams player. He has the hold at free safety, and fans are waiting to see him fly all over the field and make plays.
In all the storylines should make for a great Spring Game, and to top it off the weather is sunny and clear as I top this entry.