Saturday, April 10, 2010

Out with the old, in with the Spring Camp

We apologize, oh loyal readers, for the huge gap since our last blog post. The blog is currently undergoing a makeover with improvements planned for the fall. However, the start of Fresno State football Spring Camp is just too fun to ignore.

During the blog makeover, don't forget you can follow our micro-blogs on the BulldogBounce twitter page. We've been out in force for the first three days of spring practice and we're sharing the knowledge below:

  • QB: Despite getting picked today in drills, Derek Carr has outplayed Ryan Colburn (a pretty unanimous thought amongst those at the Bounce). Colburn had some nice, crisp throws toward the sideline today in 11-on-11s, but Carr was on fire hitting wideouts for TDs in the back of the end zone on touch passes. In Friday's 11-on-11s, Colburn was picked off on a nice play by Jermaine Thomas before Carr nailed A.J. Johnson in blanket coverage for a TD. Makes us wonder if the coaches really will consider starting the guy who plays the best in practice...? Oh, and Kelly O'Brien, the incoming JC recruit, is incredibly skinny.
  • RB: It looks like a two-'Dog race for the starting job between Robbie Rouse and Mike Harris, who looks bigger and faster than last season and has been flatout making plays. A.J. Ellis seems a distant third, but did have an eye-popping TD on a screen pass he took down the sideline, outrunning the defense to the end zone. That said, don't count out Cal transfer Tracy Slocum (formerly of Clovis East), who has been watching practices this week -- Bulldog Bounce first broke news months ago when we heard talk of Slocum transferring in, and now it looks to be true. And it wouldn't make sense for the 'Dogs to bring in a guy with just one year of eligibility remaining unless they think he can factor in right away.
  • FB: Former LB/former TE Austin Raphael is working out at fullback now, with preferred walk-on Dylan Cruz as the competition.
  • WR: It's the usual suspects (Devon Wylie and Jamel Hamler) doing big-time damage. This offense is just unreal in the open field, and Rashad Evans is healthy again and shiftier than ever. Not enough people realize yet the type of WR A.J. Johnson could be, and Alex Jefferies was looking like a potential weapon too until he got a little banged up Friday and was sidelined today. J.J. Stallworth continues to have trouble holding on to passes.
  • TE: Great to see David Gory healthy and catching passes, wouldn't be surprised to see him end up starting. Ryan Skidmore is still a great receiving target, but his blocking isn't there yet. Hopefully they're working on blocking assignments with Tapa too after the debacle in last year's bowl game. Michael Butler had a nice catch on a pass from Carr on Friday.
  • OL: With the whole starting crew back, we know what to expect. Andrew Jackson is really, really good. Devan Cunningham has shown a lot of growth the past couple years and Kenny Wiggins should turn in another All-WAC season. So far though, Joey Bernardi might be having the most impressive spring. Reserve C Douglas Spacht, who frustrated with his lack of development the past couple years, is nowhere to be seen (shouldn't be a big loss). Richard Helepiko and Lars Bramer are competing for the backup center spot. Bramer's added some size, but both are works in progress right now. Marcel Jensen is getting second-team reps at left tackle.
  • DL: Interesting to see Ibe Nduke moved to D-end (body type, around 6-foot, seems more suited for the FB switch we expected last season). By sight, Donnie Pritchett brings back memories of Nick Burley (only larger). Pritchett is taking second-team reps at D-end. Chris Lewis has wowed at times with his quickness off the ball and disrupted several plays over the first three days of camp. Young DT Andy Jennings has progressed much quicker than expected, stood out in individual drills today while matched up with Max Devlin and received praise from Pat Hill for breaking up a running play in 11-on-11s. Look for a bigger Logan Harrell and quicker Mark Roberts. Chris Carter still seems to be in a league of his own though.
  • LB: Most interesting thing of camp so far has been seeing Jeremiah Toma getting first-team reps at MLB alongside Travis Brown and Kyle Knox. On multiple days, Toma has been inserted in place of Ben Jacobs on the second series run by the first-stringers. Daniel Salinas and Damion Whittington have also seen reserve reps at MLB.
  • CB: Desia Dunn and Isiah Green are getting first-team reps, with L.J. Jones and Jermaine Thomas second-team. That said, Thomas and Jones might end up being the team's best corners and the position should be an upgrade from last year.
  • S: As expected, Lorne Bell and Phillip Thomas are working first-string. With Terrence Dennis injured, Zak Hill and Justin Webber are second-team (at least until the newcomers join in the fall). Hill remains a huge liability for the defense, but Webber has made a couple nice plays.