With signing day only five days away I began to think about the Bulldogs and where they are headed offensively. I know that the Dogs are not nearly as potent on offense as they have been in the past, but the question that reamins in my head is do the Dogs have enough talent on offense to become an explosive team once again? I believe without a doubt that the answer is yes. Unfortunately putting trust into a QB that faltered game after game this past season is going to be very hard for many Fresno State fans to do. The fact that Brandstater more than likely will be our starter should not shy fans away from attending home games this upcoming season. Fresno State may have had a terrible 2006 season but that does not exactly reflect how 2007 will be. Part of our offensive problem this past season had to do with team chemistry and continuity. As you can see above the picture I put at the top is of Fairman running while Fernandez is blocking. Fairman was lost for the season relatively early and Fernandez and Williams fought injuries all year. It is easy to forget that this team had very little to count on from week to week with respect to team continuity.
While I know it seems hard to believe that the Dogs can once again become a potent play-making offense I am going to try to prove to everyone that reads the blog that this is possible. First of all our Offensive Line is going to be strong once again. With most of our line returning from 2006 the Dogs should be set to open up large holes on the offensive side. If Harding and Miller can break through the line remember one aspect both of these men bring that Dwayne Wright didn't necessarily have: Downfield speed. Once Harding or Miller gets past the secondary there is no one that will be able to catch these young men. While Wright was outstanding at breaking tackles he more often than not would get caught from behind downfield because he would run out of steam. Brandstater has more help in the backfield than many of the QB's that have come through Fresno State and he needs to realize he just has to relax to get the job done. With Crawley, Moore, West, Ajirotutu, and maybe even Wiley at receiver Brandstater's options are going to be plentiful. At the same time Kinter has proven he can catch at fullback and we all know Pascoe is one of the more sure handed receivers on this football team.
While the weapons around Brandstater seem to be as strong as ever the offense still lays in Brandstater's hands. This is the number one reason most people are suspect about how well the Bulldogs will play in 2007. Brandstater has the physical tools to be a prototypical QB at the NFL level. The problem is his mind is far behind his body. His mind is not allowing him to develop at the pace he should and that is why Jeff Grady could play a vital role with respect to Brandstater's development. Grady is the know all QB coach who was able to master the Bulldogs playbook in less than one season. Grady is a tough kid who knows what it takes to get the job done and will do everything in his power to make sure that Brandstater is ready for 2007. With games at Texas A&M in week 2 and at Oregon in week 3 Brandstater needs to develop some sort of continuity with the offense in the opening week of the season against Sac State.
In 2007 The Dogs will line up against Oregon, A&M, K-State, Boise, and Hawaii. In 2008 the Dogs will take on the two WAC schools again and will also play Wisconsin, Kansas State, Toledo, and UCLA. Fresno State needs to make strides in 2007 if they hope to be on the national scene in 2008. If the Dogs lose to A&M and Oregon in 2007 so be it. These games can serve as a learning experience for many young men who have never traveled to such hostile football environments. Fresno State may be stepping into two of the loudest stadiums in the nation when speaking of A&M and Oregon. In the end the offense will be fine if Brandstater can figure out he has all the tools inside of himself and around him to be great. He just has to trust his skill and his players and the offense will begin to click again. All we can hope is that Brandstater believes in himself half as much as Pat Hill does. If Brandstater shows this confidence there is that chance that Fresno State will finish 2007 on a positive note giving us a great 2008 to look forward to.