Fasten Your Seat Belts

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    By Stephen Trembley / Fresno State Athletics

    With an early 1-1 record, seven newcomers and only three returners expected to play in tonight's game oceanside at UC Santa Barbara, the waters could get choppy really quick or the Bulldogs could find some calm waters to make a statement during the first past of this season.

    Before this morning's shootaround in the Thunderdome, which is outfitted with a truly unique and rustic flavor highlighted by a wood ceiling and cross beams in the rafters, the Dogs' head coach Steve Cleveland took a moment to reflect for some inspiration.

    The concept is simple: when the times get tough, the steady handed show their maturity with composure to maneuver through any turbulence or adversity.

    Over the past six years, Cleveland's program is one of the examples that it requires resolve to turn the corner from challenges of the past and move forward into the present and future.

    To take that step, Fresno State must now find consistent success on the floor.  Their academic turnaround is the nation's best, the sanctions are gone and the necessary talent is in uniform.   With unquestioned passion and a surge inserted into the Bulldogs' energy level, Cleveland is back into prime form.  He is the first to admit that he loves coaching day-to-day now more than he ever has in his over 30 years of winning championships at the college, junior college and high school levels.  He can just feel the potential to deliver a winner for his hometown and Bulldog community.

    The Dogs face a stretch of playing four of the next five games on the road.  The page may not turn over the next few weeks, but each of these experiences will be critical when conference play starts Dec. 29 in the Save Mart Center when WAC rival San Jose State visits town.

    But for now, the comforts of home are a distant memory.  The ride will be long and there will be speed bumps along the way.  However, with conviction and desire, the Bulldogs have shown they can find their way by fastening their seat belts and displaying poise under pressure.

    Note: You can listen to Fresno State's men's basketball road game at UCSB on KMJ 580 AM or online at www.gobulldogs.com/allaccess (a subscription is required).  Live stats are available for free through Gametracker at www.gobulldogs.com.

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