As Fresno State reported for camp for the 2014 season, the defending Mountain West Conference champions announced the additions of transfer players from Texas A&M and Oregon. Wide receiver LeKendrick Williams from Texas A&M and linebacker Tyrell Robinson from Oregon have each joined the Bulldogs
Williams will be eligible to play right away according to Fresno State, but Robinson will have to sit out the 2014 season due to NCAA transfer rules. Williams is eligible to play this fall because he has already graduated from Texas A&M, allowing him to play at another FBS program in 2014. The addition of Williams helps Fresno State fill some holes on offense after losing leading receivers Davante Adams and Isaiah Burse to the NFL.
Robinson was granted a release from his scholarship from Oregon in June. A desire to find a more playing time that did not appear to be in the works at Oregon was the main reason for the transfer. Robinson’s twin brother, Tyree Robinson, remains at Oregon to contend for a starting job in the defensive backfield.
Fresno State is looking to build on a Mountain West Conference championship season but must do so while looking to fill some big shoes on offense. That is still going to take some work after losing quarterback Derek Carr, receivers Davante Adams and Isaiah Burse and tight end Marcel Jensen, but as the spring practice schedule came to a close Saturday with the annual spring game, head coach Tim DeRuyter seems optimistic about the depth developing on his roster.
“I think a lot of guys improved,” head coach DeRuyter said. “Offensively, I think our offensive line is starting to gel. The quarterback situation is still wide open. Guys look good at times and not so good at times and consistency is what they are looking for.”
The defense appears to be ahead of the offense heading to the summer. In the spring game, the defense controlled the tempo of the game by shutting down the offense on third-down drills and allowing just two first downs on 12 conversion attempts by the offense. The defense also provided the play of the day when Jamal Ellis returned an interception for a touchdown.
“I thought defensively as a unit we are playing much better with that first group and I thought our secondary improved a ton,” DeRuyter said.
Zack Greenlee was the victim of the pick-six by Ellis, but he shrugged it off to lead the offense on one of the more impressive drives of the game, going 69 yards in 15 plays for a touchdown. Greenlee also led the Bulldogs to another red zone possession that would end with a touchdown run by Darryl Cash, who had a decent showing running the football.
The Fresno State offense is far from where the team left off at the end of the 2013 season, but DeRuyter says they have come a long way since the start of the spring.
“We are light years ahead of where we are today than where we were our first spring,” DeRuyter said, referring to the 2012 spring practices when he took over. “I like where our guys know where we are at as far as the system, but we’ve got to do a lot of work to get it polished.”
Fresno State wide receiver Davante Adams has signed with an agent will enter the 2014 NFL Draft this spring, according to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net.
Adams was Fresno State’s top wide receiver this season. As the top target for quarterback Derek Carr, Adams accounted for 1,719 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns. He led the Mountain West Conference in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns this season.
Adams may be a day two prospect as he enters the draft, but his production and projections in 2014 may have been a concern if he returned to Fresno State. His stock may be as high as it could go after the Bulldogs lost to USC in the Las Vegas Bowl and Fresno State will have to replace Carr at quarterback next season.
If Adams receives an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine, which is likely, he will have a chance to help his stock rise with a good showing. As for Fresno State, will have to replace two 1,000-yard receivers with Adams and senior Isaiah Burse moving on. Junior Josh Harper also recorded a 1,000-yard season and would figure to be the top receiving option for Fresno State coming back in 2014 at this point.
No. 15 Fresno State (10-0, 7-0 MWC) blew away New Mexico (3-8, 1-6 MWC) Saturday afternoon by a score of 69-28. The win keeps the Bulldogs within reach of a BCS bowl spot and will likely be more than enough to keep them in front of Northern Illinois in the competition for an automatic BCS bowl berth.
Fresno State quarterback went off against the overmatched Lobos. Carr ended his afternoon with 527 yards and seven touchdowns before getting a rest. The 527 passing yards was a season high for the Golden arm award finalist, but not a career high. Carr passed for 536 yards in a 2012 game against San Diego State. This was a career day for Carr though as he topped his previous career high of five touchdowns by two.
Carr had quite the supporting cast in the field of course. Davanta Adams led all players with 246 yards and four touchdowns. Josh Harper added 162 yards and three touchdowns and Isaiah Burse was the third Bulldog with 100 receiving yards with 112 yards. New Mexico combined on offense for 325 yards, to put that all in perspective.
Frenso State wraps up their regular season next week at San Jose State. The Spartans were upended by Navy Friday night and are now ineligible for the postseason so San Jose State will be playing for pride and a mega upset in the Mountain West Conference. Fresno State is already locked in to the first ever Mountain West Conference championship game and will likely host Boise State for the conference title. Fresno State defeated Boise earlier in the year. Winning the next two games will likely send Fresno State to their first BCS bowl game as well.
Fresno State needs to finish in the top 16 of the BCS standings and ahead of any other non-AQ conference champion (Northern Illinois) and another AQ conference champion (Central Florida). Right now, Fresno State satisfies that requirement, but they must continue to play well to stay ahead of the competition. Whether you believe Fresno State is better than either of those teams or not, the system is probably not going to shake up too much if Fresno State keeps winning. Maybe Central Florida is better. Maybe Northern Illinois is better. One thing is for sure though. Fresno State’s aerial attack is going to be nearly impossible to slow down in the next couple of weeks, so those debates may not matter much.
Fresno State knows what they need to do in order to play in their first BCS game in program history. Win, and win big to keep ahead of Northern Illinois and maintain position in the BCS standings. So far, so good against New Mexico. At the half, Fresno State leads New Mexico 35-0.
Derek Carr has already passed for 309 yards and three touchdowns, completing 17 of 21 pass attempts for another big day through the air.Receivers Davanta Adams and Isaiah Burse each have eclipsed the century mark in receiving yards and Josh Harper may be on his way with 79 receiving yards. Fresno State’s offense has combined for 418 yards to out-gain New Mexico, 418-155.
Fresno State held the football for just 9:27 and still managed to explode for big yards against New Mexico. If Fresno State and Northern Illinois are racing to a BCS bowl spot, the Bulldogs still look to have a lead in the race.