Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Tom's New Beginning

NSC sent me this blog via email...

by NSC

It was a season we would all rather forget. Fresno State had just finished 4-8 with a loss to the San Jose Spartans for the first time since 1990. Tom Brandstater threw four interceptions and could do little to move the Bulldogs down field against the Spartans, something Bulldog fans had become accustomed to throughout the 2006 season. Fresno State would endure heart wrenching losses to Oregon and Washington in back to back weeks. Later in the season the Bulldogs would lose to Utah State in what could possibly have been their worst loss in school history. The Aggies of Utah State had long been considered one of the worst programs in D-1A football. They would finish the season 1-11 with their only win coming at the hands of the Bulldogs from Fresno State. Bulldog fans during the course of 2006 would begin calling for a replacement for Brandstater as he continually failed at the QB position. Brandstater rushed throws, threw into double coverage often, and could rarely find the open receiver. One would be hard pressed to find any positives to look forward to with respect to the 2007 season due to the lack of progress Brandstater showed throughout the 2006 season. Brandstater started 2006 out on a good note as he threw the ball efficiently against Nevada and led us from behind to challenge Oregon in a game Fresno State should have won. Unfortunately that would be the last time Brandstater performed at the level Bulldog fans expected him to. With so much going wrong how could there possibly be anything good to come out of 2006?

While everyone in the city of Fresno feels that 2006 was a complete failure, the season allowed the Dogs to do something they had not done in year’s past. 2006 allowed Pat Hill to put players on the field that normally would not have played had the Dogs been successful. At the same time Brandstater went through what possibly could have been the worst experience of his life. It became obvious that the fan base began to get to him each time he stepped onto the field. He was booed constantly by the fans and would one bad game after another. The players around him seemed to give up just as Brandstater did as well. However the 2006 season is now behind Brandstater and the Bulldogs. Tom no longer needs to worry about what happened this past season because Bulldog fans are more than willing to forgive all that has happened if he has a strong 2007 season. All signs point to 2007 being much better than 2006 if only because it will be hard to perform at such a low level again. Brandstater realizes that the fans expect more out of him and he is ready to take on this challenge in 2007. On the first day of spring practice Brandstater looked like the QB we all want to see on the field. While he is known for practicing well Brandstater had a zip to his throws that no other Bulldog QB can match. Brandstater has the ability to put the ball in places many QB’s at the college level cannot do. He is strong, tall, and has even added fifteen pounds of muscle to his frame. Some might mistake the Bulldogs QB for a TE this season because of the strength and size he possesses. Teams will have a tough time bringing Brandstater down in the open field. But we all know Tom has always had the physical gifts to be the QB at Fresno State. It is his mind that he is going to have to allow to open up to the idea as well.

Confidence is one of the single most important aspects of the QB position in both college and pro sports. A QB has to be able to believe that he is the man for the job and there is no one else out there that can take it away from him. Brandstater has to realize that we as fans want him to succeed. We as fans do not want to come out and knock Brandstater for the efforts he gives to make the Dogs a winning team once again. Instead we want to go home and say “Brandstater played one hell of a game tonight didn’t he?” We want to turn the television on and see Brandstater on ESPN as the announcers realize his physical talent is rare in most QB’s. Brandstater needs to find that confidence that separates the good QB’s from the great QB’s. Brandstater is lucky in a sense. While he did endure a terrible season he has been given a chance at redemption, a new beginning if you will. Many QB’s, in the college game, (Adrian Claiborne for example) are given one shot and if it doesn’t work out their experience is over. Brandstater has another chance to show the nation what he can do on the field. We as Bulldog fans know he is capable of amazing things on the field as the skills he possess are matched by few. But will he be able to translate the gift of looking like a QB into playing like one on the field?

2007 is a new beginning not only for Brandstater but for the entire Fresno State football team. The Bulldogs have a chance to achieve redemption against schools such as San Jose State, Boise State, and Utah State. The only way they are going to do so is if Brandstater finds his confidence and steps onto the field to play the game as well as he knows he is capable of doing. We as fans realize the 2006 QB situation was screwed up nearly from the start, but 2007 will be Brandstater’s job to lose. The Bulldogs have no one else to turn to as the backup is not nearly on the level that Sean Norton was this past season. There is no pressure of worrying who is behind Brandstater this season; Tom knows he is the guy without a doubt. Hopefully it will be this confidence that allows Tom to perform at the level he is capable of. If he is able to do so the fans will all forget what happened in 2006 and instead look forward to 2008, a season that may just allow the Bulldogs back into the spotlight where they rightfully belong.


Anonymous said...

This year can only be better than last year. While I wish Tommy had been prepared for his duties last year, he simply was not. This year appears to be different--and better.

Losing like we did last season to Utah and San Jose States will leave a bad taste in my mouth for a long time. So yes, I am pulling for Touchdown Tommy big time, but I disagree with you that a winning campaign will exorcise the demons of 2006 anytime soon.

As a matter of fact, we need to use them as an object lesson, and NEVER forget them! Here's to a season to remember, and a team to never forget!

Steve Burnes

Anonymous said...

How many times have we heard that Tommy has the size, tools and skill since he came into the program? As a competitor, one would have expected him to rise to occassion with Norton nipping at his heels. Well last season was tough on him, heck it was tough on all of us. I'm going to take a wait and see approach and hope that Tommy can actually live up to the hype that's been given to him. I hope he does, otherwise, if one thought the cat calls were bad last year, one can only imagine what they'll be like if the dogs don't perform on offense in the first two or three games. Besides it's only Springball, who knows what happens between now and the fall.

Anonymous said...

Good post! I like the positive attitude going into this year and the new faith (even if hesitant) in Tom.... Let's hope he lives up to his potential this year. We all see it, its just got to happen! Come on Tommy, we're rooting for YOU this year!

Anonymous said...

Yes we need a productive quarterback...But...we need a productive head coach a lot more. 10 years and 0 outright WAC championships. FSU has the best location in the WAC for recruiting(California, where all the other WAC, MountainWest and Pac10 schools recruit). We have by far the best fan support, best facilities, the largest athletic budget, and used to have the winningest program with the most history, tradition and NFL players. With all of those advantages, Pat Hill has nothing to show for it. When everyone focuses on Tom B as the key to the 2007 season, they're focusing on the wrong person.

Anonymous said...

Tommy IS Hill's boy. Hill should get the credit or the blame. If Tommy goes down in flames and the dog's season is shot, well that Hills fault for sticking with him and having no one to step in. If Tommy performs well, and the dogs win, then its Hill's credit for finding the diamond in the rough and sticking with him

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