March 9, 2006
FRESNO, Calif. - Fresno State head coach Pat Hill and his coaching staff will begin preparations for the 2006 season on Monday, March 13, with the beginning of the annual spring training session.
During the spring football teams are permitted by NCAA rules to hold 15 practice sessions. Fresno State will conduct three scrimmages, including the Spring Game, which will be held April 1 at Bulldog Stadium. The Bulldog spring session runs through April 7.
For Hill and the Bulldogs, the spring session is an opportunity to work on fundamentals and individual player development. It is an important time in the process for the 2006 season, which begins in less than 175 days. Fresno State opens the 2006 season at Bulldog Stadium Sept. 1 against defending WAC Champion Nevada.
"This is a great opportunity for us work being preparation for the upcoming season," said Hill. "Spring football is a time when we can, as a team, begin to form our team identity and chemistry. It's a time when we can work with our younger players to develop them. From a coaching standpoint, we are able to look at and evaluate a lot of players. Since we have some new coaches in staff, this is a great opportunity for us as a staff work together."
The pro timing day has been scheduled for March 13 at the Duncan Building. The timing will be held on the Fresno State practice field at 11 a.m.
Fresno State returns several of the WAC's top players, including first-team All-WAC receiver Paul Williams and All-WAC center Kyle Young. On defense, Fresno State will be led by linebacker Dwayne Andrews and cornerback Marcus McCauley, both second-team All-WAC players in 2005.
Junior Tyler Clutts, Clovis, Calif., is the WAC's top returning sack artist. Clutts had seven sacks last season and a total of 12 tackles for losses. Senior receiver Joe Fernandez, who led the Bulldogs in receptions and touchdowns last season, returns. The Bulldog offensive line returns four starters, including right tackle Chris Denman. Denman has started 33 consecutive games for the Dogs.
The Bulldogs return 18 starters from a team that won eight games, played in a bowl game for the seventh straight season, and spent 13 weeks ranked in the Top 25 polls.
"We have a lot of quality players returning,' said Hill. "This group of seniors have played a lot of games together and gives us a great core of players for next season."
Dogs Visit the South Valley March 25
Pat Hill will once again take his team to the South Valley, when the Bulldog will host a scrimmage at Central Valley Christian High School in Visalia on March 25. This marks the third year the Dogs will scrimmage at CVC. The scrimmage is free of charge and begins at noon.
Spring Game Set for April 1
The Bulldogs will host their annual Spring Game on April 1 at 11 a.m. in Bulldog Stadium. Prior to the game, Fresno State will hold an equipment and apparel sale in the White Parking Lot located adjacent to the stadium on the west side beginning at 8 a.m. that morning. Thera are great deals on some new and used Bulldog athletic apparel previously worn by the teams and special items from the Bulldog Shop. Games for kids, live entertainments and food and drinks will be at the sale. Admission is free. Bulldog players and coaches will sign autographs after the scrimmage.
Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere...Literally
Under Pat Hill's tenure, Fresno State has taken this motto to new heights, especially "where" the Bulldog will play their games. Since Hill became head coach and beefed-up the Bulldog non-conference schedule, they haven't dodged anyone. In most cases, the Bulldogs have to hit the road to play BCS conference schools. Of the Bulldogs' 29 non-conference games under Hill, 19 have been on the road at places like UCLA, Ohio State, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Colorado, Oklahoma, Washington, Kansas State, Oregon and No. 1 USC. Fresno State has never had more than two non-conference home games under Hill, and has twice played three non-conference road games in a season. That will change in 2006, as the Bulldogs host Oregon and Colorado State, while playing at Washington and LSU. Oregon's visit to Bulldog Stadium on Sept. 16 will be the first by a BCS conference opponent since the 2003 season and just the second in the last five years. Both LSU and Oregon are projected to be ranked in the top 10 of the national preseason polls. LSU should be ranked somewhere in the top five.
New Faces on 2006 Coaching Staff
Head coach Pat Hill is pleased with the new additions to his coaching staff for the 2006 season. HIll had to replace three members of last year's staff, all of whom moved on to other positions. Steve Hagen comes to Fresno State as the new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Hagen last coached in the NFL as quarterback coach for the Cleveland Browns. Hagen replaced Frank Cignetti, who left for a similar position at North Carolina. Former Bulldog linebacker Tim Skipper returned to the program as running backs coach. Skipper, who was an All-WAC player from 1997-00, had been the defensive coordinator at Sacramento State for the last two seasons. He replaced John Settle, who left after eight season to become the running backs coach at Wisconsin. Derek Frazier joined the staff as the offensive line coach, a position he held at Northern Arizona in 2005. Frazier is a former Bulldog graduate assistant coach, replaced Mark Weber, who left for North Carolina. Also joining the Bulldog staff this spring is a new graduate assistant coach Andy Buh. Buh will work with the Bulldog defense after spending the last five years as the linebackers coach at San Diego State. "I'm very pleased with the addition of these new guys to the staff," said Hill. "We have a very hard working group of coaches. While team consistency and continuity is always important, so too is getting some fresh perspective. You can learn a lot from that and our new coaching staff members bring that fresh perspective."
15 Dogs Earn Academic All-WAC
The Bulldogs produced a record number of players who earned Academic All-WAC honors for the fall of 2005, with 15 student-athletes being honored. A student-athlete must carry a 3.2 cumulative GPA and play in over 50% of a team's games to qualify. Earning Academic All-WAC honors for 2005 were: Jordan Christensen (Jr., 3.47, Construction Management); Kevin Ciccone (So., 3.04, Undeclared); Tyrone Culver (Sr., 3.42, Health Science) Shannon Dorsey (So., 3.13, Industrial Technology); Joe Fernandez (Jr., 3.21, Philosophy-Pre Law; Kyle Goodman (Sr., 4.00, MBA); Jason Huss (Sr., 3.22, Business Administration); Ikenna Ike (So., 3.06, Undeclared); Jake Jorde (So., 3.09, Undeclared); Garrett McIntyre (Sr., 3.26, Construction Management); Ryan McKinley (So., 3.58, Business; Kyle Richard (So., 3.32, Exercise Science; Clint Stitser (So., 4.00, Business Administration; Bryson Sumlin (Sr., 3.03, Health Science; Ryan Wendell (So., 3.16, Undeclared) Since the hiring of Hill, the Bulldogs leads the WAC with 80 Academic All-WAC selections. Prior to Hill's hiring, Fresno had just nine academic All-WAC student-athletes.
Tickets Available for 2006 Season
Fresno State has arguably the best home schedule in school history, featuring non-conference games against teams that played in bowl games last season. Headlining the campaign is a game against the Oregon Ducks, who finished the 2005 season with a 10-2 record and ranked No. 10 in the nation. That included a thrilling 37-34 win over Fresno State at Oregon early in the season. The Dogs will also host former WAC rival Colorado State, which played Navy in the inaugural Poinsettia Bowl in December. CSU is coached by Sonny Lubick, who has taken the Rams to nine bowl games. The WAC home schedule features the opener against defending WAC champion Nevada and the return to college football of former Bulldog assistant coach Dennis Erickson, who enters his first season as the head coach at Idaho. The Bulldogs will host rival Hawaii on Oct. 14 in the Homecoming game. Stay tuned to gobulldogs.com for more information about season ticket availability and information for the 2006 season.
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