Monday, August 10, 2009

Day 5: First day of full pads in the books

It should be an unwritten understanding, but just in case, let's start off with what I deem the necessary fall camp disclaimer. We've already got four Fresno State football camp wrap-ups, and excitement on the Barkboard is beginning to build steam.

So with that, let's remember than for probably every team in camp, everything is looking positive (except for idaho and other cheap "division I" teams). It's the nature of the beast we call fall camp. A fresh start and new and/or more improved players will do that to you. We at the Bulldog Bounce try to keep that in mind, but like you, we have Bulldog Red pumping through our veins. So don't be afraid to get excited, we are too. Just remember not to climb all the way to the top of the mountain too soon. Take it day by day, as we hope the Bulldogs do.

Today was the first day of full pads, which means somewhere, behind the fence and bushes surrounding the practice field, was an out-of-town homer TV station (likely oregon or boise) scouting the team.

It also means that today was finally an opportunity to see the guys put their talents to use at full speed, so to speak. Collisions are more violent and the spotlight shines a little brighter, so these are presumably key days for coaches to evaluate. Let's get to some nuggets:

Ebahn Feathers got a ton of throws in today. He threw to ghost coverage, one-on-one coverage, 7-on-7s and finally 11-on-11s. He threw a very nice ball. Very strong arm, but was finally more consistent on delivering a tight spiral to his receivers. QB coach Jeff Grady still had to work with him on gripping the ball though, which means he's not quite where he needs to be yet. He's shown definite improvement though, but his inconsistency is enough for me to hold my breath should he see time. That being said, opposing defenses will have to do the same.

For people familiar with previous fall camps, it's pretty obvious that this year's group of rookies is more advanced than in years past. They are bigger physically, more athletic and more adaptive to the college practice style. Competition for jobs should be heated for years, which should only make this team and players better during the season.

Running back Mike Harris had the play of the day on the second to last play of the rookies' session. He broke free on a run for about 40 yards before lowering his shoulder and flattening Terrance Dennis, igniting a host of screams from teammates. As a response, DT Anthony Williams busted through the line on the next play for a 3-4 yard tackle for loss.

Special teams (as always) remains a focus for the Bulldogs. The return game should be more lethal than ever and ideally set up the team with excellent field position to make it easier on breaking in the new QBs.

Derek Carr and Ryan Colburn are going to make Pat Hill have a tough call. The two of them can make all the throws, though Carr seems to have more velocity. Carr seems to be more comfortable with his position (both as a QB and leader) every day, and is making up ground if not passing Colburn. Both make out throws, fly routes and fade/corner routes with ease. The offense has already been opened up in practice. Either way, it's hard to imagine QB being a weak spot this year.

Richard Pacheco has taken most of the first team reps at center, but Joe Bernardi is just plain good.

The defensive line should have much more depth this year, in addition to size, speed and experience. Expect much better production.

Wide receivers coach Keith Williams is paying and will pay huge dividends for the wide receivers. I feel like I've improved ten-fold as a receiver just by watching him work. Now apply that to the receivers.

Ryan Skidmore continued where he left off today. By my count, he leads the team in fights when the team is dressed in full pads, going back to last year. He can really run though, and will be a very tough cover. Vince Pascoe and Nico Herron also got testy today.

Kyle Knox looks much bigger, faster and most importantly, confident on the field. Not the best year to be an opposing running back.

Jamel Hamler will be great by the time he leaves here. Awesome routes, great hands and can run.

No Richard Marshall-types at CB (yet), but the depth appears to be better than it's been in a while.

Looking forward to the day rookies mix it up with the vets. Robbie Rouse has been making some noise, and the linebackers are more seasoned than anyone thought.

All in a day(s) at Fresno State football camp.


  1. Good point on Richard Pacheco. Someone brought it up on the barkboard yesterday and I did notice him there. Also getting first-team O-line reps today for the first time was Charley Robbins, who just four days ago when fall camp started was working with the rookies.

    Part of it, though, is due to the absence of Devan Cunningham and Matt Hunt, who are both nursing ailments.

  2. Thanks for the write up. Always look forward to the days "news" when I get home from work. Great job!

  3. maybe coach frazier and coach hill know a tiny bit more the we do

  4. players like R. Matthews and R. Pacheco are very low key, either want media attention. Some players walk straight to a microphone.

  5. So, if you have to choose, who do you start on the offensive line? Pick your 5...

  6. I enjoy reading your opinion and reports. Good job. look forward to your write ups


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