The Fresno State Bulldogs surely didn't expect to fall so far from their winning ways in 2014, but while the defending West division champions may fly under the radar during their two-day stay at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas for Mountain West media days, there's a few things to discuss regarding the release of the depth chart ahead of fall camp.
Like last year, it's worth noting that there is a quarterback missing from the two-deep here. Ford Childress will be in the mix to compete for playing time, though unlike Brandon Connette, who was a graduate transfer in 2014, there are a few more questions this time around about Childress's ability to learn enough to start games come September. Also missing is another West Virginia transfer, Dustin Garrison, who could earn a share of carries in a thin backfield.
|Position||No.||1st String||No.||2nd String|
|Quarterback||17||Zack Greenlee, So. OR||19/5||Kilton Anderson, RS Fr. OR Chason Virgil, Fr.|
|Running Back||33||Marteze Waller, Sr.||22||Malique Micenheimer, RS Sr.|
Alex Fifita, Sr.
||78||David Patterson, So.|
|Left Guard||75||Jacob Vazquez, Jr.||74||Jacob Hicks, RS Fr.|
Bo Bonnheim, Sr.
||65||Ben Simonds, RS Fr.|
|Right Guard||79||Aaron Mitchell, So.||73||Micah St. Andrew, RS Fr.
Justin Northern, Sr.
||71||Bobby Johnson, RS Fr.
|Tight End||46||Chad Olsen, So.
||89||Kyle Riddering, RS Fr.|
|Wide Receiver (X)||7||Aaron Peck, Sr.||10||Darrell Fuery, So.|
|Wide Receiver (Z)||6||Delvon Hardaway, So. OR||3||KeeSean Johnson, RS Fr.|
|Wide Receiver (Y)||81||Justin Johnson, Sr.||35||Jamire Jordan, RS Fr.|
|Wide Receiver (H)||4||Keyan Williams, Fr.||13||Justin Allen, RS Fr.|
|Position||No.||1st String||No.||2nd String|
|Defensive End||90||Claudell Louis, Sr.||58||Suli Faletuipapai, Sr.|
|Nose Guard||91||Nathan Madsen, So.||95||Ryan Steele, So.|
|Defensive End||96||Todd Hunt, Sr.||97||Gabe Newman, RS So.|
|Outside Linebacker||31||Ejiro Ederaine, Sr.||56||Tobenna Okeke, So.|
|Middle Linebacker||7||Xavier Ulutu, So. OR||42||Jeff Camilli, Jr.|
|Middle Linebacker||17||Kyrie Wilson, Sr.||44||Jamaal Rose, Sr.|
|Outside Linebacker||19||Brandon Hughes, Jr.||40||Justin Green, So.|
|Cornerback||28||Charles Washington, Sr.||2||Jamal Ellis, Jr.|
|Strong Safety||5||Dalen Jones, Jr.||23||Alan Wright, Jr.|
|Free Safety||4||Shannon Edwards, Sr.||15||Stratton Brown, Sr.|
|Cornerback||20||Malcolm Washington, So.||8||Anthoula Kelly, RS Fr.|
|Place Kicker||43||Jimmy Camacho, Jr.|
|Punter||49||Garrett Swanson, Sr.|
|Holder||49||Garrett Swanson, Sr.|
|Long Snapper||59||Dylan Detwiler, Sr.|
|Punt Returner||84||Keyan Williams, RS Fr.|
|Kickoff Returner||16||Jamire Jordan, RS Fr.|
So what can we learn from this revelation?
1. Or, Part 2: Or Harder
Throughout last fall, that dreaded conjunction hung over the quarterback competition into the season opener, and it came with disastrous results when all was said and done. "Or" is back with a vengeance as 2014's two-man race expands to three or four, but it's a little surprising that it is already beginning to shape other competitions, as well.
Delvon Hardaway had a solid, if unspectacular, 2014, but he may get pushed throughout camp by Johnson at the position played so well by Josh Harper. Jeff Camilli had 37 tackles in part-time duty, but Xavier Ulutu was a highly-regarded recruit whose time to break into the starting lineup appears to be now.
2. The young shall inherit the gridiron
Thirteen sophomores, ten redshirt freshmen and two true freshmen. The Fresno State two-deep has a lot of underclassmen heading into 2015, some of whom occupy key position battles by themselves. Quarterback is the obvious one, led by the sophomore Greenlee. Chad Olsen was one of the nation's top freshman tight ends last year, and he's joined this time around by a former three-star recruit. Aaron Mitchell and Micah St. Andrew will try to replace former all-conference guard Cody Wichmann. If all of that wasn't enough, Tim DeRuyter's legion of young wide receivers occupy six of eight spots here and are in the driver's seat to handle return duties, too.
On defense, Ulutu isn't the only pleasant surprise. Anthoula Kelly and Tobenna Okeke will get plenty of run against their skill position counterparts next month in camp, while Nate Madsen will get first crack at occupying the point of attack where Tyeler Davison once excelled.
3. The kicking game
Kody Kroening stepped into an unenviable situation after Colin McGuire left the team early last year, but it seemed as though the walk-on was one of the few reliable offensive options by season's end. Finishing 9-of-14, however, may not be enough for the incumbent to keep his job.
Junior college transfer Jimmy Camacho was a real weapon at Riverside Community College in 2014, connecting on 21-of-26 field goal attempts (including 3-of-4 from 50+ yards). Perhaps more importantly, he was nearly automatic from within 40 yards, missing just one kick in that range, and that may be where he has found his edge on Kroening at the moment.