Fresno State has three quarterbacks on scholarship in third-year sophomore Zack Greenlee, redshirt freshman Kilton Anderson and true freshman Chason Virgil along with a roster blueprint that calls for four plus one non-scholarship walk-on.
So, after spring practices end this week, the Bulldogs staff will be looking to add there just as they did last year when signing a graduate-transfer in Brandon Connette.
But the progress of Greenlee, Anderson and Virgil through the first three weeks of the spring might be changing what they will be looking for in filling that spot on the depth chart.
“Whether we go out and sign a one-year guy or what, we’re going to discuss that once we get through Saturday and make a decision,” coach Tim DeRuyter said.
“But I like the fact all three have competed. If we didn’t feel good about it then we definitely would have gone that route, and now you decide, do you take a one-year guy, a two-year guy or do you sign another freshman who maybe comes in this fall?
“We knew coming out of last spring that we didn’t have the competition at that position the way it needed to be. We had to increase that competition. Now, with where we’re at, we’re short numbers-wise on our blueprint.
“The concern isn’t so much competition — we’ve got really good competition. But the concern is going to be, ‘Do we have the numbers that we need? Do we bring in two walk-on quarterbacks instead of one?’ Those things we’ll figure out in the next few weeks.”
Before a ball was snapped this spring, a graduate transfer had appeared to be a fit, a quarterback who has taken some snaps and played in and won some games. Greenlee is the most experienced of the Bulldogs quarterbacks with all of 41 passes, a 43.8 completion percentage and a 0-1 record in games started on the résumé while Anderson and Virgil have yet to take a snap.
They could again go that route and if that player is out there they will make a run at signing him. But the dynamic is much different than it was a year ago when Brian Burrell and Greenlee were trying to grasp the offense while competing for the starting job with Anderson due to arrive in the fall.
“I think the guys have done a great job so far this year, so I don’t feel a great sense of urgency to have to bring a guy in,” offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Dave Schramm said.
None of the three, Schramm said, are where they will need to be in the fall. But all of them have handled the competition well this spring and progressed within the offense.
Said DeRuyter: “They’ve all had good drills or good days and they’ve all had some bad drills or bad days, but they don’t let the bad affect them. A year ago in the spring, those younger guys were letting a bad rep or a bad practice affect them the next day, and you can’t do that. You have to let those bad experiences flow off you like water off a duck and just keep moving on.
“I think Zack has made great strides in that area. He’s understanding the responsibility of being a quarterback and how he has to have his body language reflect leadership. Kilton has been fairly natural at that part of it, but learning the offense and with as fast as we want to go, he has not been a spread quarterback guy, so there’s a little bit of a learning process. And then Chason has kind of been very natural about it.”
CB Charles Washington out
Cornerback Charles Washington, who had offseason surgery for a core muscle injury, sat out a second practice in a row due to discomfort in his left hip area and next week is likely to fly to Philadelphia to be evaluated at Vincera Core Physicians.
“I thought last Wednesday I was back 100% and ever since then it has been kind of downhill,” he said. “It’s the same area I’ve been having some pain. We’ve been contemplating another surgery.
“I don’t know where that stands right now. It’s 50-50. I have to talk to the trainer and go over it with Coach DeRuyter and see what the best thing is in this situation. It’s so close to the season. It’s so far away, but it’s so close so a decision has to be made whether I go into surgery or whether I’m not and just let it heal.”
If Washington has surgery, the recovery time is six to eight weeks and he could be a full-go by the time fall camp opens. He had been participating in individual drills and 7-on-7s the first two weeks of the spring and went through a full practice for the first time last Wednesday.
Fresno State added to its 2015 recruiting class with defensive end Nick Kristofers (6-foot-4, 270 pounds), who played last season at Santa Rosa Junior College.
Kristofers is a 2 for 2; he has two years to play two seasons after spending 2012 as a redshirt at Sacramento State before playing the past two seasons for the Bear Cubs. As a sophomore, he was in on 24 tackles, including three sacks and two forced fumbles in eight games for a team that finished 7-3.
“I think he’s going to compete right away in our two-deep at the defensive end position,” DeRuyter said.
Fifth-year seniors Todd Hunt and Claudell Louis are the Bulldogs’ first-team defensive ends, backed up by redshirt freshman Kyle Hendrickson and third-year sophomore Gabe Newman.