Fresno State Bulldogs

‘Dogs don’t lack confidence, but are determined to improve during bye

The ‘Dogs enter the bye week with their heads up and a renewed focus after losing two close contests to start the season. 

The players spoke with the media after practice Tuesday for the first time after the 38-35 double overtime loss to Minnesota. 

Linebacker Justin Rice said the message to the team after the loss was, “Just that we’re a great team, and we had opportunities to win. We just need to finish.” 

With the two highest-profile opponents out of the way, Fresno State can reset and refocus on the details as the schedule eases up. 

Fresno State practices only twice this week – Tuesday and Thursday – giving the Bulldogs a much needed break after a roller coaster start to the season. 

“We’re just going to take our time,” Reyna said. “We’re going to evaluate everything. We’re going to enjoy the bye week – let our bodies recover, let our mental recover, study our plays, study our opponent. And fortunately we have the ability to watch their game on Saturday. So it’s a great time for us to just reset, and then once we get back on the field we’re going to be itching for it.” 

Running back Ronnie Rivers said the ‘Dogs are keeping their heads up and was focused during practice Tuesday, the first time they saw the field since the loss. 

“I think everybody’s dialed in coming from a loss like that that’s so close and hard-fought,” Rivers said. “I just feel like everybody’s really locked in and just working hard so we can come out with a win against Sac State.” 

Looking at the positives from the last game – such as Reyna’s play outside of the game-ending interception – Reyna said the team needs to just be persistent and consistent to build off of what it’s capable of.

But for him personally, Reyna said the two losses fall on him. He’s reevaluating his play and focusing on the fundamentals. He said he’s leaning on his family, teammates and the Bible as he works on improving. 

“As a quarterback, the ball’s in your court,” Reyna said. “It’s on you. If you win, you’re glorified. If you’re not, you’re the villain. I signed up for this role, and I accept the responsibility for it.” 

One of Reyna’s bright spots in the young season is the connection he’s forged with wide receiver Derrion Grim. 

Grim leads the Bulldogs with 168 receiving yards and is averaging 24 yards per reception, also the most on the team. 

Although there’s no go-to receiver on the team given the multitude of talented playmakers, Reyna said, Grim has stepped up and has found the holes in the coverage. 

“We’re very focused on going through the progressions, going through the reads,” Reyna said. “However, Derrion has been coming open lately, and fortunately he has been our first reads a couple of times. He makes really good plays for us.” 

Both Reyna and Rice agree that the Bulldogs are a good team that needs to refocus and hone in on the small details. 

“We’re better than what our record says,” Reyna said. “However, it shows us that we need to focus more on our detail, more on our game plan, more on how we execute. We’re a great team. I know many people have seen us play, and they’ve told us that. But we just have to execute and finish.” 

Daniel Gligich
Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.