Fresno State Bulldogs

‘Dogs take in win before homecoming tilt with Colorado State

For Fresno State head coach Jeff Tedford, the 24-hour rule gives the Bulldogs a chance to look at the previous game and whatever highs and lows came from it.

It makes perfect sense after a loss. The team has 24 hours to look at what went wrong, but the players won’t beat themselves up over it all week in practice.

After a win though, the same rules apply. Even after the Bulldogs had their largest win of the season – 56-27 against UNLV – it’s on to the next opponent. It’s simple for Tedford: Each week brings a different opponent with different players, challenges and schemes.

“We ask questions about last week, and I have to make it clear again, they’re different teams every week,” Tedford said at his press conference Monday. “You don’t play the same schemes. The schemes you go up against are totally different from week to week.”

There’s no basking in the victory. It’s all about staying in the moment and preparing for the next opponent: Colorado State.

“It really doesn’t matter what happened last week for us, it’s about how we can put a plan together for Colorado State,” Tedford said. “They had a bye week last week, so they had extra time to prepare for us and probably get a little bit healthy. So just really how the game plan matches up on how we match up against them both schematically and personnel.”

After every game, one of the players usually mentions the 24-hour rule, regardless of the outcome. This time it was linebacker Justin Rice, who was named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week after he led the Bulldogs with 10 tackles, forced a fumble and returned another one for a touchdown.

“It’s a great feeling,” Rice said of the win. “We have a 24 hour rule, so we’ll enjoy this for 24 hours then get on to the next opponent.”

Freshman Focus

The Bulldogs’ freshmen have been a huge asset so far this season. Fresno State is third in the nation with five freshmen who have started games.

Their impact was as noticeable as ever against UNLV. Linebacker Levelle Bailey started his third game as Mykal Walker played most of the game at defensive end. Bailey had a game to remember – he recovered a fumble and recorded an interception.

On offense wide receiver Jalen Cropper earned another start, his second of the year. He’s been huge for the ‘Dogs’ run game with his ability on the fly sweep. He nearly scored a touchdown with an 82-yard run against UNLV, getting stopped at the 1-yard line.

“They are young, but each week there’s a new gameplan, so it’s not like it’s the same thing every single week,” Tedford said. “So there’s a lot of learning involved, and then obviously the physical challenges of just knowing angles and which angles to take.

“And I told the team yesterday, I said to look at the tape and to look if you had another chance to do something. If you had another opportunity to make that play, what would you do differently? Because I think that’s what’s important, is you learn from every opportunity you get. And with all the young guys we have playing, there’s a lot of learning going on.”

News and Notes

  • Rice’s defensive player of the week honor is the first for the ‘Dogs since teammate Mykal Walker earned the award on Oct. 1 last year following his performance against Toledo. 
  • Justin Rice and brother Jared Rice are one of only 14 brothers that start for a team in the country. They’re the only pair to each score a touchdown in the same game this season. 
  • Fresno State has played Colorado State 14 times. The Rams hold the 9-4 advantage. 
  • The Bulldogs open as a 14-point favorite over the Rams, according to Sportsline. 
  • Cornerback Chris Gaston – who has been injured since Week 2 – is week-to-week, Tedford said. Defensive end Kwami Jones has missed every game so far, but is also week-to-week. Both players are getting closer to seeing the field. 

Here’s more of what Tedford had to say at the press conference:

On Mykal Walker, moving around:

“Well we move him around quite a bit. That’s really our job to try to put our players in a position to be successful. I thought Mykal did a great job. He moved around in that game too. He just didn’t play on the edge. He moved around. He was inside. He was all over. So just try to put him in a position where he can be most successful.”

On Justin Rice:

“On defense, it’s really all of them playing together. It’s the defensive line keeping the linemen off of the backers. He’s playing well. Mosby in there as well. When you take a look at it, you have three linebackers that really didn’t play last year, and they’re all three new at the position because Mosby was a safety before, Rice was a running back, and then you have a freshman in Bailey. So every week out it’s something a little bit different, but they play hard and that’s what they need. But Rice is doing a good job in there.”

On Rice being named Mountain West defensive player of the week:

“He played well. He had 10 tackles and obviously scooped a ball and scored a touchdown. It’s always nice when any of your teammates get recognition like that, but that’s in the rearview mirror now. It’s more about what we’re doing going forward and what type of practice we have tomorrow and moving forward through the week. Those things are nice, but right now it’s after the fact we need to move on.”

On cornerbacks Chris Coleman and Randy Jordan splitting both playing against UNLV:

“It’s an opportunity to get Randy into the game. Again, Chris is learning out there, so another opportunity for him to get out there playing a new position. It’s no different than any other position. Well, let me take that back, it is different than any other position because if you’re a left guard and you make a mistake, nobody sees it. When you’re out on an island like that it’s a little bit different. But Chris has a lot of ability, but it was nice to get Randy into the game and get him – he’s another true freshman that’s played, so it was nice to get him some experience.”

On Colorado State and head coach Mike Bobo:

“What I’ve known about Colorado State for a long long time – it was evident back in the day when we played them when I was here before – played them a time or two at Cal – they’re always very physical. Coach Bobo’s offense is very balanced. They do a lot of really good things. They’re very sound in what they do. They’re very explosive. He’s got a great offensive mind, and they do a great job. I’ve only known him through a couple of the head coaching meetings that we’ve had. He’s a great guy. You look at their team, their team plays hard, very diverse on offense. I think he has an excellent offensive mind, and they really do a nice job of staying balanced and making you stop the run and being able to pull it out, throw it over your head, things like that. And they have weapons to do it.” 

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.