Fresno City College expects improvement throughout fall football camp, though coach Tony Caviglia cautions his 2016 team is inexperienced and he hopes there will be enough time to prepare for their Sept. 3 season opener at Sierra.
The Rams launched camp Thursday, giving them three-plus weeks to get ready for the trip to Rocklin. Last season, the Rams finished 6-5, capped by a 31-28 loss to Sierra at the State Center Bowl at Ratcliffe Stadium.
I think we can provide some excitement on Saturdays.
Fresno City College football coach Tony Caviglia
“It’s going to take a little time for these guys to jell, along with our new quarterbacks,” said Caviglia, one win from becoming the program’s all-time victories leader as he enters his 18th season as Rams coach. “But I think we’re talented on offense and deep. I think we can provide some excitement on Saturdays.”
For the first time in many years, Caviglia is surrendering offensive play-calling duties to Vince Branstetter. The former Fresno State standout welcomes the challenge.
“I’m just excited with the opportunity,” Branstetter said, “and hoping everything goes well.”
Defensive coordinator Rick Scheidt is eager to see how his players perform in full pads Saturday, knowing the Rams didn’t play at a high level on that side of the ball last season.
“I like to see if there’s any leadership,” he said. “I want us to be more physical this year and be very coachable, and I think they are. Every position seems to be solid, but I can make a better assessment once pads come on. But we have a lot of team speed on defense.”
Players to watch, plus the preseason assessment and goals of the position coaches:
▪ Quarterback: Anthony Monken, Andrew Zimmerman (Eastern Washington transfer)
QBs coach Mark Hetherington: “Main thing is execution, and as a quarterback, making sure they know they’re distributing the ball and be an extension of a head coach on the field. Looking for great decision making and move the ball down the field.”
▪ Offensive line: Anthony Fisher, Kyle Horton, Shilo Tapasa.
OL coach Joe Schey: “Just continued improvement and making sure we’re not making mistakes over and over. Attention to detail. Making sure we’re prepared for a long season.”
▪ Running back: Nate Jones, Briquez Alvies, Khai Williams.
RBs coach Jesus Reyes: “Those young men that I’ve been given … I’m already excited about those guys. They’re good human beings, more than anything, and the fact that they’re good football players compounds the issue. Hard thing to juggle this year and the only way I can juggle that is to create competition by being the best you can be.”
▪ Tight end: Ryan Brocks, Denzel Carter, Adam Becker, Marquese Livers.
OC/TEs coach Branstetter: “We got some real good size. We lack some experience, but hopefully with these game reps and scrimmage the guys will grow up. Guys got some big frames, long arms. I feel good about them.”
▪ Wide receiver: Dwine Walls, Marcus Rose, Coltin Velasquez, Bret Stelling, Terry Toler, Eric Pugh.
WRs coach Keith Travis: “We have guys in position to be successful. I feel like we’re a strong group.”
▪ Defensive back: Tashan Finley, Craig Williams, A.J. Greeley, Braylen Williams, Cody James.
DBs coach Drew Brown: “I have high expectations because we have a lot of really good athletes and quality depth. We will continue to develop technique and scheme and find out what we do best.”
▪ Defensive line: Walter Seagal, Lavell Smith, Miguel Marquez.
DL coach Del Hawkins: “Hope they know how to grind through the camp once we get pads on. They got to get better on the little things each day. Hoping for great things.”
▪ Middle linebackers: Tamarcus Russell, Chandler Cocklin, DJ Morgan, Nico Moreno.
ILBs coach Dwayne Wright: “I’m hoping to see them play smart and fast within the scheme. It’s been a good spring of learning and fundamentals. Now it’s time to tune up. My linebacker core will be able to understand the thought process from the offensive perspective. I’m happy to be coaching these gentleman here at Fresno City.”
▪ Outside linebacker: Ricky Davis, Anthony Shepard, Jaquan Alvies, David Walker, Travis Wilson, Andy Jennings.
OLB coach Rick Lyons: “I want to see them play with high energy, a lot of energy. I want them to play to the best of their ability, that’s what we’re trying to get out of them. If we do that I think we’re going to have a good outside ’backer. We have some good talented kids and good speed, and I think that speed will help us on defense.”
Fresno City College football key dates
- Aug. 13: Practice (full pads)
- Aug. 25: Scrimmage at Sacramento City
- Aug. 28: Wall of Fame ceremony at Pardini’s
- Sept. 3: Season opener at Sierra, 2 p.m.
Fresno City football schedule
3 at Sierra, 2 p.m.
10 vs. Santa Rosa, 5 p.m.
17 at San Mateo, 2 p.m.
24 vs. American River, 6 p.m.
1 vs. Reedley, 6 p.m.
15 at Chabot*, 6 p.m.
22 vs. Modesto*, 1 p.m.
28 at Laney*, 6 p.m.
5 vs. San Joaquin Delta*, 1 p.m.
12 at COS*, 1 p.m.
*Valley Conference game