Fresno State was able to schedule a home-and-home football series with Minnesota, the games to be played on the road in 2018 and at home in 2019 for what is expected to be the opening of a renovated Bulldog Stadium.
But it has not had much success getting a Pacific-12 Conference team to visit Fresno.
The Bulldogs have road contests versus Washington in 2017; UCLA in 2018 and ’21; USC in 2019, ’22 and ’25; Colorado in 2020; Oregon in 2021; and Arizona State in 2023.
San Diego State, though, has not had that problem. The Aztecs last month signed a second home-and-home series with Arizona State and starting in the 2013 season has home-and-home series set up with Oregon State, Cal, Stanford, UCLA, Arizona and Utah that run through 2022.
The second series with the Sun Devils is in 2027 and ’28.
We put out the word to the Pac-12 and we got a really good response from most of them. ... I don’t know why they did it, but Jim Sterk is our AD. He did a very nice job of getting that done.
San Diego State coach Rocky Long on securing home dates versus Pac-12 schools
Is there a secret to getting the Pac-12 into a Mountain West venue? Not really.
“We made a decision and a concerted effort that if we’re playing those kinds of people – we played Penn State last year and have played Ohio State, played Michigan – how about getting people closer to home and going home-and-home with them so you get the same kind of revenue production because of people traveling, but actually get a home game,” San Diego State coach Rocky Long said Wednesday at Mountain West Media Days. “We put out the word to the Pac-12, and we got a really good response from most of them. Not all of them, but most of them we got a good response. I don’t know why they did it, but Jim Sterk is our AD. He did a very nice job of getting that done.
“I think that we only have two that we haven’t played or don’t have on our future schedule, and that’s USC and Oregon. Everybody else we’ve either already played home-and-home or we’re going to play home-and-home over the next five years or so. I think it was a great job by Jim and his staff in getting that done.”
Heating up the competition – Fresno State’s summer workouts have been more structured under new strength and conditioning coach Thomas Stallworth, and also more competitive.
“He does a lot of things to push us,” said senior wide receiver Aaron Peck, who represented the Bulldogs at media days along with defensive back Tyquwan Glass. “(Tuesday), Tyquwan and I weren’t there, but the guys had a big competition day. They were doing things to increase the intensity level, increase the competition, because we know every day we’re going to have to fight and compete, and so he has really tried to instill that in us. I feel like our summer development stuff has been a lot better than it has in the past.”
We know every day we’re going to have to fight and compete, and so he has really tried to instill that in us. I feel like our summer development stuff has been a lot better than it has in the past.
Fresno State senior wide receiver Aaron Peck on offseason workouts directed by new strength and conditioning coach Thomas Stallworth
Coach Tim DeRuyter on the change: “I really like the discipline that Coach Stallworth has brought to our guys. I think that’s something that can really help us galvanize, help our guys find common purpose that maybe we were lacking a little last year.
“When you have younger players that haven’t played together, haven’t gone through the strain of things together, and then you have some injuries and get new guys in the mix – if you don’t have something common to draw on – it’s tough to have those bonds,” DeRuyter said. “But when you go through a very disciplined program, when everyone knows exactly the expectation, when someone doesn’t meet that expectation and one fails all fail. At first, there was some resistance like you have with any kind of change, but I think our players have embraced it now and really believe in the program he has brought us and more importantly the effect that it has had on them.”
Et cetera – The Bulldogs made a couple of position changes within their receivers group in the spring, and one that stands out is Da’Mari Scott moving inside to the slot, where he will match up against linebackers and safeties. “He’s so quick and he gets to top speed in his first few steps so there’s no way a linebacker or a safety can keep up with Da’Mari,” Peck said. “Personally, I just don’t see how anyone in there can really cover him. Maybe at times but over the span of a whole game, no way.” …
▪ Glass has a lot of tools to work with, including one he didn’t really have a year ago when starting eight games and leading the Bulldogs with four interceptions: Physicality. He arrived at Fresno State at about 179 pounds and is up to 197, with more oomph behind a physical style of play.
“I like it,” Glass said. “If anything, for sure, they’re going to say I’m a physical dude. That’s one thing I like, just getting off the blocks or jamming a receiver. I’ve always played like that, but I didn’t have as much meat on my bones so it was more like, ‘OK, I have to be smart; sometimes, I can’t do it to certain people.’ But it’ll show the difference in my game. You just have to be smart about it. I’m glad I put on the weight.”
▪ Peck on quarterback Zach Kline, who has been participating in voluntary workouts and is expected to come in as a graduate transfer this season: “He has a big arm on him. It took a while to get used to him just because he puts a little extra juice on his passes. He can really step up and let it fly,” Peck said. “It’ll be a really good competition between all of our QBs in camp.”
▪ UNLV coach Tony Sanchez on the prospect of the Oakland Raiders moving to Las Vegas: “Do we need the NFL to come here for us to win? No,” he said. “We can win where we’re at. We have weights. We have players. We have the ability to recruit. We have what we need. It’s going to be tougher. But if the NFL comes and we end up playing in a $2 billion stadium, it’s not a bad deal to show someone on a recruiting trip.”
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
Fresno State future games
- Sept. 2: INCARNATE WORD
- Sept. 9: at Alabama
- Sept. 16: at Washington
- Nov. 4: BYU
- Sept. 1: IDAHO
- Sept. 8: at Minnesota
- Sept. 15: at UCLA
- Sept. 29: TOLEDO
- Aug. 31: at USC
- Sept. 21: SACRAMENTO STATE
- Sept. 7: MINNESOTA
- Sept. 12: at Colorado
- Sept. 26: at Texas A&M
- Sept. 4: at Oregon
- Sept. 18: at UCLA
- Sept. 3: SACRAMENTO STATE
- Sept. 17: at USC
- Sept. 16: at Arizona State
- Aug. 30: at USC