Sunday, September 17, 2006

Frustration Is Setting In

I am a faithful Bulldog fan and always will be. I love Fresno State football and really am happy with what Pat Hill has brought us over the last ten years. However, I am at wit's end with this offense and what they have done. Every game we have the chance to absolutely take the other team out early on (as we did against Washington) and we don't do it. Yesterday up 7-0 we get the ball back on the 45 yard line. That is the time where you start going for the kill. I realize Dwayne Wright has been a great running back for us, but you throw the ball deep on the first play when you get it back. Instead Fresno gets the ball back and does absolutely nothing with it. I mean we had series where we ran the ball all three downs. TB only threw 9 passes by halftime. We were down 14-7 and he had thrown nine passes, you cannot say that is efficent by any means. I said Fresno would not be any better than an 8-4 team this season, but I was not counting on a loss to Washington. I figured we would have a three game losing streak with Hawaii (whom I picked to win 9-10 games), Boise, and LSU.

I came away from yesterday's game with one thought: our coaching is the reason we do not win games. I talked to MDG about it last night and he and I both agree that the coaches hold the team back. I know that sounds assanine but the truth is look at the play calling. We run such a predictable offense and the amazing thing is we should be 3-0 right now. How much talent does it take to do what the Dogs do on offense? I mean you have a quarterback who completes 50% of his passes (which in our system is horrible because the passing game is so one dimensional). Yesterday TB was saved by a false start on offense, and then threw the exact same ball again for an interception. Brandstater has a problem with a couple of fundamentals that quarterbacks cannot have. Here are some of his problems:

1) More often than not Brandstater throws off of his front or back foot. He does not set and just lets the ball fly, which is why he over and under throws receivers so much. Yesterday on third and fifteen he missed Fernandez wide open. On 3rd and eight he underthrew Fernandez who was wide open again. With the game on the line he had Fairman open on a middle slant (which is always open, I don't know why we don't exploit that more) not once but twice and both times overthrew him badly. All of this can be attributed to not setting himself as he throws.

2) TB does not seem to have pocket presence yet. He doesn't know when to move up, when to step back, or when to run. He just kind of looks lost in the shuffle during plays.

3) My biggest complaint of them all, he holds on to the ball to long. He waits and waits and waits until the receivers have cut four or five times. This is so frustrating to watch because you know with our three receivers and tight end that someone is open every play.

I don't know if Sean Norton is the answer. I don't know if opening up the passing game is the answer. But when you have Ralph Wood (who literally knows next to knothing about football) commenting on how Fresno State will not be able to rely on the run for the entire season then you know something is wrong. He unfortunately is right. I have been clamoring about this since our first game. If we don't start passing the ball we will not win games and eventually we will begin to get blown out. Boise will stop the run. LSU will definitely stop the run. Boise's weakness is the vertical game deep, something we cannot take advantage of right now.

In the end it is going to come down to play calling and opportunities. If the coaches dont give us opportunites then this will never end and we will finish 7-5 this season and not play in a bowl game. It could become an ugly season, I just hope it doesn't get to that.


bulldog1 said...

Sorry, but I am not sure I buy some of this.

Following the opening TD drive, the Dogs sputtered on the next four drives. In that span we ran nine times and threw nine times. A seemingly balanced attack. As well, we threw four times on first down and ran three times on first down. Again, pretty balanced and leaning to the pass.

The next drive was another TD after three plays followed by more sputtering.

On the next drive we run more than pass by a wide margin (9 runs, 3 passes) but we generate 4 first downs. We pass on first down 2 of 5 times and complete neither.

On the final TD drive we actually pass more than run. Brandstater is 3 of 5 and rushes for a first down on fourth and seven to keep the drive going.

Excluding the first drive (all runs) and the last (we had to pass) the Dogs were perfectly balanced on first down with 10 rush and 10 pass by my count.

Also, I can only find one instance of Run-Run-Run play calling but it did lead to a first down.

Anyway I do agree that this was Brandstater's poorest showing. But before we start blowing the Norton trumpet again, recall that Tommy was pretty clean, albeit unspectacular, against both Nevada and Oregon. We would be hard pressed to pin the blame on him for the Oregon loss. And this week, again we are two bonehead plays away from winning the thing.

We have some young players and they are making some mistakes. We also lack a bit of leadership apparently. I have written it here before, Pat Hill is why we are where we are and he is not the problem.

nsc said...

Bulldog1, nowhere in my post do I say that we need to bench Brandstater. If you read into it I state that our play calling is the problem, not those actually playing on the field. We threw tha ball 21 times and ran a total of 60 plays in the game. So we throw around 33 percent of the time. I just don't think we open it up enough.

Go back and watch the first three games. Tell me how many times Brandstater has gone deep to someone not named Williams? The answer is none. We are too damn predictable and I thought that would go away when Cignetti left but I was wrong. Overall we have many young guys but this team is lacking confidence and to me that starts with coaching. I read that Hill said he would get new players if these ones didn't play harder. I think they play their asses off and our coaching doesn't give us a chance to perform at the highest level. I don't blame Hill, he doesn't call the plays. Hagen is killing us though. If we don't open it up we will be lucky to finish .500 this season.

Barkelnic said...

My frustration is also setting in--with the naysayers and critics who continue to blame coaches when we lose. Hill is the best thing that has ever happened to FSU. Everyone seems to recognize Hill's attributes except some Fresno fans. It's frustrating.