Fresno State tight end Chad Olsen, who has not been with the Bulldogs since an Oct. 14 loss to San Diego State, is not expected to return to the team.
“It’s day to day,” interim coach Eric Kiesau said. “He’s dealing with some personal issues now. We talk to him each day to make sure he’s good, but he has to make sure his personal life is squared away before football and school. It’s important, but it’s also about taking care of his personal life.”
Olsen, a returning starter and the Bulldogs’ best pass-catching tight end, was injured in a loss at UNLV and did not play the following week at Nevada or against San Diego State.
Fresno State tight end Chad Olsen had seven touchdown receptions coming into the season, the most of the team.
This season, he has caught six passes for 85 yards and in his career has 38 receptions for 463 yards and seven touchdowns. The six receptions this year are tied for fourth on the team with wideout Delvon Hardaway.
In his absence, Fresno State has put offensive lineman Logan Hughes at tight end and given sophomore Kyle Riddering and redshirt freshman Jared Rice more playing time.
Riddering last week at Utah State was targeted three times by quarterback Chason Virgil, catching three passes for 11 yards. Rice caught one pass against San Diego State and one at Utah State, both for touchdowns.
“It’s obviously a difficult situation,” tight ends coach Joe Bernardi said. “I’m really proud of my guys and how they’ve handled it. You stick together. You stay positive and you move forward.
“It’s always a next-man-up mentality and Kyle has done a great job all year. Kyle loves football. Kyle loves Fresno State football. So, he hasn’t skipped a beat and the next guy has to be ready to roll. Jared Rice caught a touchdown pass the other day. He was ready to go.”
Change in plans – With Kiesau at least temporarily in charge after the Sunday firing of Tim DeRuyter, there will be some adjustments on the sidelines during games.
“We talked about that as a staff,” Kiesau said. “Usually after a drive, I go and talk to those skill guys and I spend the whole drive there. Now what I have to do, I have to get over there quick, make quick adjustments and Bernardi is going to help me and (offensive analyst Dylan Cruz) will call down and talk to the quarterback while I’m watching the game because decisions come up for anything we’re going to do defensively or on special teams. It’ll be me quicker to the bench and then getting back to the sideline.”
We talk to him each day to make sure he’s good, but he has to make sure his personal life is squared away before football and school.
Fresno State interim coach Eric Kiesau, about tight end Chad Olsen
Cruz also will take on more responsibility, moving into a role as quarterbacks coach, though Kiesau still will work with the position group during practice.
“He’ll be helping me out administratively and in the office, scripting and that kind of thing,” Kiesau said. “He does a great job and is very smart, very bright. I feel very comfortable and I trust him a lot to do it and it’s good for him. It’s good for a young coach to get that experience and I’m excited for him, to watch him grow as a coach.”
Salute to Services – Fresno State in advance of its Salute to Services Night against Air Force will give away 1,000 tickets to the game from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Campus Pointe.
Members of the Mountain View Church will display the largest American flag that has ever been inside Bulldog Stadium when the national anthem is played Friday before the Bulldogs’ game against Air Force.
Restaurants, with a purchase of $10 or more, will hand out two free tickets and a Salute to Service T-shirt, while supplies last.
The Fresno State Athletics Departmentalso has donated tickets to the Air National Guard 144th Fighter Wing, Lemoore Naval Air Station, California National Guard, Fresno State ROTC Army and Air Force programs, Wounded Warriors Project, WWII Honor Flight Veterans, Fresno Veterans Home, Fresno State Student Veterans Organization, Clovis Veterans Memorial District and the Fresno State Veterans Education program.
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
AIR FORCE AT FRESNO STATE
- Friday: 7:30 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium (41,031)
- Records: Falcons 4-3, 1-3 Mountain West; Bulldogs 1-7, 0-4
- TV/radio: ESPN2/KFIG (AM 940), KGST (AM 1600)