Monday, November 27, 2006
This is the post where I give the credit due to Fresno State RB Dwayne Wright. How hard would this season have been without the steady force that is Wright or shall we say the "offense" that was Dwayne Wright. After one season at the JC level at West Hills (Coalinga, Ca) Wright transferred to FSU and in 2003 rushed for 1,038 yards during a very productive sophmore season in which he was able to show his abilities but also left Bulldog fans excited to see where his progression would take him heading into the 2004 season. That season began with a 104 yard effort in a victory on the road at Washington. The following week was a road test at Kansas State in which the Bulldogs jumped all over the Wildcats early. I remember watching the game excited as ever of the effort that the Dogs were putting forth on both sides of the ball. Nothing saps away spirits in an early season win then a season-ending injury. Wright caught a screen pass and had a cavalcade of blockers in front of him which allowed him to break the 61 yard play. At the end of the run a KSU defender was able to run Wright down, and on that tackle end both Wright's season but ptentially his career. The knee injury was so severe that he missed not only the remainder of the 04 season but watched the 05 season also while rehabbing. The one thing Wright was able to accomplish besides regaining the strength in his knee was to add 25 pounds of muscle to an already sizeable frame.
Wright came into the 06 season with big thoughts on his mind, as did his teamates, coaches, and the fans that were thrilled to have him back. He had watched nearly 2 seasons of football while preparing himself diligently for the rigors of full contact and game speed. Heading into the season most knew that Wright was to be the key to success with uncertainty offensively under center but a solid returning offensive line. Since the Bulldogs were starting anew at the QB position, I was of the opinion that the first 3 games were going to be Wright shouldering the offensive burden while sophmore QB Tom Brandstater was limited in his passing load while he became accustomed to the offense and to reading defenses. After those early season tests, it was thought the passing offense would expand and provide the balance needed for both Brandstater's arm and Wright's legs to shine. My first 3 games theory was proven true as Wright rushed for 158 yards and 3 TDs in a payback game with Nevada to kickoff the season. In a home date with Oregon in which the special teams gave the victory to the Ducks, Wright carried 29 times for 154 yards and a TD, doing his part to lay the foundation for victory. The following week at Washington, Wright again carried the load again with 28 rushes for 136 yards and 2 Tds in a deflating road loss for the Dogs. With the passing game led by Brandstater unable to find any consistency or flow, teams began to load up the box to stop the only player that could hurt them in Wright. This led to 8 and 9 man fronts that began to dare the Bulldogs to throw the ball downfield. This was the point in the season where Wright began to see less carries and his effectiveness became very limited. To his credit, Wright stayed extremely positive and continued to do his work, never calling out any of his offensive mates and understanding the need to come together over the stretch where he saw his team lose 7 games in a row. He still played hard and put in some good rushing performances, but also was able to show off his pass catching abilites out of the backfield against Colorado State and LSU.
After the 35-0 defeat of Idaho at home where Wright carried only 19 times but amassed 133 yards, he announced as all had been speculating, that he would be leaving FSU to enter the NFL draft. He then followed up the next week with his signature performance at Louisiana Tech. He amassed 295 yards on 25 carries in a 34-27 victory, the Bulldogs 3rd in a row. His only TD of the game, a 33 yard burst, proved to be the game winner, a run in which I was yelling for him to get to the enzone as soon as he broke into the 2nd level of the defense. He broke the 54 year old school record with that total and finds himself 241 yards behind the single-season record with the San Jose road date his final opportunity of the season to break the record. The Louisiana Tech performance earned Wright WAC player of the week honors, the second time during the season that distinction was bestowed upon him.
Wright overcame a career threatening injury, proved to the scouts he can take a season worth of beating (One reamining game @ San Jose State on Sat.) and will be 24 in June. He also has a wife and 2 children and the time is now for Dwayne to utilize his talents along with having the opportunity to perform on the NFL level after all of the hard work and dedication he has put in. I wish him all the best and the NFL team that ends up drafting him with whatever pick he is taken will be blessed with not only a stout, hard-running, punishing back, but will also have a great person in the locker room who despite leaving a year of football behind will be getting his degree. I have much respect for Dwayne Wright and he became the main reason I enjoyed watching the Bulldogs this year despite the deflating season, and he is without a doubt the MVP for the 2006 season. Thanks again Mr. Wright.
Yahoo! article on Wright
Wright named WAC player of the week
Another Bloggers take