Fresno State fans have become accustomed to QB's who throw the ball with extreme efficiency. With QB's such as Trent Dilfer, Billy Volek, David Carr, and Paul Pinegar can you blame Bulldog fans for expecting the best out of their QB? Each of these QB's did an outstanding job of keeping the Bulldogs in games the rest of the nation thought the Bulldogs had no chance to win. In 2006 the Bulldogs QB position took a step back as Tom Brandstater did not perform at the level that Fresno State Bulldog fans have become accustomed to. Far too often Brandstater looked lost on the field of play. It was almost as if Brandstater had never studied what to do when the #1 option on the field wasn't available. Time and time again Brandstater threw into double coverage forcing balls that should have never been thrown. In 2007 Brandstater will once again be the starter for the Bulldogs, but his leash is going to be much shorter than what Pat Hill gave him during the 2006 season. His immediate backup will be Ryan Colburn, a QB from Central Valley Christian who played Div. 5 football during his high school years. While Colburn is a strong physical specimen of a football player he has never experienced high octane football as Div. 5 football in California tends to be far slower than any other level of football. While faith in the QB situation at Fresno State is dwindling as the seasons pass on there is reason to once again believe that the QB problems of the past will remain in the past. The reason for this rests in the right arm of a QB from Flower Mound, Texas.
Matt Faulkner stands at 6'3" while weighing in at a lengthy 190 pounds. While that may be a little undersized for a college QB Fresno State will do all they can to add some size to Matt's frame. No one in the Bulldog program or fan base would be surprised if Faulkner comes in weighing 200-205 pounds by his sophomore season (or his actual Freshman season as he will more than likely redshirt his Freshman year). At first glance you would not view Faulkner as the type of QB who could step in and make noise right from the start. After all he has only played high school football to this point and will need plenty of time to adjust to the college game. However, under Fresno State's system Faulkner may have a chance to gain controls as a starter during his Sophomore season, even with Brandstater playing the next two seasons. Anyone who has watched Faulkner's recruiting videos can see his strengths right away. Fresno State runs a pro style offense which is based on timing routes that tend to become open due to the use of play action in the backfield. Faulkner's offense in Flower Mound was run predominantly in the same exact fashion. Faulkner's tapes show that he can stay in the pocket even when pressure is coming and make the throw. Faulkner seems to possess an absolute cannon as throwing the ball fifty yards downfield seems to be nothing more than an afterthought for the young man. At the same time he seems to have an uncanny ability to be quite accurate when he throws deep, something a receiver such as Devon Wylie may be able to turn into a luxury at Fresno State in the coming years.
Faulkner will not see playing time in 2007 and it is quite possible he will not see any during the 2008 season. However it is obvious this kid has the talent and skills needed to compete at the college football level. He can make the throw over the middle, something that is absolutely required in the college game today. At the same time Faulkner can move if he has to and seems to be accurate on the run as well. His stats at Flower Mound are not gaudy but do remember they also seem to have run a pro style offense. Faulkner did average close to 240 yards passing per game in high school which is rather lofty for a high school QB. With the Bulldogs recent struggles at QB fans have often wondered if the QB situation would ever return to the years of Carr and Dilfer, QB's who could make the throw with the game on the line. Faulkner gives us hope that one day Fresno State will be able to win a game by both ground and air, something they simply could not do in 2006.
Note: Since this is letter of intent week I will be devoting my blogs to those recruits who may be able to come in and make a difference right from the start. Tomorrow I will write about Devon Wylie, Fresno State's next Adam Jennings and then some.