Monday, September 04, 2006
FSU-Oregon Quarterback/Running Back Preview
Quarterbacks - Dennis Dixon is one of the more explosive running quarterbacks in the nation. While he does not have the greatest of arms and is not nearly as accurate as Clemons was last year for Oregon, his speed will cause fits for Fresno State. If Dixon is pressured, he can easily avoid pressure and turn a loss into a big gain. Dixon only rushed for 17 yards last weekend against Stanford, but they did not need a big running game out of him as the running game overall was powerful. Oregon's offensive line will give Dixon time to throw as they will also open up holes for their running backs to get through. While Fresno beat a good team in Nevada they are no where near the talent level that Oregon is. Oregon should come into Fresno ranked somewhere between 17-19. Dixon is the team leader and will run a powerful offense. Fresno will have to figure out how to put pressure on a man who can make mistakes, but only if he is forced
into undesirable situations.
Tom Brandstater Showed he can play qb for the Bulldogs last weekend, but will have much more of a challenge this time around against a far superior Oregon defense. Fresno will have to open up the passing game much more than the week prior because Oregon will dare them to throw the ball downfield. Brandstater has the arm to make great throws but the question is will he be ready to step up in such a big game this early in his career? Yes he made the good smart passes against Nevada but Fresno will nee more out of him this time around. Brandstater will have to take advantage of the one on one matchups that Oregon will give him with respect to Fernandez and Williams. If he cannot this will turn into a long game for the Bulldogs.
Quarterback Advantage - Oregon
Running Backs - Oregon ran the ball against Stanford at will. Oregon ran for 300 yards on the ground because their offensive line is disciplined and opened up gaping holes for the running backs all day. The running attack is led by Jonathan Stewart, a sophomore who is 5'11 but weighs 230. He is a bullish runner and is much like Dwayne Wright with respect to breaking tackles. Oregon will try to establish the run first and foremost and a bulk of the carries will go to Stewart who ran for 168 yards against Stanford. If Fresno cannot close the holes in the middle they are going to give up large amounts of yards. Nevada exposed the Bulldogs weaknesses on the line but with Shirley and Leonard in the middle the Dogs should be able to limit Oregon with respect to the running game. Oregon will not be completely stopped, they are far too talented to have that done to them. However, Fresno needs to focus on keeping the Ducks from gaining five yards a carry. If they can do so the Dogs will have a chance in this one.
Fresno obviously runs with Dwayne Wright and Lonyae Miller. Against Nevada Fresno State racked up 212 total yards rushing and will look to establish their running game from the start. However, Oregon will challenge Fresno State by putting eight-nine men in the box at times. They will beg the Bulldogs to beat them with their passing game just as they coaxed them into doing last year. It is important for Fresno State to establish a great time of possession advantage in order for the Bulldogs to come out on top in this game. Fresno has a running game that equals Oregon's, however the Bulldogs offensive line must continue to open holes like they did against Nevada. This game will come down to execution in the trenches. If Fresno can provide running room they may be able to control the clock and come out on top. If they can't then the game will be placed squarely on Brandstater's shoulders, something that can't be too comfortable this early into his career.
Running Back Advantage - Even
Remaining Posts This Week:
9/5 - Wide Receivers/Tight End
9/6 - Offensive Line/Defensive Line
9/7 - LineBackers/Secondary
9/8 - Game Prediction
9/9 - GameDay