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Whats Next For Fresno State?

Admin | June 5, 2024 @ 12:00 AM


The current Fresno State head football coach Jeff Tedford, has forgotten more football than most people will learn. Starting in California as a high school quarterback, the next Fresno State head coach would lead the school's offense for two seasons. While not an NFL talent, Tedford would see his success pass with minimal results in college. Seeing his career in football ending, the Fresno native would take a job as an offensive assistant in 1987. Jeff would see his career come full circle in 2021 when he became the Fresno State head football coach, while an offensive assistant, Tedford improved the defense almost immediately, ranking in the 80s defensively was a thing of the past. Attacking a defense has been a skill lacked by incoming NFL talent for a long time, Tedford has the mind of a quarterback and is the perfect resource, Since his hiring in 2021 Tedford has yet to have a losing season, Fresno State boasts NFL talent from its inception and Tedford aims to continue that trend with players like Jake Haener at the saints and Derreck Carr, the Raider's all-time leading passer. Fresno State's quarterback development is made clear through their results, first overall pick David Carr, younger brother and all time leading passer for the Raiders Derreck Carr, and now undersized prospect Jake Haener who aims to backup the younger Carr at the New Orlean Saints. Tedford aims to continue the legacy his at his alma mater mentoring young quarterbacks into NFL talent.

New players

The 2024 season was one of building for the Fresno Bulldogs. With a 9-4 record, the Bulldogs were the 56th-ranked defense in the country, the offense took a backseat the whole year only averaging over 20 points per game following the loss of the star quarterback Jake Haener. The undersized QB started his career at in 2017 redshirting at the University of Washington, where he would appear in a backup role for three games behind NFL quarterback Jake Browning. The Fresno native would see little playing time due to the physical limitations placed on him by his coaches, measuring just over 6 feet tall, Jake was looked at as an overachiever rather than a legitimate contender for the starting job. He would end up at Fresno State where he would miss the entire 2019 season due to the NCAA's transfer rules, Over the next three seasons, Haener would grow into a leader as well as develop into a qualified NFL quarterback. The first full season Haener played would see him lead the Bulldogs to a 9-3 record against multiple nationally ranked opponents, games like the one against UCLA would earn him a reputation as a hard-nosed football player who happens to play quarterback. The Fresno State Bulldogs entered the game as a +340 underdog to the Bruins, the historic program was given 11 points against a UCLA team ranked for the first time since 2021. The Bulldogs would answer the disrespectful betting odds by jumping on the Bruins and holding a lead until the fourth quarter. Haener slung the ball all over UCLA's defense to the tune of 455 yards, a feat that would be seen on the sports leader ESPN. The game would almost slip through the bulldog's grasp after 14 unanswered in the fourth quarter, Haener would suffer a monstrous shot from a defender that left him in the fetal position as the play developed. This injury hardly deterred the Fresno State quarterback from continuing his dissection of the defense as Haener would go on to lead two game winning drives following UCLA's scores, the Bulldogs would end up besting the Bruins in a major upset that shot Jake Haener's draft stock through the roof. He would ultimately be selected by the New Orleans Saints in the 3rd round to back up starting quarterback and fellow Fresno State Alumn. Haener's replacement is a three star quarterback transfer from the University of Central Florida named Mikey Keene, while at UCF Keene would luck out following the starting quarterback was injured. Keene would go on to start ten games, racking up more than 1,700 yards and 18 touchdowns. He would relinquish the starting job the following season to John Rhys Plumlee and only appear in four games during the entire 2021 season. As 2022 approached, Keene made the difficult decision to move across the country from Florida to California to secure the starting job. Keene's 2022 season would see him win the New Mexico Bowl offensive MVP after a decent 9-4 season.


New collegiate rules have changed the game when it comes to building football teams. Up until recently, student athletes in college were restricted in their use of their own name, image, and likeness to produce merchandise or make money. The term "amateurism" was used to refer to collegiate athletes that could not earn money during their time competing in college sports. For decades on end, the academic brass across the country set a standard against college students earning money, even going as far as to get rid of the athletes unfortunate enough to earn money. Only recently has there been a change in opinion from the powers at be, the NCAA passed the NIL interim policy which allows athletes to profit from their careers without the approval of the school or risk of losing their career. The next generation of collegiate administration has demonstrated the commitment to compensating the athletes who raise the level of the institution. These policies have had a number of unforeseen challenges for coaches, players, and athletic directors looking to be competitive in sports like football and basketball. Athletes who once struggled to make ends meet are now presented with six-figure offers right out of High School. Giving college students in their twenties nearly enough to retire before making the league they seek has left coaches with entitled players lacking motivation. The large sums given to student athletes are just one benefit of the NIL policy, housing, cars, and jewelry have all been used to lure players away from small schools that cannot spend the money required to court talent. Even Nick Saban, considered the greatest college football coach of all time, said that the NIL policy instituted in 2021 had destroyed a huge part of college football. Recruiting has been around since before the playoff format that distinguishes college football, a practice shrouded in stories, rumors, and even some scandals, recruiting has been a weapon held by big schools for a long time. Schools with new dorms, promising locations, good nightlife, and academics had more than enough to lure student athletes from small schools in the middle of the country who may have a good history. The new policies would turn these weapons into arms of mass destruction, schools that could boast a historical record, previous NFL talent, or a storied past now had to compete directly with the wallets of major academic institutions some of which have been around since the civil war. Fresno has not stayed still in this scramble, just this year, transfers have been brought in to bolster a weakened secondary. Defensive back RJ Reagen was brought in from Arizona State this year in hopes of competing against a stacked offensive conference.

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