March 25, 2000
FRESNO, Calif. - Pat Hill directed his football team through 44 plays in its first scrimmage of spring drills held today at Hanford High School. While the play was sloppy at times, Hill was pleased with his team's performance and intensity by the end of the day. Nearly 400 people attended the free scrimmage that was followed by an autograph session.
"We had some progress in our fundamentals, which is always good, and we finished strong, which I liked," said Hill. "Early in the scrimmage, guys were just going through the motions, but we cranked it up at the end. We have so many guys hurt and not practicing that it's hard to have any consistency. The offensive line was missing a lot of guys. I was very happy with the number of people who turned out. We have always said this the Valley's team and we are thankful for their support of Bulldog football."
Several key Bulldogs did not participate in the scrimmage due to a variety of injuries, including the following 1999 starters: RB Paris Gaines (knee), OT Kevin Jordan (hamstring), OG Mike Stovall (foot), OT Joe Schey (foot), FB Akka-Ar Moses (foot), DE Justin Johnson (hamstring) and SS Vernon Fox (hamstring). Starting cornerback Tierre Sams missed the scrimmage because he was competing in today's Fresno State track meet, winning the 100 meters.
Three 'Dogs suffered injuries in the scrimmage, although none were serious. Receiver Saleem Mahdi suffered a lower back bruise and tight end Billy Jack Pierce a chest bruise after a collision with Devon Banks. Banks suffered a potential broken nose. He will have x-rays when he returns to Fresno.
Fresno State's second scrimmage is scheduled for April 1 at Bakersfield High School. Spring drills continue this week with three more practices before next Saturday's scrimmage. Spring football concludes April 14 with the annual Spring Game in Bulldog Stadium at 6 p.m.
Fresno State is coming off an 8-5 season and its first WAC title and bowl appearance since 1993. The 'Dogs open the season Sept. 2 at Ohio State with the home opener against Cal on Sept. 23.
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