Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What Happened To The WAC?

With a loss Saturday Fresno State fell to 1-2. Fresno State's last two weeks of football will be games that we as fans would just as soon forget. Yes, Fresno State could very easily be 3-0 right now but we have to accept that they aren't. Our non-conference schedule has bitten us in the worst possible way this season, but I think too many people are forgetting what our first goal should be year in and year out: To Win The WAC. In the off-season Fresno State fans made it a point that our team should concentrate on the WAC championship this season. In the past our hot starts always lead us away from paying attention to our conference. This season is obviously far different from most. We will not be a BCS team this year as we have no chance of being in the top 12 at the end of the year. Maybe it is a good thing that for the first time in the past three years we have no chance this early in the season. Maybe for the first time Fresno can actually turn this thing around and take the WAC and run with it. Obviously it will not be easy because of two games that are on the schedule: Hawaii and Boise State. Is it possible for the Bulldogs to win the WAC this season? The answer is absolutely. We were able to see the difference in the run defense with the addition of Marcus Riley. Yes, I realize Stanback ran for plenty of yards but the two running backs for Washington rushed for a total of 30 yards. Every time James or Rankin touched the ball they were absolutely swarmed. If Fresno State can figure out how to stop someone on third and long they may be able to turn their season around. If Fresno is to return to prominence this season a few changes need to be made. Some of these changes in my opinion are:

1) On defense Fresno State needs to create pressure on the quarterback in one way or another. Whether it is through blitzing corners, safeties, or linebackers they need to figure out a way to get into the backfield (on a side note our safeties cannot cover anyone anyway so why not blitz them from time to time?). At the same time Fresno State needs to create turnovers. We had a chance to be 3-0 and have no interceptions on the season. I may be wrong but we only have two fumble recoveries this season as well. In order to control the game we need to create more opportunities and that won't happen without turnovers.

2) We need to figure out a way to open up the vertical game. If the coaches do not trust Brandstater to make these throws then put Norton in. I don't care who our quarterback is as long as the coaches let him throw the ball. It is continually becoming annoying to watch the Bulldogs run only because our passing game is no where to be found. We have some great receivers and we need to start taking advantage of this part of the game.

3) Fix the special teams problems. If we played special teams like we normally do we would be 3-0 at the moment. Right now we are 1-2 but if we can tweak the special teams back to what they were a year ago we will begin to win again.

I know these seem like simple answers but we really aren't that far away from being a very good team. We may finish 8-4 or 7-5, but 9-3 is not out of the question. We have some tough games remaining, but remember we are 1-0 in the WAC. Let's take advantage of that and run with it. I hope to see everyone out at the Colorado State game next weekend. It has been a tough start but we can support the Dogs and help them turn this thing around.


Ral said...

Dogs need our support more than ever. Perhaps the 1-2 start is a good thing so that the Dogs and coaches can actually focus on winning the Wac and shut those folks up who say Pat has'nt won a conference championship straight out since he came to Fresno.
From what I saw in the last 3 games, Brandstater or "Brandy" has been given chances to pass and he has buckeled under pressure and thrown bad passes, putting out good drives and giving momentum to the other teams. None of us can sit at our computers and say it is an easy job.I feel for the young man but he must also realize that playing QB at a school like FS demands almost perfection even though he is inexeprienced. Afterall, there are several sophmores QBs out there doing an almost pefect job for other schools.
I have to believe Pat will also realize that Norton should be given a chance. Hopefully in the next game, if things don't go well for "Brandy", then Hill will swallow his pride and put Sean in. His performance and the records he broke in High School cannot be ignored by Hill.
All the players have worked far too hard to let this season go south and putting the right players in the right positions is expected of every good coach if victory is the goal.

nsc said...

Good points about Norton Ral, I just dont see Hill doing something of that sort. He always leaves the qb's in for far too long and will never change it up. I am not sure benching Brandstater is the answer, but if Norton were in for some time we might be able to see if he can make the throws that Brandstater has not been making. Well we have 12 days till our next game, plenty of time to get ready so let's hope the Dogs come out fired up for the Colorado State game.

Anonymous said...

I definitely feel that the coaches are scared to open up the offense with Brandstater. Fresno has 3 great receivers to throw the ball to and look what they have done this year statistically, basically nothing. If the coaches are worried about Tom throwing interceptions, the put Norton in and see what he can do. Open up the offense, you arent going to a big time bowl and if you dont open up the offense soon you might not go to any bowl. So if Pat Hill is not confident in Brandy, put in the Parade All-American. Height shouldn't matter, especially when you are 1-2. If someone can play, they can play...

Anonymous said...

Aren't these the same receivers we lit up USC with!!! And to boot we have a better running game. Conventional Wisdom says that a running game opens up the passing game. I don't care how bad Tommy B or Sean Norton are, there is absolutely no reason we can't pass the ball around. Just pass it!!! If that fails, let's run it then for a change. Nobody will ever see it coming, it would be a totally different gameplan then we have ever seen under P. Hill!!!

iSlappy said...

@ ral
Dogs need our support more than ever
Very true, it is when the Dogs are down that they need the support of the community more than ever. It's easy to be upbeat, as a player or a fan, when the team is winning. True champions rise quickly after a fall. Let's show the Dogs we are behind them 100% and get a win against CO St.!!!

As for swapping out TB, I don't think that's going to happen. If Norton was some gem in the rough, you know that Pat Hill would be playing him. That is what Pat Hill looks for, he loves the underdogs. He saw something in TB over Norton that gave him the nod. Though, for some players, having that threat of being yanked can be motivational, but for others it can be disastrous. I am not sure where TB falls in there, but my thoughts are that TB doesn't have full confidence in his passing ability yet. Once he does, these Dogs will be off and flying.

Anonymous said...

We MUST keep supporting the Dogs. Our goal to win the WAC is still number one as far as I am concerned. I would like to look back in a few years and be proud of this team for taking care of business in conference games, and letting the chips fall where they may in non-conference. Those BCS conference wins will come and go, but the focus of any mid-major should be to nail down the conference title to make the program flourish.

BTW my first Fresno State home game in 4 years was the Oregon game, and I must say I was very impressed with the level of intensity in the crowd. I probably won't get back to another home game this year (living in San Diego has its drawbacks), but I would hope that the crowd can keep the intensity up for the other WAC games. Selling out would be a bonus, but it is probably unlikely, given the way Dog fans usually respond to losing in big games.