What the 2008 Bulldog Football Season Hinges on
This past weekend I attended the Under Armour camp with Mdg and Zagfan559 (I have a horrendous sunburn on my forehead to prove it). While watching all of the junior and seniors compete one on one in drills I began to think about the many different avenues the 2008 Bulldog football season might take. I have had a hard time coming up with what I think will happen during the football season if only because of how the 2007 season went. As one of my good friends said "the 2007 season was one of the best coaching jobs Pat Hill has done in his time at Fresno State." I tend to agree with this sentiment due to the amount of injuries the Bulldogs endured this past season and it is injuries that I believe will impact the 2008 season more so than any other factor.
Anyone who follows the Bulldogs knows the Dogs may be more talented on the field in 2008 than ever before. Tom Brandstater returns as the Senior QB with both experience and talent. The RB situation has only become that much better with the addition of players such as A.J. Ellis and Rashad Evans. Not to mention Ryan Mathews, Lonyae Miller, and Anthony Harding are not exactly guys you would want on the bench in the first place. The receiving core on offense is one of the deepest the Bulldogs have seen in years and is backed by a tight end that is NFL material (Bear Pascoe). With the offensive line in tact come fall practice there is no reason to think this team will not average close to forty points per game. The problem is when thinking about all of the weapons the Bulldogs have on the field we as fans are not considering who we may lose during the course of the season to injury. Here is a better question to consider if you are a Bulldog fan. Who can we afford to lose and still enjoy a successful 2008 season? At the same time what do you as fans consider a solid 2008 football season to be? I refrain from making predictions on any game until the week before due to the fact that injuries will impact the way a football team plays. But you as readers of the blog are welcome to leave comments as to what you feel is possible for this team in 2008.
While I have mentioned the offensive weapons we have fans should also remember that we are returning a bulk of our defense as well. Our entire secondary returns aside Damon Jenkins who will be replaced by either Sharrod Davis or Damion Owens. Our Linebacking core lost Marcus Riley and it will be a tall task to replace such an outstanding linebacker. However, Fresno State brought in both Ricky Pemasa and Damion Whittington to fill the Riley void. The defensive line will be in great shape with Ramos, Banks, Monga, Carter, Lewis, and Ike. However, this will be one area where injuries could wreak havoc on the Bulldogs. Fresno State's first team defensive line will cause problems for most teams they line up against as they have both the size and speed to play with anyone. Unfortunately after the first team there is a huge drop in the talent that will be on the field. To hope for relative health out of the defensive line would be an understatement in the least. How Fresno State is able to deal with it's injuries in 2008 will be the tell tale of how the season will transpire.
In the end most players that step on the field are replaceable if only because there is talent there to step in and take over. The one position Fresno State can ill afford an injury to in 2008 will be the QB position. Make no mistakes about it, this 2008 team has the talent and ability to run the table. As long as the defense keeps the Dogs in the game the offense is going to get the job done with Brandstater at QB. If for some reason Brandstater is not able to go the reigns are then turned over to little used Ryan Colburn. Many have confidence in Colburn and feel he can lead this team just as well as Brandstater can. However, Colburn has very little game experience and that is exactly how you become a more seasoned QB. After all what happened the last time we started a season with a QB that had very little game experience?
Injury. One word that can completely change the face of an entire football team. Here is hoping that for the first time since 2001 the Bulldogs will not have to deal with a major injury that single handedly changes the course of the 2008 football season.
Note: I will be doing my best to blog more often in the off season. I apologize to those who read the blog daily and will do my best to make sure there is content for everyone to read throughout the entire 2008 football season.