Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Hawai'i-Fresno State: Rivalry Game

This Saturday Hawai'i comes to Fresno to play a Bulldog team that is considerably down. There are many different views one can take on this game, but what can we expect to happen? One thing is for sure: These two teams absolutely do not like one another. This rivalry runs much deeper than the football program. With respect to baseball, basketball, and softball it seems that Hawai'i and Fresno State are two teams that are always in some sort of battle for the upper echelon of the WAC. No this may not compare to the Red River Shootout or the Notre Dame-USC game that happens yearly, but here in Fresno there is not a team that we love to hate more than Hawai'i. Fresno State could go 0-11 against the rest of the nation, but if we beat Hawai'i we would remember this game forever (although if we went 0-11 against everyone else that would be horrible).

The series has not alternated like one might expect over the past four years. Hawai'i won in Fresno in 2002 coming back in the 4th quarter to put the Dogs away. In 2003 Fresno traveled to the island and were obliterated as they never had a chance. 2004 and 2005 went to the Bullodgs as they finally broke the island curse in Hawai'i in 2005. In 2004 Fresno State crushed Hawai'i 70-14. At the beginning of the game Hawai'i actually ran down through the Bulldogs doghouse which pushed Fresno State to take a 35-0 lead in the second quarter. Of course we have the famed screwdriver incident in 2002 in which June Jones accused a fan in the Fresno Stat section of throwing a screwdriver at his players. However, it was later determined that the screwdriver did not come from the student section at all. As soon as June Jones learned that Fresno lost this weekend he made the comment that "Maybe the Bulldog fans will throw a screwdriver at their own player instead of his".

Regardless of how badly Fresno Sttae has played this season they do not get blown out at home. If they struggle early this will be the game where Sean Norton is inserted as QB. The Dogs will have a fire this weekend to go out there and get the job done against as hated a rival as they have ever played against. True the attendance might be down, but the fact Norton could play will keep many of us at the stadium just to see if the backup can come in and get the job done. Fresno State is the underdog but they will keep this game close somehow. I am not sure if they will come out of it with a win, but if they do this could be the momentum we need to make a run. if the Dogs were to run these next three games (highly unlikely but bare with me for a second) how would you as fans view the team? Would it upset you that we used our backup and began to win or would you be happy that we were winning again and may have found our fix for the future? I know I would be on the latter half of those options as I just want to see the Dogs win. Hawai'i could provide that spark we need to get back into the win column but the fans and the Dogs need to perform as we can. I hope to see as many fans at the game as possible. If you feel like we are going to get bombed ask yourself this: When is the last time you watched Fresno State lose at home without a chance to win (Aside La. Tech last year)? It has been a long time and I don't see that changing this weekend.


Anonymous said...

Hill is making the right choice in bringing Norton into the game situationally. Throwing the kid into the fire with the team playing so inconsistently could destroy him and Hill does not need that right now. But if Brandstater struggles early, Hill should waste no time in bringing in Norton.

The whole play-calling stuff is nonsense. This is the same offensive scheme we have used for largely the last five years and it has served us pretty well. The issue is execution. There are only two substantive roles missing from last year's team that laid points on everyone. The Qb and a role playing back. Get better play from the QB slot and we are back on track.

And what is with the call for Jefferson over Simmons or Jenkins? What makes us feel he is clearly so much better? And if he is so clearly the best player, is Hill just incompetent? Or maybe he is experiencing early senility. After all, Hill clearly want the worst players on the field. Right?

And maybe the defense has not played the best, particularily in the backfield, but is it truly that shameful? Down from last year without a doubt but has been reasonable. Held the vaunted Oregon offense in check most of the game.

So I guess my point is let's not overreact. Get some consistent play from the QB and stop all the embarassing gaffes on special teams and we are OK.

el perro chato said...

the proof is in the pudding!

nsc said...

So anonymous you feel that if you do put a player in to see if he can do the job and he does a decent job the first time you should pull him? That is an interesting way of thought. I mean honestly I don't know if Jefferson is the answer but you are saying it's better to leave this question unanswered than to try and fix the problem? I am sorry I am one for doing all it takes to mix it up and see what works and doesn't. What we have done on defense has not worked so far so I think trying different players and schemes could help to turn things around for the better.

Anonymous said...

I remember watching the Wake Forest vs. Clemson game this weekend. One comment I thought was interesting. The commentator was talking on how the Wake Forest coaches were able to change to a more basic approach on defense of a 4-3 because of the superior athletes they were getting compared to years past. I agree you have to have special athletes to play a base 4-3. We don't have those special athletes. So it is necessary to make a defensive scheme change. I look at teams like BYU's defense this year. They have similar types of athletes...the "non-freaks". Take a look at the way they play. It's really quite inventive. I think we need more of that. But, after all of that's said a done. someone needs to teach those kids to wrap-up and make a tackle. No matter what defense you run, you have to make the tackle. In the end, if the other team can't score, you win, no matter which QB you play.