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FRESNO STATE Team Report
It seemed the Bulldogs were poised to end that run last year when they defeated Boise State with ease, 27-7, on Nov. 10. Fresno was 8-1, the lone defeating coming at nationally top-10 ranked Oregon by a field goal. And then for three-plus quarters, Fresno gave two-time defending national champ USC all it could handle and then some before falling 50-42 in one of the three most exciting games of the season in college football.
The Boise win ended up being the final celebration of the season of Fresno, which lost at Nevada and, stunningly, at home against Louisiana Tech before falling to Tulsa, 31-24, in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
This season, the squad returns a plethora of starters, including 11 who have played in at least 30 career games. With back-to-back strong recruiting classes, the Bulldogs appear poised to qualify for a bowl game for the eighth straight season. The program's current streak of seven is the longest in not only the WAC but of all teams in the Pacific, Mountain or Hawaiian time zones.
Hill, back for his 10th seasons at Fresno after flirting with some NFL interest this off-season, must find a reliable quarterback by the season-opener against Nevada on Sept. 1 for this team to compete for a conference title.
--Fresno State had three players selected in the NFL draft, with cornerback Richard Marshall becoming the 10th player under coach Pat Hill taken in the first four rounds -- Carolina took the early entrant with the 58th overall pick in the second round. WR Adam Jennings and S Tyrone Culver went back-to-back in the sixth round to Atlanta and Tampa Bay, respectfully, with the 184th and 185th picks of the draft. Five other players signed free agent deals shortly following the draft.
--Inclement weather made a mess of Fresno's spring schedule and even forced the team inside for the final practice on April 6.
2007 DRAFT PROSPECTS:
--WR Paul Williams was a first team All-WAC selection last season, and with another big year and an impressive combine, he should be playing on Sundays in two years.
--C Kyle Young is 6-5 and 335 pounds and, barring injury, should start 54 consecutive games before departing Fresno State. An All-WAC pick last season, he could definitely anchor an NFL line in seasons to come.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Kyle is certainly very deserving. Kyle has been the epitome of Bulldog football. He's tough and aggressive. He hasn't missed a play in three years. He's durable and a devastating blocker. In addition to his excellent physical skills, he's so valuable because he understands the game of football and our offense. He makes all of the line checks and leads our offense. I believe he's the best center in college football." -- Fresno State coach Pat Hill on C Kyle Young being named to the Rimington Award watch list.
--SS Vincent Mays, who had 21 tackles last season, was among the first singled out by coach Pat Hill as having a solid spring effort. He should see plenty of action at safety with returning starter Josh Sherley.
--TB Dwayne Wright had a solid spring and has the inside track on the starting tailback job. He had 46 yards on seven carries in the spring game, including a 32-yard scamper on his first attempt.
--WR Chastin West, a redshirt freshman, was impressive in the spring game and could become a multi-purpose threat for Fresno. He caught a 32-yard pass and tossed a 25-yard touchdown on a trick play.
--LB Dwayne Andrews was named to the Lott Trophy watch list on March 27. He was among 42 players nationally selected. The trophy is named for Ronnie Lott and equally recognizes athletic performance and personal character attributes.
--TB Dwayne Wright looked solid this spring and is the favorite to start in the fall. Wright, a junior, hasn't played since the second game of the 2004 season, when he injured his knee. He was a second-team All-WAC selection in 2003 with more than 1,000 yards.
Previous Report: 05/30/2006