Fresno State's record-setting quarterback Billy Volek participated in a chat that ESPN.com ran in cooperation with FANSonly on Thursday morning, Dec. 9, 1999. He talked about playing at Fresno State, the Bulldogs success to date and much more. Read about it below.
Scooter: Do you feel like you possess the skills necessary to play in NFL?
Volek: Yes, I do. I have fulfilled everything the coaches have asked of me this year. I have led us to the first bowl game for the school in six years. That has really prepared me well.
Bob Jensen: First off, congratulations on making it to a bowl game. How's the team look as you prepare for Utah?
Volek: We are looking very focused. Today is the first day we tighten down the screws. We leave next Tuesday so we have five days to get busy and everyone is very focused on our opponent.
Greg: Growing up in Fresno and knowing the history of QB's at FS, what does it mean to you as being fourth all time and top five nat'l?
Volek: It feels very good. FS has had some great QBs and it helped them to get to the next level. The coaching staff has given me the opportunity to progress and get us to a bowl game.
Stu Mitchell: Your interception ratio is awesome. Why do you think you throw so few picks for the number of passes you throw? You have some solid receivers, but seriously, most of it is all you!
Volek: I throw to the open guy and go through my reads. I know the offense inside and out this year. I just try not to force throws and by not turning the ball over, it puts the team in a position to win. It also helps the defense.
Randy Williams: Who has been your greatest teacher/mentor in developing your QB skills?
Volek: Jeff Tedford (QB coach and offensive corrdinator) who is now at the University of Oregon. He helped me my first two years and my first year starting as a sophomore. Then he left for Oregon. He helped me tremendously with my mechanics and he was just a great guy to play under.
Jim: Who would you cast your vote for if you had one for the Heisman?
Volek: I would probably say I would have to give two awards -- 1. to Ron Dayne for all the he has accomplished. 2. From the QB point of view -- Chad Pennington for leading his team to an undefeated season as did Michael Vick at Virginia Tech.
UteFan: What part of the Utah defense has you most concerned as you get ready for the Vegas bowl?
Volek: I would say their skill positions. They are fundamentally sound. They play hard on the outside. They don't do a lot of things to trick you, they just line up and says "our guys are better than yours." But mostly it is the guys on the outside.
Nick Drake: Hi Billy, great season. Congratulations on your new baby. Did you ever think about naming her after one of your receivers?
Volek:That thought never crossed my mind. Thanks
Bulldog Alumni: Do you feel there is any added importance to this game since Utah used to be a conference foe prior to the formation of the Mountain West?
Volek: Yes, I do. We had a game earlier against Colorado State. It was a good chance to represent the WAC and we did. This is just another chance to show what the WAC can do.
COLOSTATEFAN: What are your thoughts on Fresno State being kept out of the Mountain West split? Did it feel good to beat Colorado State? Good Luck in Vegas!!
Volek: I have no control over that, I just play the team on the schedule. Now we have a chance to play a great team and we have to take advantage of that.
NY Fans: Billy, compare your current FS team to the 38-1 Clovis West Dynasty you led.
Volek: We have great family structure. We play as one. But that 38-1 team was something special and will be forever.
Bruno: I understand your family has been a great support especially your sister! Has this played a role in your success?
Volek: The whole family has, the support I get is tremendous. They have been the backbone for me forever and it has really helped out.
Lonndog: Who was your favorite opponent this year?
Volek: I would say San Jose State because that game put us in the bowl game and we dominated them.
Fresno Dave: Have you had any thoughts about getting into coaching after your playing days are over?
Volek: I don't want to be a coach. I see how much time my dad puts in and I am more of a family man. That doesn't excite me.
Casey: Let's set up a game now: New Year's Day, Fresno State vs. Sacramento State. Who wins, and why? And, would you like playing your dad?
Volek: I would love to play my dad but they are in the Big Sky and we are in the WAC. It would be fun but it would end quickly.
MountainWestFan: The Utes beat you 24-16 last year. What makes you feel like you can beat them this year?
Volek: We are very confident and I think our team has matured a lot this year. In all three areas we have improved and we are preparing hard. It should be a fun game.
'Dog Fan: I don't think coach Hill has gotten the credit he deserves from the community, any comments?
Volek: I think he has gotten a lot of credit from the community. He is a great coach and has turned this program around. He has my credit, both football-wise and academically. So I think he has gotten enough credit.
Bones: Which NFL QB's do you try to pattern yourself after? Is there any QB that reminds you of yourself?
Volek: I would say Jake Plummer in Arizona. But I also like to watch Peyton Manning because he works so hard. He is always working to improve and works hard even when he hands off the ball.
But my game is most like Jake Plummer's. We are the same size and move around in the pocket. We both come from the West Coast offense too. We have a lot of similarities.
Lonndog: How do you think you compare to Chad Pennington of Marshall?
Volek: I think pretty equally. It is hard to compare with guys like him and Chris Redman because they have thrown for a lot of yards and they throw on almost every down. But I think I compare pretty well.
Pennington is a great one and led his team to a 12-0 season.
The New Haven Express: Besides family, is there anyone else you feel will have a major emotional impact for you by being at the Vegas Bowl?
Volek: That is a tough one. Maybe my new little daughter. She is someone I want to play hard for. I play hard for myself and my family.
But mostly it is for everyone in the FS family because we are representing everyone at the Bowl game.
That's all the time I have for now. Thanks for all the questions.