Warszawski on Fresno State-Utah: Who's the QB now?
Fresno State had a quarterback competition, but now it has a quandary after third-year sophomore Zack Greenlee was arrested early Sunday morning for public drunkenness and freshman Chason Virgil was ruled out for the season Monday with a fractured clavicle.
Greenlee, who came off the bench and threw three fourth-quarter touchdown passes in the Bulldogs’ 45-24 loss to Utah, will practice this week, but his status for the Bulldogs’ Mountain West Conference opener at San Jose State is unclear.
“We’re aware of the incident. We’re gathering details and we’ll withhold further comment until the investigative process plays out,” coach Tim DeRuyter said Monday. “Discipline will be handled internally. He will practice this week, and Saturday we’ll make another announcement on it.”
Greenlee, who is 20 years old, was arrested at 3:57 a.m. and released at 7:34 a.m.
Outside linebacker Brandon Hughes, who made his first career start against the Utes, was arrested and charged with obstructing a public officer. Hughes, 21, was released at 8:17 a.m. Bail was $10,000.
Along with Greenlee and Hughes, Fanny Johansson of the Bulldogs’ women’s soccer team was arrested by Fresno police. The 23-year-old senior forward from Gävle, Sweden, was charged with disorderly conduct and obstruction of a police officer. She was released at 8:12 a.m. Bail was $10,000.
This is really an aberration. I can’t recall the last time we had any type of an incident with Fresno State athletes.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer
All three were arrested after Fresno police responded to a disturbance call about a large party on North Bond Avenue.
Greenlee did not take a Breathalyzer test, but an officer saw him drinking from a beer bottle outside, and he later refused to hand over a beverage in a red cup, Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer said.
Hughes did not consume any alcohol but continued to communicate with Greenlee despite officers’ requests that he leave the scene, Dyer said.
“[Hughes] was arrested for interfering with the duties of a police officer,” Dyer said. “He was physically subdued and went to the ground. There was some resistance on his part.”
Johansson also refused to leave the party and was “very verbally abusive” to officers, according to Dyer. Her blood alcohol content was .136, police said. The legal BAC for driving is .08.
Dyer talked to Fresno State officials and coaching staff Monday, and said that while he considers the offenses to be minor, the university is “very upset and very disappointed.”
“This is really an aberration. I can’t recall the last time we had any type of an incident with Fresno State athletes,” Dyer said. “These are really minor offenses. The only offense that was a concern was the fact that they were resisting or not complying with the directions of an officer, which is a misdemeanor. But they were not necessarily aggressive toward our officers in any way. … When they were told to leave, they did not.”
The Fresno State Athletics Department’s definition of inappropriate use of alcohol by student-athletes includes, but is not limited to, the following: Underage drinking Regardless of age: drinking at any activity sponsored by the Athletics Department where they represent the institution Drinking while on trips for off-campus competition, consumption of alcohol prior to or during athletics practice or competition Public drunkenness Driving under the influence (DUI) Consumption of alcohol when hosting a student-athlete on an official visit. Any violations of University, city, county, state, and federal laws also constitute violations of the Student-Athlete Code of Conduct.
While there is no specific disciplinary action in the Fresno State Student-Athlete Code of Conduct – any action would be up to a review committee – Greenlee allegedly broke three of the guidelines regarding alcohol: underage drinking, public drunkenness and violating city law (municipal code).
If Greenlee is suspended for a half or a game, the Bulldogs would have two scholarship quarterbacks available to start or play: junior transfer Ford Childress and redshirt freshman Kilton Anderson.
Childress, who started his career at West Virginia, has played in one game with the Bulldogs, getting reps at the end of a blowout loss at Ole Miss. He threw two passes; one was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. Anderson, who fell out of a four-way competition for the starting job after the first scrimmage in fall camp, has not played a down for the Bulldogs.
Virgil, who earned the start against Utah, was injured at the end of a nine-yard run in the fourth quarter. He was replaced by Greenlee, who finished that drive with a six-yard touchdown pass to Josiah Blandin, and later in the quarter threw an 82-yard touchdown pass to Jamire Jordan and a 32-yard touchdown strike to Da’Mari Scott.
The injury to the freshman quarterback was not believed to be serious immediately after the game, but an X-ray revealed the fracture. He will not need surgery.
DeRuyter said Fresno State would seek a medical redshirt for Virgil, who graduated early from West Mesquite High outside of Dallas so that he could enroll in school in time to participate in spring practices.
“Obviously, he’s disappointed,” DeRuyter said. “He felt that he was making gains – we all did. But I think this is a tremendous opportunity for him. We’re obviously going to petition the NCAA to get this year back for him. It’ll be another chance for him to learn. He’ll get to see this season out. He won’t compete, obviously, but he’ll get another spring, another fall.
“Having this experience and having next fall be his redshirt freshman year I think is really an advantage for him. Academically, he’ll have a chance to hopefully get an advanced degree by the time he’s done here, and obviously with the experience he won’t be a true redshirt freshman; he’ll be a redshirt freshman that has played in a few games.”
The Bee’s Mackenzie Mays and correspondent David White contributed to this report.
Mountain West opener
FRESNO STATE AT SAN JOSE STATE
- Saturday: 7:30 p.m. at Spartan Stadium
- Records: Bulldogs 1-2; Spartans 1-2, 0-1
- TV/radio: CBS Sports Network/KFIG (AM 940), KGST (AM 1600)
- Series: This will be the 79th meeting between the Bulldogs and Spartans – the longest running series Fresno State has against any school. Fresno State has a 40-35-3 record against San Jose State.