Sunday, October 08, 2006
The Morning After
Last night was as tough a loss as Fresno State has ever experienced. As I explained last night there is so much wrong with Fresno State right now that there is not one area that can fix everything. The next few days I am going to go over the areas I really feel need the most attention in the order of their importance. For me the number one area of improvement is coaching. Pat Hill, Steve Hagen, and Dan Brown are not getting the job done. Of course all of this will fall on Pat Hill because he is the head coach and he is not preparing the Dogs the way he has in the past. The Bulldogs do not look ready when they come out on the field anymore. Not only do they not look ready to play, they also have no fire. I miss the days of David Carr led teams that were out to beat the world. Pat Hill seems to have lost his fire as the head coach and in the coming weeks it is going to be as important as ever for him to find a way to rediscover it.
The most obvious question is where does this team go from here? Pat Hill has become one of the single most stubborn coaches alive and unlike previous years he has affected the performance of the football team in doing so. Earlier in the season I noticed a problem with Brandstater (against Washington) with respect to his pocket presence. I took a lot of negativity for suggesting that he may not be the right quarterback for the Dogs because he has very little poise when in the game. I realize that most of the time my negativity poses a problem but this may be the only time I have been correct about a player at Fresno State. I had problems with Pinegar but he could throw the ball well. Brandstater did not complete 50% of his passes last night against one of the single worst defenses in the nation and it is all going to fall back onto Pat Hill. Pat Hill wanted to dumb down the playbook for the so called new receivers, but we all know it is being done because Tom cannot make the plays. So why do we continue to use a QB that cannot make the plays? Has Pat Hill ruined the remainder of the season? I still believe the answer is no, but only if the coaching wises up now and begins to make some changes.
First and foremost Pat Hill has to give Sean Norton a chance. If Norton doesn't work out so be it, but he has to let him see if he can do something positive for the Dogs. Pat needs to swallow his pride for the first time in his career at state and realize that he made a mistake. If he inserts Norton as starter this upcoming weekend there will be many more fans at the game than we might anticipate solely to see how good the Parade All American can play. If he let's Tom start again the attendance might be at an all time low as fans do not want to watch this offense go into it's pathetic mode that it tends to when Brandstater starts. On offense I don't feel like any more changes are needed aside opening up the playbook and maybe running the option with Norton at QB. If that happens we add another dimension to the game that Hawaii will have trouble keeping up with.
Dan Brown and the defense will have to figure out how to get pressure on the QB. Colt Brennan is amazing as most of you saw last night, but when he is pressured he will fumble or force throws. That is going to be the only way we win next weekend, with a opportunistic defense that hasn't done anything for us all season. We need interceptions and fumble recoveries next weekend and we need them bad. Brown needs to find a way to attack the Hawaii offense or this game is going to get out of hand fast. I would attack Steve Hagen but I feel like the play calling is not completely on him as Pat Hill has final say over all plays. So once again Pat Hill needs to change something on offense. I suggested a spread formation with Norton in from time to time but Hill is so stuck on the pro style that my spread idea will never materialize.
In the end changes are needed badly. Hill has to know this after the pathetic showing we had at Utah State. Congrats to Utah State and all but Pat Hill handed them a win. If they want to thank anyone for that win they have no where else to look but squarely at Pat Hill. Utah State knew we would run early and often and did everything they could to stop it daring us to throw. Pat Hill did not get the team ready and for that he should shoulder most of this loss.