Bulldog Offense Looks Crisp in First Scrimmage
Aug. 11, 2007
FRESNO, Calif. - For fans that love offensive football, they got to see a good selection of big passing plays and explosive runs during Fresno State's first scrimmage of fall camp. Each of the three Bulldog quarterbacks had at least a dozen pass attempts, while five Bulldog backs had plenty of opportunities in the nearly 90-play scrimmage held at Bulldog Stadium.
For head coach Pat Hill and his staff, it was the first opportunity to get a look at several newcomers in full-contact situations and an important day in the evaluation process heading into the 2007 season. Fresno State opens the season three weeks from today with a home game against Sacramento State.
"We had a great crowd here tonight and it was a nice atmosphere to be able to show them a little bit about our team" said Hill. "I think you can see we have some fine players who are going to be competitive and a lot of fun to watch. From an offensive standpoint, I was very pleased. We were very efficient moving the ball and our passing game was really on. I thought all three quarterbacks threw the ball well, and our receivers made some big catches. The offensive line did a great job and the backs ran hard. I really liked the way we attacked on offense. We wanted to take a look at some young guys and they did well. We'll watch the film and get a better look, but overall I was pretty pleased."
Among the newcomers raising eyebrows were freshman running back Ryan Mathews, who led all backs with 84 rushing yards on 12 carries. He had a 2 yard touchdown run. Rookie receiver Tim Lang had one reception, but it went for a 29 yard touchdown. Another freshman, Devon Wylie, had the longest play of the night, connecting with redshirt freshman Ryan Colburn on a 45 yard pass play. Colburn finished the night completing 7-of-14 passes for 113 yards with one interception.
There was no question the top performer in the scrimmage was junior quarterback Tom Brandstater, who looked especially sharp completing 12-of-16 passes for 189 yards and one touchdown, a 20 yard route to Chastin West in the corner of the north end zone. Brandstater's crisp passing and accuracy wowed the nearly 2,000 fans in attendance.
Mathews worked primarily the third team and did see some second-team reps. He had runs of 20 and 17 yards. Lonyae Miller had seven carries for 36 yards and a 4 yard touchdown blast off right tackle. Walkon Kyle Duffy, a former Clovis West standout, had the longest run from scrimmage, a 30-yard touchdown run around right end.
Senior Clifton Smith had seven touches in the scrimmage, averaging 5.7 yards on either run plays or pass receptions.
Sophomore Jason Crawley led the Bulldog receiving corps with five receptions for 86 yards. Darren Newborne had four receptions for 48 yards working with the second and third units. West finished with two receptions for 35 yards, while Jamel Hamler added four receptions for 36 yards. In all, 13 Bulldogs caught passes in the scrimmage.
The Bulldogs had one significant injury when senior linebacker Ahijah Lane was hurt early in the scrimmage. He was helped off the field and did not return to action. The Fresno State medical staff expects to release more on his status on Sunday.
"The defense wasn't as physical as I thought they would be," said Hill. "After Ahijah went down, I think they lost their edge a little. He's been the inspirational leader of the defense through spring ball and this summer, so that was a big loss. It took a while to get that back. It picked up toward the end we you started to see some bigger hits from the defense. The offense did a good job of keeping the defense off balance. We've always been a team that rallies when someone goes down. We have a `who's next' attitude and we need someone to pick up the flag. That's important in this game."
Leading the Bulldog defense was junior linebacker, Ryan McKinley, who in addition to having several tackles, had the only turnover on the final play of the scrimmage, picking off a Colburn pass.
Fresno State returns to practice on Sunday and will hold its second and final scrimmage of the fall camp next Saturday in Bulldog Stadium. That scrimmage will be closed.
The Dogs open the 2007 season Sept. 1 hosting Sacramento State.
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