Fresno State quarterback Chason Virgil – a true freshman – is making his case to lead the Bulldogs’ offense this season. (Darlene Wendels/The Collegian)
Freshman quarterback Chason Virgil came to Fresno State last spring, believing he can be the starting quarterback for the Bulldogs.
Throughout the spring and fall camps, Virgil competed for the starting position with sophomore Zack Greenlee, junior Ford Childress and redshirt freshman Kilton Anderson.
In August, the freshman lost the job to Greenlee and started the first two games of the season on the bench. But Virgil is still making a case for the starting position.
In the midst of last week’s 73-21 loss against Ole Miss, Virgil turned out to be one of the few bright spots for the ‘Dogs.
He entered the game in the second quarter and stayed until the fourth quarter, finishing with a passer rating of 146.44.
The freshman from West Mesquite, Texas, said he has come a long ways since joining the ‘Dogs.
“Just being more confident, being more poised with the offense, knowing it a lot more. That’s one of the things I’ve improved on for the most part,” Virgil said.
Going into this weekend’s game against Utah, Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter has not said who will start at quarterback. But Virgil feels ready if his name is called.
“It would mean a lot to start as a true freshman, but right now getting playing time and getting experience isn’t bad as well,” Virgil said. “When the coaches let me know their decision, we’ll just move forward.”
As they have in the first two games, the ‘Dogs could once again use multiple quarterbacks in Saturday’s game against Utah.
Virgil said the ‘Dogs get an advantage by using multiple quarterbacks.
“Some people say neither one of us can get in a rhythm, but me and [Greenlee] don’t look at it that way,” Virgil said. “We’re always in a rhythm, always ready to go. The two quarterback thing makes it harder for defenses to game plan against us.”
Now, the biggest question surrounding Virgil is whether or not he can take care of the football.
Against Ole Miss, Virgil struggled in that department by throwing two interceptions.
“There were a lot of things I messed up on,” Virgil said. “You can’t have those mistakes when playing against a team like Ole Miss. But offensively, we’re just gonna keep working. We’re gonna keep hitting our strides. We don’t have to be perfect right now. It’s only the third game of the season. We just gotta make sure we keep getting better.”
With the first couple of games behind him, the quarterback is encouraged by the chemistry he is developing with the wide receivers.
“From spring to now, just working with them over the summer – constantly three days a week – just going through fall camp with them and being able to gel with them, we definitely feel a lot more comfortable,” Virgil said. “We know each other a lot better. They know what routes we like to throw. We know what routes they like to run, so that definitely helps us.”
The wide receiver group includes juniors Josiah Blandin and Da’Mari Scott, as well as redshirt freshmen Keyan Williams and Keesean Johnson.
Virgil said he doesn’t have a favorite target, but he prefers to spread the ball around.
“I just want to give everybody the ball,” Virgil said. “Whoever’s open has to get the ball. Just want to spread it around and make it hard for the defense to cover everybody. Just spread it around and show some love.”