Connect with us

Alabama Football News

Breaking Down Alabama’s 2017 Schedule: Week Two – Fresno State

Cedric Mason - Touchdown Alabama Magazine

Each game is listed in a week-by-week basis. Included are each teams’ 2016 record and bowl game results.

2. Fresno State (1-11) [No Bowl Game]

Home (Bryant-Denny Stadium – Tuscaloosa, AL)

The Fresno State Bulldogs have been a bottom-feeder team ever since quarterback Derek Carr was drafted by the Raiders 36th overall in 2014.

Last season epitomized it all.

Eight games into the season – with just one win to show for it – head coach Tim DeRuyter was fired. Offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau – who has formerly worked for Nick Saban – took over as interim head coach for the next four games, but the writing was already on the wall as the Bulldogs failed to find another win.

Fresno expects this year to be different under their newly hired head coach, Jeff Tedford. Tedford was a long-time coach at the University of California, going 82-57 from 2002-20012. Despite winning five bowl games, his most memorable achievement in his time at Cal was being Aaron Rodger’s head coach.

Tedford’s new arsenal consists of a handful of play-makers and two handfuls of question marks.

The biggest question mark comes from the quarterback position. Redshirt sophomore Chason Virgil appears slotted to be the starter come Fall, but his numbers in 2016 are slightly worrisome. In ten starts he completed 51.6% of his throws for 2021 yards, just 13 touchdowns, and a jarring ten interceptions.

Not all is bad, however, as Virgil will have a talented receiving corps to use to his advantage. Two returning receivers, KeeSean Johnson and Jamire Jordan, both recorded over 700 yards receiving in 2016 and combined to score eight touchdowns.

Beside Virgil is a 6’0″, 225-pound bruising running back in Dontel James. Behind what was considered a below average offensive line – even for a mid-major school – James rushed for 697 yards and five scores.

The Bulldogs’ defense will be their weakest link for them, much like it was in 2016 when they gave up over 30 points per game.

Last year’s two leading tacklers – Stratton Brown and Jeff Camilli – have graduated and will not be returning to the field for Tedford. Camilli also led the team in sacks with four – the rest of the roster combined for a grand total of just ten sacks on the year. Outside of these two, the next leading tackler was defensive back DeShawn Potts who totaled 59 on the year.

Overall, it should not be a difficult home-opener for the Tide. The hardest task will be determining their new scheme under Jeff Tedford and planning a way to stop it. If the guys come out on their P’s and Q’s, it should only be a close game for the first half.

J. A. Weaver is a contributor for TD Alabama Magazine and Bama Hoops Hype. You can contact him via phone at 205-612-5060, or on Twitter @JWeaver_TDALMag .





More in Alabama Football News