Sunday, September 10, 2006

Disappointment Again

It seems that every year Fresno State cannot get over the hump that is known as the Oregon Ducks. Last night time and time again Fresno State had a chance to take a game from the Ducks. Unfortunately as fate would have it the Bulldogs were not going to end up the victors on this beautiful night of football.

Most people are going to look back on this game as the game that our special teams lost. However, I do not percieve this game that way at all. Fresno State had many chances to stop Oregon on defense far before the special teams even came into play. Countless times third and long turned into a first down as Oregon smartly threw to Jenkins and Simmons side continuously. From time to time Oregon tried to go to MCauley's side only to fail. Last night Marcus McCauley played one of the better games in his Fresno State career. If McCauley weren't knocking down passes he would be drilling Oregon Ducks play after play and this all happened after he endured a helmet to helmet hit from a Duck in the first quarter. McCauley's absence was noticeable as Oregon drove down the field easily without him in the game and scored a touchdown.

One thing that should come from this game is the promise of Tom Brandstater. Brandstater played with poise and toughness that we haven't seen in a Fresno State quarterback since the days of Trent Dilfer. Brandstater was punished play after play by the blitzing Oregon defense, but would get up and take Fresno State down field giving them a chance to win. I know most people in Fresno are going to take this loss hard because the Bulldogs had a chance to win, but do realize we are a young team. Our skilled positions are young (with most of them being sophomores or younger) and full of promise. Lonyae Miller filled in admirably for Dwayne Wright at running back. Although both Jenkins and Simmons were continually picked on at the corner opposite McCauley, they are gaining valuable experience while out there. Brandstater is a sophomore, and we have four freshman receivers with Chastin West already making an impact.

Overall I was very pleased with the Bulldogs effort last night. Most believe that the season is now lost but I feel that is far from true. Although the road is tough Fresno can rebound next week against a much improved Washington team. Look for Fresno to come out firing on all cylinders next week after a loss like this. I will say it now, the Bulldogs will begin a four game winning streak next weekend at Washington leading into our game at LSU. The fan support last night was unreal. Keep up the great fan support and hopefully down the line the Bulldogs will repay the fans for the great support they are giving them this season.

Other WAC Games

1) San Jose State 35 Stanford 34 - In an upset San Jose State came back to beat the Cardinal after trailing 34-14. Give the Spartans credit. They are much improved and will give many teams in the WAC much more of a game than they are ready for.

2) Arizona State 52 Nevada 21

3) Washington State 56 Idaho 10

4) Arkansas 20 Utah State 0

5) New Mexico 34 New Mexico State 28


Michael Wines said...

It was a great game and I think you guys will be very tough this year and beyond,

Mike @

bulldog1 said...

Awesome game. Awesome crowd. Awesome atmosphere. Big time college football in Fresno last night. Well worth the trip from North Carolina.

Tough loss for our young kids. I counted at least eight soph or frosh in the game at critical times. When did we see that last?

This program is in great shape. Go DOGS!

Anonymous said...

I agree with this post. I still don't like the defense scheme. The middle to end of the second quater right after MM came back with the corner blitz, we had them off-balance. That team was not ready for the blitz, corner or otherwise. And we never got around to using it again the entire second-half. We never had containment on them. The outside run was there all night except when we blitzed off the corner.

I grew up a Nebraska Fan. I remember a game in 96 when they went against a Steve Spurrier offense that averaged 44 points per game. On the whole, probably better than Oregon tricky spread offense will ever be. The Blackshirts held them to a season low 24 points, most of them scored after the game was way out of reach.

Fresno needs that kind of shutdown defense to go with our really good offense. That's what it will take to beat both Oregon and LSU in the same season. Until that happens and we keep just trying to win shootouts, we will be a just above average team that keeps getting the magnanimous title of "they play hard".

And someone needs to tell Tommy B to get use to passing on third and long. Volek did it, Carr did it, Pinegar did it (albeit not very well). We love to run and sometimes it works well, but never fails that we get stuffed on one of them and blow second down too. If he can step up on those third downs and make his best passes of the game, he will be on top of all those names.

Anonymous said...

I love the positive vibes, but lets not get too positive until the beat UW next week.

Anonymous said...

Is it the defensive scheme or is it that the LBs just aren't that fast?

nsc said...

You guys need to realize that having Riley out is the biggest loss on defense. Riley not playing is comparable to not having McCauley in there when we need him to be. You all saw how bad our pass defense was once McCauley was out of the game in the first half. Our LB's suffer when Riley is out because his speed and game management are amazing. Our defensive scheme is not to bad, I mean our defense pretty much kept us in the game in the second half. We just need our key injuries to get healthy and all will be well in Bulldog land once again.

Anonymous said...

Is it the scheme or the players?

Good question.

Notre Dame had the similar talent last year as they did the year before. And we all know what kind of offensive difference that scheme change made. The call-sign of a great coach is the ablity to change the scheme to fit your current personal. If we only have three good line backers, (goodwin, riley and andrews) and we can't beat big name teams without them, we are in trouble.

If that is the case and the only reason our defense is troubled is because of our linebackers, then why havn't we been make that the number one recruiting priority. I am going to disagree here. I think we have plenty of talent at that position with and without Riley.

Does the loss of Riley hurt? Of course, but he is not a superman. He only plays on one side of the Defense. If the whole effectivity of the defense hings on his presence, how do you make the defense not depend on him? You have to change the way you play defense. You have to be adaptable.

Players are going to get hurt, that is the nature of the game. This is a team sport in the end. One player may make a huge difference, but you can only rely on that player when he is playing. When he is not in there the whole nature of the defense needs to be adapted to hightlight the other strengths.

I don't see that happening. It's more like we have a mold and if the mold doesn't have the right players in the right spots, then it all breaks down. Case-in-point the loss of MM.

Anonymous said...

saw the game live and just watched the
replay fore the 2nd time. marlon briscoe is soft. only can help if the play is runaway from him. Run at him and he winds up in the defensive backfield. He did this against Nevada also. Mays has to react faster. he was out of position on many plays just as in the Nevada game. Briscoe would not have made the traveling team if he played for the Ducks.

Anonymous said...

#92 and

#92 and #10 play very soft. both get driven off the ball when you run right at them. Nevada exposed this and Oregon proved that these two really have to step it up big time.


Anonymous said...

Some stats:

1st Q:

Oregon has 4 drives
1 Fumble
1 Punt
2 TD's

FS has 3 drives:
2 Punts
1 FG

2nd Q:

Oregon has 3 drives:
2 Punts
1 FG

FS has 4 drives:
2 Punts
1 TD

3rd Q:
Oregon has 2 drives:
1 Punt
1 TD

FS has 2 drives:
1 Punt
1 TD

4th Q:
Oregon has 2 drives:
1 Downs
1 TD

FS has 2 drives:
1 Downs
1 TD

First Half O/D Comparison
If we count FG's as defensive stops,
FS D has 5 stops & gives 2 TD's
FS O has 6 stops & gets 1 TD

The O is loosing 1 stop and 1 TD so you could make the point that the defense kept us in the game the first half.

Second Half O/D Comparison

FS D has 2 stops & gives 2 TD's
FS O has 3 stops & gets 2 TD

The TD's are even and the difference in stops is because Oregon was trying to run out the game clock and the O has a last second INT. I don't think that points to the D keeping us in the game the second half.

I would say if anything, on the whole, the offense kept us in the game by keeping the defense off the field as indicated by a sizeable TOP advantage of 8:32.

Fact of the matter is that if the D gets 2 more punts, those special teams plays are not even an issue.

So, how does the D get 2 more punts? Well we can only switch players in and out, but we can't at this point change the players we have so what can we change? The scheme.

When did the D have a decided advantage? The 2nd Quater (3 stops gives 0 TDs). What was the difference between that quater and the other three. We confused their QB.

The linebackers were faking blitz and blitzing and we were blitzing the corners. A bit more risky, yes, but the confusion it caused was the advantage and it clearly shows in the game stats. This is the kind of scheme change that can equalize the player talent discrepancy.

Why did we get away from that defensive scheme? Interestingly, you could do a similar comparsion with the Oregon game last year. We owned them in the first quater, then got away from the blitzing and defensive disguising. These are the things we need to notice at half-time and make the adjustments.

On the other hand, Hagen did a nice job of adjusting. He went away from the pass-happy to a smash-mouth approach. And the second half yards gained went from 145 to 212. Oregon on the other hand 183 to 177 (well 191 when you count the 14 for the field-goal block/recover). You see we made half-time adjustments on offense that worked and on defense that didn't.

The numbers don't lie.

Ral said...

Mays was once again exposed.In both games so far,he was out of position and will get burned all year long if he does'nt start playing to his potential.I agree that dogs should have blitzed all night against Oregon and things would have changed for the better.
Also Brandstater played well but someone has to remind him not to stare down his receiver because defenses are picking up on that.
Needs to make quicker decision and throw on one,two three count....

nsc said...

Riley is as valuable on our defense as any one player is for us. I agree that he is not the entire defense. I also agree that our offense may have been the reason Oregon could not score more, we had plenty of long drives that kept them off of the field. The drive to start the second half (seven minutes to score a touchdown) was exactly what we needed to get back in the game.

All we can do is go from here and learn from the mistakes that the team made. Soon enough Riley will be back and our three linebackers will be playing together. We definitely have a problem with Mays. he doesn't seem to be catching on well and it is hurting us. The middle of the defense continually gets burned because no one is stepping up and breaking down the passing lanes. While Shirley made some great plays he also arrived a second late on most throws over the middle.

Eventually Hill/Brown and the defense is going to have to figure out how to get pressure on the qb often. We give the opponents qb ages to throw and even an average qb will tear us up with an eternity of time to throw. Hopefully Washington will be our way to figure out how to pressure the qb again.

aa said...