This was not what the Red Wave faithful signed up for. The Fresno State Bulldogs should be ashamed.
Following their 55-19 loss to the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday night, the 'Dogs need to take a good long look at themselves and figure out where to go from here. Thankfully, I feel as though I can offer some assistance. Consider the following:
- Brian Burrell is NOT Derek Carr. If there was any doubt about this before Saturday night, consider it removed with this stat line: 30-of-59 passing. 241 yards. 4.1 yards per attempt. The coaching staff can pat themselves on the back for taking care of the football -- No turnovers! Hurray! -- but they cannot overlook the fact that Burrell was continually erratic. He hung Josh Harper out to dry on one particularly ignominious pass, and the Bulldogs star receiver was forced to take a lick from Nebraska's Randy Gregory. He threw six straight incompletions early in the second half that basically extinguished the most ludicrous comeback hopes that any Fresno fans might have harbored. And then, when all hope was lost, you couldn't help but feel a little for his plight, since the Huskers were basically able to tee off on the predictable playcalling. Offensive coordinator Dave Schramm should be embarrassed.
- And as a helpful hint, I'll offer this advice, as well: Chances are that Brandon Connette isn't going to be Derek Carr, either, when he gets healthy. Use my knowledge wisely, coaches!
- Get some help on special teams as soon as possible. This was a problem that crept up sporadically during 2013's dream campaign, but the Bulldogs have continually burned themselves with mistakes and poor field position this year. If you want Derron Smith back there to receive punts and kicks, like it looked at times against Utah a week ago, you might as well commit to it right now because Dillon Root and LeKendrick Williams don't look like the answer. Each committed a gaffe that nearly hastened the catastrophe we all ended up watching. There isn't much that can be done about the kicking game at this point, but please make that a point of emphasis in the next recruiting class. Bring two guys in, if need be, and let them compete.
- Shuffle the deck at cornerback. Bryan Harper was benched in favor of Charles Washington after a couple of lackluster performances, so this may already be underway, but for the second week in a row Washington undermined himself with a critical dumb penalty. Curtis Riley played better than he did against either USC or Utah, but still looked overmatched on the outside at times. Get Jamal Ellis and Dalen Jones more reps, because they can't possibly be any worse than a unit that just coughed up nearly 22 yards per completion. 22 yards per completion. 22 yards per completion. Unacceptable.
- On a similar note, teach some tackling. I don't think that one needs an explanation. Fundamentals, guys.
- Find ways to get the ball to the receivers, because they're being wasted in the offense as it exists now. It doesn't even matter that we don't know who this year's Isaiah Burse is; would it kill you to run a fly sweep on occasion? Harper and Aaron Peck have enough talent to be difference makers and Delvon Hardaway deserves a longer look as well, but inadequate quarterback play is going to obscure that unless a change is made.