Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Player Development: Does Fresno State Do it Right?
Year after year we go as Fresno State fans face the conodrum of redshirting Bulldog players. We get talented young men that come into the Bulldog system only to sit out their freshman year so they are able to retain a year of elgibility. Of course this makes sense if you think about giving a player time to develop and understand the program. This way of development also makes sense if you don't feel the kid is ready to get in and contribute right away. However, there is an opposing side to this argument that I am going to make because I think the Bulldogs lose a good amount of players recruiting wise due to the fact they choose to redshirt many of their Freshman.
Say you are a star high school player and know you can choose where you want to go to college. Fresno State is interested in you but so are many PAC-10 schools. The PAC-10 schools tell you that you will play as a Freshman and won't have to sit out. You may not start but you will see playing time. Pat Hill comes along and tells you that you are a great fit for the Bulldogs but will have to sit out your Frsshman year to better develop your skills. Hill says if you develop then you will be in the games early and often after your Redshirt Freshman year. As a player which school would you rather choose? I believe this is an easy decision as most kids are going to choose a PAC-10 school where they may not be a starter right away but will have the opportunity to contribute as Freshman. I don't always mind redshirting players as I am one who believes a QB needs to have a redshirt year unless he is far advanced and has the skills to play right away. However, I do not think every player needs to redshirt. Lonyae Miller did not redshirt this season and we as fans can see how good thid kid is going to be. Would it have made sense to sit him out this year and see what he has next year? I don't believe so because the one aspect of development you cannot compare to is game experience. The only way to get better is to play the game. I think Pat Hill is a good coach with a couple of flaws as every coach aside Pete Carroll seems to have some flaws. The way he brings Freshman along works well when our team is stacked, but in years like 2006 it doesn't help at all to hold someone out. With the lack of depth this team has the only way to handle it is to give the younger guys playing time just to get their feet wet so to speak.
If you are going to argue that redshirting is a necessity I will not say you are wrong. I can see why a fan would feel that players should redshirt in order to get ready for their first true year of playing. I am just trying to peak inside of the head of apotential recruit and see hwat he might be thinking with respect to Fresno State. I really feel many recruits pass on the Dogs because they do not want to miss a year of football. We were given a gift in Sean Norton who did not play for two years while waiting for a chance to get in a game for the Dogs. Not every player that comes up is going to be ok with this because they want to play and many of them deserve a chance to do so. I am just wondering what everyone thinks about this aspect of Bulldog player development? Are you happy with the way we develop kids or do you have other ideas about how it should be done?
By the way I have been reading the argument as to whether the Dogs should win or lose this game against Boise because they could lose a half a million dollars in beating them. I say you always go for a win and screw the money. The Dogs would find a terrible way to spend the BCS money anyhow. Hopefully it won't matter and the Dogs will find a way to win tommorow night. I picked the Dogs to win, but the offensive line will be depleted. I might waver on that pick due to this fact. At the same time I will say the Dogs will come within 27 of the spread although we have only covered once this season. We will cover tomorrow night, guaranteed. As of right now I am sticking with a Dogs upset, but we will see.