Countdown to Kickoff: 4 Days
    Ryan Matthews had a a stellar freshman campaign and is looking to making 2008 another year to remember.
    Ryan Matthews had a a stellar freshman campaign and is looking to making 2008 another year to remember.

    Aug. 28, 2008

    FRESNO, Calif. - Last year Ryan Matthews shattered Fresno State's freshman records and led the nation in both touchdowns and average by a freshman. Matthews looks to continue that success in 2008.

    With less than a week before the first game, Matthews sat down with GoBulldogs.com to talk about the training, upcoming season, and life as a Bulldog.

    GoBulldogs.com: What's been the most important adjustment you've made from playing high school football to college ball?
    Ryan Matthews: Definitely my speed. The speed of the game is way faster in college and you have to be mentally tough to play this game. In high school, you just go out there for a couple plays and have fun. Here you have to be mentally prepared for the game because everyone out there is very good.

    GoBulldogs.com: What have you done to increase your speed?
    RM: I've been working a lot, especially in the off-season to get my pass blocking down and knowing all my plays so I can be a step ahead. I talk to my coach and teammates a lot. Anthony Harding is very smart and knows the offense in and out, so I ask him. Tom Brandstater is my roommate and he's helping me a lot too. We do films and talk about different situations. Little things like that help out a lot.

    GoBulldogs.com: Where do you get your explosive speed?
    RM: I don't know. My mom says I get all my traits from her, so I guess I'll say from her. I've always been very fast, it's something I really work on. I run a lot; doing ten-yard get-offs or running up the bleachers really help my explosiveness. I don't do any long sprints, but short ones that help get to the hole faster.

    GoBulldogs.com: What are some things you have done in the offseason to help prepare you for the season?
    RM: I was hurt a lot last season, my body wasn't ready for the punishment it was going to take with getting hit every play. So I spent a lot of time trying to harden my body up for the season.

     

     

    GoBulldogs.com: Do you feel any added pressure with all hype surrounding the team as you look toward the season?
    RM: There's a lot of pressure being top 25 and the talk of a BCS bowl. We just have to take it one game at a time and focus on our goals and what we need to do.

    GoBulldogs.com: What goals have you set up for yourself this season?
    RM: I want to stay healthy. Getting hurt and sitting on the sidelines last season wasn't fun at all. I just want to be in every game and every situation I can. Since my freshman year was pretty good, that's just another pressure for me to come out and do bigger and better things this season.

    GoBulldogs.com: What are you most looking forward to this season?
    RM: Playing the game again. It's been almost a year. I miss it. We've been working hard with spring ball, summer workouts, and camp. I can't wait to be there with all the fans, walking toward the field, the band playing, it's all well worth the work in the offseason.

    GoBulldogs.com: Who are you closest to on the team?
    RM: It used to be Clifton Smith. He was like my older brother. Right now it's Tom Brandstater; he's my mentor. He has a lot of good things to say, is well-rounded person, and is a good role model.

    GoBulldogs.com: What personal goals would you like to accomplish before leaving Fresno State?
    RM: I just want to be known. I want to leave my name here. All my life, people have been saying you can't do it and I want to prove everyone wrong. I`d like to break another couple records and put in some good games. When it's all done, I'd like to be known as one of the greats at Fresno State.

    GoBulldogs.com: Do you have any superstitious behaviors you have to do before each game?
    RM: I always have to put on my left sock, left cleat and then my right sock, right cleat. I have to put on everything on the left side first. When I was little, I used to get mixed up. I started playing football when I was five and I had a hard time with my left and right. To straighten it out, my mom taught me to put on all my left and then all my right, so it became a little superstition of mine.

    GoBulldogs.com: What do you like to do for fun outside of football?
    RM: My family and friends call me an extremist because I like to do all kinds of extreme stuff. I like to wakeboard and snowboard; I have a motorcycle and a street bike. But I can't do that right now, I have to play it safe to keep from getting hurt. I like to do all that I can, but be safe about it.

    GoBulldogs.com: The number 21 was retired for Dale Messler, so it took a long process to bring the number out of retirement. What's so special about 21?
    RM: I've been number 21 all my life. It's just another superstition of mine. Anything I do, I want the number 21. It's my favorite number. All the great running backs, like LaDanian Tomlinson and Dion Sanders, wore 21. I remember watching him [Sanders] with the Cowboys running the ball back and it made me always want to wear 21.

    GoBulldogs.com: Tell me something fans don't know about you that you'd want them to know.
    RM: I'm a real shy guy, so don't get offended if I don't just talk to you. I don't open up to people easily.

    "Join the State - Fresno State!" The first Big Ten team will travel to the Valley on September 13th as the No. 25 `Dogs take on Wisconsin in the home opener at 7:30 pm. The game can be seen nationally on ESPN2. All tickets are on sale now. In the month of August, get your official Wisconsin game day t-shirt at the Bulldog Shop for only $10 with any purchase. To purchase tickets, click on the tickets icon at the top of this page, call the Bulldog Ticket Office at (559) 278-DOGS, or stop by the Bulldog Ticket Office.

    More Headlines