As soon as the college football season ends another season begins that possibly may be just as important as the actual football season itself. Recruiting season tends to heat up just as we finish cheering for our respective football teams in whatever nonsense bowl game they are a part of. Let's be honest here, unless your team is playing in a BCS game there really isn't much to be happy about with respect to the bowl season. Yes we can be happy about playing in the Liberty Bowl but at the end of the day it is just another ho hum bowl that few people care about. Our goal at Fresno State is to one day crash the BCS just as Boise State has done this season. The problem is Fresno State continually struggles to win the WAC. Although most people in this city put a BCS game down as our number one goal, we have to realize there is no way that will ever happen unless we go undefeated in the WAC first. To me this is where
recruiting becomes one of the more important factors into how our future goes at Fresno State.
The two pictures on the left as most of you know are of Devan Cunningham and Matt Faulkner. These are just two of our fifteen recruits headed to Fresno State for the 2007 season and beyond. Cunningham is a great three star prospect that will have a chance to compete for an O-line position as a true Freshman. Faulkner is a Texas QB who ran the spread offense in high school and averaged over 250 yards passing per game. While these recruits sound great the challenge will be to work them into the Bulldogs offensive gameplan. Here in lays the problem with whomever the Bulldogs recruit. If a player such as Chris Carter of Fontana decides to attend Fresno State (which he says he wants to) Pat Hill will have to find a way to incorporate this player into the team's overall scheme. As we all know trying to fit Brandstater into our offense in 2006 did not work out the way Pat Hill had hoped it would. Whether it was because Brandstater did not adapt to the system or not remains to be seen. If the Bulldogs are to be a successful football team in the future Pat Hill will have to do a better job of getting these players ready for games. I have seen the Bulldogs practice countless times in the past and our offense always looks ready to explode. Unfortunately practice is not the same as a game and the Bulldogs had a problem rolling over all of that explosive offensive fire-power into the actual season.
Will the Bulldogs take a step forward in 2007 and figure out how to win again? Will Fresno State find that defensive prowess that we all remember from the early part of the decade? It seems as if the Bulldogs have made speed their number one priority in this off-season and after watching the LSU game we as fans should be able to see that their is a necessary need for speed on this team. Without Dwayne Wright the offensive gameplan will rest on the shoulders of an unproven QB and two explosive albeit young Running Backs. Pat Hill has his work cut out for him in 2007 but improvement will be relatively easy to achieve with the way the 2006 season ended. But can you truly see this team turning 2007 into a season that many of us would like to remember forever?
In 2007 we have road games against Hawaii (if Brennan returns they will be a nightmare to play), Oregon, and Cincinnati. All three of these teams will be ready for the Dogs and we will have to bring our "A" game just to compete. However, recruiting has allowed all of us as fans to believe that the Dogs will be a much different team in 2007. With a secondary that now has Sharrod Davis and Damon Jenkins at corner I feel a little better about our coverage. Bell, Owens, Haynes, Harris, and Jefferson will all be roaming the secondary and one thing is for sure: This team will be much faster than the team in 2006. Remember we have also received commitments from players such as Terrance Dennis who is one of the hardest hitting secondary players in the state, and Isaiah Green. We have plenty of secondary help on the way and if Chris Carter decides on Fresno State we will be looking like a team with just as much athleticism as any team in the state in the coming years (of course aside USC who has fifty million five star recruits per year).
As long as Fresno State continues to address the needs they have this off-season the future of this team will look bright. We need one of our two QB's to come in this season and play without fear. We need either Brandstater or Colburn to step in and make a statement early in the season. Regardless of what happened in 2006 the outlook for the coming seasons is actually quite good. It almost seems as if these recruits want to come to Fresno State to help the Dogs reclaim that national name that it once held. Whatever the reasons the future will be fine. Fresno State will win ten games again sometime soon and the reason we will get better with time will come down to recruiting and the young men that want to step onto the field and wear the Green V with pride.