Monday, August 30, 2010
WAC 2010-Fresno State Bulldogs
2009 Record: 8-5 (6-2)
Head Coach: Pat Hill (13th season, 100-66)
Offensive Coordinator: Jeff Grady (2nd season) and Derek Frazier (2nd season)
Defensive Coordinator: Randy Stewart (2nd season)
2009 Bowl Game: New Mexico Bowl, lost to Wyoming 35-28 (2OT)
Offense: The early departure of RB Ryan Matthews leaves a major void in 2010. His loss will mean that the ball will go to the air more often. QB Ryan Colburn returns after a nice 2009 season, but he was pushed hard in the spring by Derek Carr, and Hill opened up the job going into fall camp. Robbie Rouse is the leader to be the new RB, but he is very thin on experience. Jamel Hamler is the lone returning WR, and TE Vince Pascoe returns, so whomever wins the QB job will have decent targets. The line returns completely intact, which will be a benefit for the new backfield.
Defense: The front seven is loaded. Chris Carter and Chris Lewis are back at DE. Carter was 1st team WAC in 2009. Cornell Banks returns as the starting NT, and is built like one. LB Ben Jacobs returns at LB, and was also 1st team WAC last season. He racked up 106 tackles in 2009. Kyle Knox joins him as a returning starting LB. CB Desla Dunn and SS Lorne Bell return in the secondary, where Fresno ranked 32nd against the pass last year. Freshman LJ Jones is expecting to see huge playing time in the secondary as well after a solid spring. The Dogs have to be better against the rush this season, as they only ranked 111th a year ago. That should change with the depth and talent that will be infused.
Special Teams: PK Kevin Goessling had a big season last year, scoring 100 points and converting 15 consecutive FGs. Andrew Shapiro, a sophomore, is the leading candidate at punter.
Wins: 9/18 @ Utah State, 10/2 Cal Poly SLO, 10/9 Hawaii, 10/16 New Mexico State, 10/23 @ San Jose State, 12/3 Illinois
Toss Up Games: 9/25 @ Ole Miss, 11/6 @ Louisiana Tech, 11/27 Idaho
Losses: 9/4 Cincinnati, 11/13 Nevada, 11/19 @ Boise State
There are some tough matchups for the Bulldogs against some very good rushing football teams. Being that was the week spot last season, Fresno will have to prove that they can stop them. The Ole Miss game probably would have been a win until the Rebels added the Jeremiah Masoli dimension.
Outlook: Fresno will likely take a step back offensively with the loss of Matthews, who was a 1st round pick of San Diego. The Bulldogs will have to put the ball up, but uncertainty at QB, and a general lack of talent at WR will make that difficult. The Dogs have to find a way to stop the run,and they should be better this season, and will have lots of chances to prove it. I see a bowl, but they will not challenege Boise or Nevada at the top.