Bulldog Grapevine -- Issue III
Sept. 12, 2001
Bulldog Grapevine is a biweekly column about Bulldog athletics written by Assistant Athletics Director Steve Weakland. Its purpose is to stimulate interest in many things that may not get mainstream media coverage. It is also a forum to answer questions and correct misinformation about Fresno State athletics. If you have questions or comments, please contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your comments could appear in future editions of this column.
BULLDOG OF THE WEEK - It was an incredible week for Bulldog athletics and a lot of individuals had a great weekend, but impressive freshman setter Whitney Arena gets the nod after earned MVP honors of the Fresno State Invitational, leading the 'Dogs to the team tournament title. Arena averaged 12 assists per game as the Bulldogs improved to 4-3 on the season. Honorable mention goes to football player Bernard Berrian, who had 300 all-purpose yards against Wisconsin and earned WAC Player of the Week honors, and men's soccer goaltender Jeremy proud, who was on the Nike Goal Rush all-tournament team, and record a shutout against Evansville.
TRIVIA QUESTION - What is the highest any Bulldog has ever finished in the Heisman Trophy balloting?
HEISMAN HYPE - There's no way to put a price tag on the intense media exposure that Fresno State has received since winning the first three games and moving up to No. 11 in the Associated Press poll. With that, senior quarterback David Carr has become one of the leading contenders for the Heisman Trophy, the most famous award in college athletics. Carr is leading the pack according to CNN/SI and CBS. In addition, Mel Kiper, Jr., has ranked him as the No.1 NFL quarterback prospect. Our office if planning a Heisman Trophy campaign, which will include a postcard mailing with Carr's updated numbers, plus producing weekly video highlights to the networks. That will be important since the 'Dogs are not on national television for several weeks. In addition, Alan Harper has received a lot of attention for the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Awards, given to the nation's top lineman. Never before has Fresno State had two football players on one team who have earned this kind of national media attention.
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED - David Carr is the first Bulldog ever to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. Carr is pictured in action against Wisconsin for this week's issue (Sept. 17). A four-page story on Carr and the 'Dogs appears inside. Sports Illustrated writer Austin Murphy and photographer Robert Beck were on campus last week. Murphy attended the Wisconsin game to finish the story. I asked Murphy to push for the cover after the win, but he didn't think the Bulldogs had much of a chance to make the cover because he said SI loves the NFL. With the first weekend of the NFL, the referees' strike and Barry Bonds surpassing 60 home runs, there was no way to predict the cover for that week. Obviously SI must have been pretty impressed with the Bulldogs. In recent years we have had a good relationship with Sports Illustrated, getting coaches (Bob Bennett and Margie Wright) for their milestone victories and athletes (Stephen Abas, Terry Carpenter, Carrie Dever and Kerri Donis) in the "Faces in the Crowd" section.
LIFE'S A JOKE - Look for Jack Fertig's first book, called "Life's A Joke." Jack is the director of basketball operations and has compiled stories from his years as an educator and coach. Jack has been at nine different Division I schools and is one of the best story tellers I have ever heard. The book is chalked full of hundreds of short stories about coaching, dealing with student-athletes and life in general. After seeing some of the proofs, this is extremely entertaining and enjoyable reading.
SEAT OPTIONS - Fans looking to get a jump start on football tickets for next season and future seasons of Bulldog football might want to check into the seat option plans for the red seats (chairback). Those are available through the athletic ticket office or by a fantastic group of volunteers who make up the seat option task force. Seat options come in a variety of pricing packages to meet almost any budget. There is a stadium seat option open house at Bulldog Stadium every Sunday between 1:30-3:30 p.m. at Sky Suite 211 and every Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the south end of the stadium.
VIDEO SCREEN STAYS - Fresno State has retained the portable video board for the Utah State game and we are working out the financing to be able to keep it for the rest of the year. Video coordinator Todd Bowen did an excellent job of producing the show and has more entertaining vignettes planned for this week. All in all, it was a great enhancement to the game. We are looking at having a permanent board installed by next fall.
SOUTHERN GETTING STRONGER - It sure is great to see softball player Jamie Southern throwing again. As you know, she suffered an arm injury last season and missed her freshman year for the Bulldogs. I talked with the former Clovis High standout after a workout session and she said she was throwing well but does not have all of her strength back yet. She has been working in the training room and the weight room, strengthening her arm. She said she should be at full strength by the start of the softball season. You can see the hunger in her eyes when she talks about returning to the diamond next season.
SWEEPING COLORADO - With the women's soccer team's 3-2 victory over Colorado, Fresno State owns a 2-0 lead against the Big 12 school counting Fresno State's football win. First-year head coach Stacy Welp has her team off to a good start at 3-1 and were anxious to take on undefeated Auburn (4-0) which is coming off a win over No. 6 Virginia. The 'Dogs were also schedule to play Georgia on the SEC road swing before those games we cancelled Wednesday.
'DOGS IN FAB FOUR - Fresno State's men's basketball team will be playing in the Dec. 6 Fab Four event at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood. The Bulldogs are playing Gonzaga, a Sweet 16 team from last season in the first game of the doubleheader. The second game will feature USC vs. Pepperdine. This should be a fun event for basketball fans, especially Bulldog fans who can make the easy drive to see the games.
DOUBLEHEADER WITH THE 'DOGS - Mark your calendar for Oct. 20 when Fresno State will be playing a rare doubleheader of volleyball and football. Lindy Vivas' volleyball squad hosts nationally ranked Hawai'i at noon and the Bulldog football team will host one of the WAC's newest teams, Boise State, at 4 p.m. Hawai'i reached the volleyball final four last season and is ranked in the top 10 this season.
TRIVIA ANSWER - Former Bulldog great Kevin Sweeney finished ninth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1986.