Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fall scrimmage sketchy for offense

Ryan Colburn took first-team reps to start the scrimmage, but the offense sputtered most of the night no matter which quarterback was in. Though Derek Carr had the best stat line on 8 for 12 with 101 yards, compared to Colburn's 8 of 14 for 57 yards, Carr missed on a few should-be surefire completions. One thing to note is Colburn throws a flatout pretty ball, tight spiral. But Carr can really zip it in there, as he showed.

In Ebahn Feathers' first series at the helm, he led a touchdown drive. Feathers looked better running option plays than passing (as per the norm) but nearly made a fantastic throw down the sideline. The toss was a smidgen out of reach of the diving J.J. Stallworth. Coaches have got to work with redshirt freshman center Douglas Spacht, who constantly snaps the ball over Feathers' head -- and seems to be the only center Feathers gets reps with. Luckily, Feathers jumped to grab 'em all, but it gives the defense the advantage every time his fleet feet leave the ground.

The biggest passing play was a 35-yarder from Carr to Jamel Hamler across midfield. The ball was underthrown by Carr as he tried to avoid a sack from a defender in his face, but Hamler showed how special he can be by adjusting and going after the ball and yanking it down.

Still way too many dropped passes by receivers, though Chastin West did a great job of hanging on to one around his waist in traffic. Devon Wylie had a couple nice catch and jukes, but fumbled away one of his receptions. Seyi Ajirotutu, Marlon Moore, Rashad Evans and Matt Lindsey were all sidelined and not dressed out.

One of the few bright spots for the offense on the otherwise frustrating night was redshirt freshman tight end Tapa Taumopeau, who showed he has deceptive football speed and solid hands. Expect him to push Ryan Skidmore, Cub Pascoe and Isaac Kinter (who also didn't dress) for playing time at tight end/H-back.

Ryan Mathews looks to be running at a different level than everyone else -- when he takes that first burst it's obvious he's an elite caliber of football player. He broke off one of the most impressive runs of the night, zig-zagging and straight-arming his way for 17 yards. True freshman Robbie Rouse continues to impress, scoring one of just two touchdowns in the game on a would-be broken play where he improvised and scooted outside the tackle and into the end zone.

The only other touchdown was a late pass from walk-on QB Tyler Stirewalt to converted tight end Austin Raphael.

Redshirt freshman Michael Harris probably won't see much time this year as he's being groomed for a chance at a featured role 2011, but he showed a glimpse with a 46-yard scamper and some breakaway speed. Anthony Harding and Lonyae Miller, as well as Mathews, saw limited action as coaches favored getting younger guys reps.

The offensive line is a concern. Bryce Harris, Leslie Cooper, Joe Bernardi, Andrew Jackson and Kenny Wiggins worked the first series. Though some jobs are still being battled out, the line looked suspect throughout the scrimmage. Freshman Matt Hunt didn't dress, but could battle for the left guard spot. Richard Pacheco saw first-team reps later at center, as did Devan Cunningham at left tackle. Across the board, this might be the most size Fresno State has ever had on the o-line. The 2008 signees -- Max Devlin, Austin Wentworth, Trevor Richter, Richard Helepiko -- are all flatout huge.

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