Wednesday, July 25, 2007

2007: What to Expect

While the Red Wave Report is busy predicting all twelve games Fresno State plays before they even step onto the field for their first game against Sac State I instead will cover what I think we can expect form this football team during the 2007 season. I will not predict scores for games nor will I break down any games until the week before. We do not know who will be playing week to week and with Fresno State injuries always play a part in what will happen with this team. So predictions will come, but the first one is still thirty days away. With 2007 right around the corner Bulldog fans have to be getting antsy to see their team back on the field for the first time in nine months. I know around my household the only topic of conversation seems to be Bulldog football and what is going to take place during this upcoming season. We all know a lot is at stake this season and if Fresno State cannot fix what went wrong in 2006 we may have another year of what ifs hanging in the balance. With that being said there is a great deal to look out for during the 2007 football season here in Fresno. Here is my list of what we should look for during the season:

1) First and foremost will this team garner the fan support they have in the past after their first down season in close to ten years? Will it take a big win on the road against either Oregon or TAMU for the Bulldogs fans to return to the stadium to watch the Dogs play? I am willing to bet that many fans will be here for the start of the season but if the Dogs do not come out on fire and pull off at least one big road win the fan support will slowly dwindle.

2) Will the addition of players such as Devon Wylie, Ryan Mathews, Chris Carter, Devin Cunningham, and Zak Hill play a big role during the 2007 season? Fresno State generally does not rely on their incoming Freshman class much but 2007 may be different. With a handful of impact players the Dogs have the option to put these men on the field of play right away. Wylie will have the opportunity to make an impact right away as will players such as Cunningham and Mathews. The Bulldogs will need all of the help they can get if they are going to compete in every game they play this season.

3) Will Tom Brandstater become the QB we all want him to be? The 2007 season unfortunately will ride on the shoulders of this man. The Bulldogs come stacked with RB's so the run game will be a plus once again. Our offensive line returns nearly in tact meaning Brandstater will have no excuses as to why he cannot get the job done. With a full stock of receivers Brandstater will have to produce from the first snap against Sac State in order to keep fans happy. Fresno State for a time period was coined QB university and we all want to see a return to the days of 300 yard passing games and four TD performances.

4) Will Pat Hill open up his game plan on offense? In years past this team has relied on the run far more than the passing game. Although our running game will be our number one strength on offense, we will not be able to solely rely on running the ball. Starting with the Colorado State game in 2006 teams began to stack the line forcing the Dogs into passing situations. Unfortunately that did not matter as Hill did not trust the QB situation enough to allow Brandstater to throw the ball. With defenses showing nine man fronts the Bulldogs continued to force the run often going three and out. In 2007 Pat is going to have to allow Mac (our new OC) to open up the offense. If Spring practice was any indication the Dogs will be a much more exciting team to watch this season.

5) Will the Bulldogs Qualify for a Bowl game? After last season I as a fan do not know what to expect from the Bulldogs in 2007. With great QB play this team could see a 9-3 season. However if Brandstater or Colburn cannot get the job done we may be sitting right on the border for bowl elgibility. There is no way to predict what will happen with this team but one thing is for sure: After the debacle that was 2006 this team will play hard and will play together. Hopefully the rest will follow suit and the Dogs will finish the season with the reward of a bowl game at the end of the road.

This season is one of the few where a question mark surrounds the team in almost every area (aside both RB's and Offensive Line). Whether this team will succeed or not will depend on the heart they show on the field. The talent is in place to get the job done. The team has all the parts to be successful we just have to hope as fans that Pat Hill can motivate this team to play up every time they step on that football field. With games against Oregon, TAMU, Kansas State, Boise State, and Hawaii the Dogs will have their work cut out for them. All I ask from the fans is to support the team regardless of what happens. Everyone has the right to question what is being done on the field if they are not happy with the team but do not abandon the Dogs during this season. The Dogs will need our support out at Sweeney field six times this season. Let's show them they should believe in themselves as much as we do in them. If we can do that this season will be anything but a bust for both the players and the fans.


Anonymous said...

Excellent points, especially re fan support. Thank you for a terrific article.

Because I believe one definition of insainity is to continue doing the same things while expecting different results, I have questioned Pat Hill in the past, and last year I even questioned some of the players heart.

Never, though, should we fans give up our Bulldog Pride! It is fine to express disproval when warranted, up for the games, and support the 'Dogs--period!

Moreover, I just believe last year was a humbling wakeup call to the entire Bulldog Nation. Having "awakened," I think this year's coaching, team, and Red Wave will be awesome!

Steve Burnes

Anonymous said...

At times we as fans can be very cruel. It only shows the love and passion we have for our Dogs. I have coached a little and know you can never satisfy everyone but Mr. Hill keeps making decisions that will end his career at FS.Brandstater is the biggest example. The young man simply panics in the pocket and throws bad passes. Worst yet is that he stares down his receivers allowing the defense to come in for the kill. Do we need a new coach or do we need a new QB? Time will tell.