Jerry McKune can be credited with being the "DoggFather" and prior proprietor to The Bark Board. From just a simple email list and name back in 1997 has evolved into one of the most informative and #1 "unofficial" Fresno State Fan Site.
What following 2006 recruits do you believe will make an immediate impact on the team?
Mike Stuart is going to be an impact guy. He's the most physically
mature of all the recruits
because he's already been at USC and at Moorpark College. I saw him at
the spring game. He is a
man-child. I expect him to see a lot downs this year. Lonyae Miller is
going to make an impact
early in his career. He's another guy who is at another level
physically. Damion Owens has a shot
to play right away. Coaches are expecting him to come in and compete
for the starting CB position
vacated by Richard Marshall.
Concerning our new football staff, what do you feel they bring to the table?
I am really excited about Derek Frazier and Tim Skipper being added to
the staff. I have known
Derek for several years, back to when he was a graduate assistant here
under Coach Wagner and then
Coach Weber. You won't find a harder working guy around. In my opinion,
there will be no drop off
in OL production. I have known Timmy since he was a freshman at Fresno
State. He has football in
his blood. His dad is an amazing coach (Jim Skipper) who has coached
for decades in the NFL. He
has mentored All Pro NFL guys at the RB position. Tim's brother Kelly
(who coached and played RB
at Fresno State as well) is another tremendous resource. I know some
people are concerned Timmy
has never coached RB before, but good coaches can coach most positions.
With all the talent he has
to work with, and a very talented OL, I think the pieces are in place
for him to coach a very
I have not had the chance to meet new graduate assistant Andy Buh
(pronounced Boo), but I have
heard he's also a huge pick up for Fresno State. He was LB coach at San Diego State under Tom
Craft, and they had several guys go to the NFL and be very success.
Kirk Morrison, Heath Farwell
and Matt McCoy are probably the biggest names. But they have a few
other guys who made NFL
rosters. You can never have too many good coaches on your staff.
Brandstater or Norton?
Hard one to answer right now. But if I had to guess, I'd say it's
Tommy's job to lose at this
point. I know Coach Hill has said it's still up in the air, but I think
Tommy has done some really
good things, plus he's the most physically mature right now of the two.
In order for Sean or Ryan
to have unseated Tommy, they would have had to really set the world on
fire. And while I think
they have done well, they just have not made it a no-brainer choice.
Sean is going to be a very
good QB, as will Ryan, but right now I think it's Tommy's team.
Hopefully we'll know by the time
spring ball is over, but it wouldn't surprise me to see this thing
extend to fall practice.
What makes this team different from prior years?
Depth on the DL and WR.
In past year's Fresno State has had good DL. In 2001, it was a very
solid front four, but beyond
the starting four, it was kind of sketchy. This year having both inside
guys, Jason Shirley and
Louis Leonard come back is huge. I think they are as good a pair as
you'll find. They pretty much
made LenDale White useless in the USC game by clogging the middle. Now
you have Marlon Brisco and
Tyler Clutts coming back after they started to assert themselves at the
end of last season. Plus
you've got two highly regarded, and highly athletic guys coming in who
have not even taken a snap
yet in Jason Roberts and Mike Stuart. And then you factor in young guys
like Kenny Avon and Jon Monga starting to assert themselves and you could have a very good 8
man rotation. If you can keep
guys fresh, and get consistent pressure on the QB with just the front
4, you are going to win a
lot of ball games. Coach Hill told me one the best defenses on any
level are the ones that can
pressure the QB with only 4 guys rushing.
In 2001, Fresno State did not have a lot of weapons for David Carr.
Rodney Wright was solid, but
he was 5'8". Bernard Berrian was a true sophomore, and beyond that was
a lot of inexperience. But
the team was still able to effectively throw the ball. Now you've got
Paul Williams, who is
physically the best WR I have ever seen at Fresno State. And then
you've got Joe Fernandez and
Jaron Fairman returning, plus a couple of really exciting freshmen in
Chastin West, Marlin Moore
and Jason Crawley. Seyi Ajirotutu has also really impressed me, but
he's out for the rest of
spring with a knee injury. For the first time under Coach Hill, Fresno
State has multiple game
How has Pat Hill adjusted after last seasons 4 straight losses?
Does Nevada have a chance in
our upcoming opening game?
Any team can beat another on any given day. Nevada beat Fresno State
last year because they
executed their plan better. Chris Ault is a phenomenal coach. He's had
a high level of success for
most of his career. Nevada dominated D-1AA for many years, and when
they moved up to 1A, they
didn't skip a beat. I remember back in 1994 they came into Bulldog
Stadium and cleaned our clock,
62-35 and it wasn't even that close. Last year Chris Ault basically
invented the pistol offense to
compliment the personnel he had. They got to a bowl game for the first
time in years. They will be
a challenge, but that game has huge ramifications. It's a WAC game
right out of the gate, and the
winner has the upper hand on winning the conference. But Fresno State
will have some advantages as
well. It's at home, and it should be a nice toasty 100 degrees at
kickoff which the Bulldogs will
have practiced in all August. Also, I think last year's defense had
some trouble adjusting to the
pistol in the first half. No matter how much game film you watch,
nothing compares to live action
in getting you ready.
Fresno State has had great success in the NFL, which players do
you see continuting on that
Richard Marshall is going to be a very good NFL DB for many years. I
had one scout tell me he was
in the same category as Rodney Harrison of the Patriots who is
considered the best tackling DB in
the NFL. I think Rich could have used one more year in college to hone
his skills, but he's
getting married soon and you can't fault a guy for trying to make his
way in the world.
Pinegar has a shot because of his size and ability to read defenses to
make his way on a roster as
a backup much like Billy Volek.
Mathis has some good combine numbers, and along with his production
should get him drafted on the
second day. Sumlin will make a roster because he'll work harder than
anyone else, and NFL rosters
are full of those guys. Adam Jennings has a shot to be drafted late,
but should catch on as a free
agent at the very least. He'll have a chance to prove himself on
special teams because of his
Garrett McIntyre is another guy who will make a roster as well because
of his work ethic and
As to guys currently on the roster with a shot at the NFL...Marcus McCauley probably could have
come out early this year as well. Jason Shirley's size and strength
will get him a lot of looks.
If Allen Goodwin has a very good year he could help himself because he
has the prototypical size
you like. Paul Williams is the top prospect overall. He has freakish
athleticism, and is starting
to put it all together on the field. He reminds me a lot of Braylon Edwards coming out of Michigan
last year. If he has a great season, I could see him being a first
rounder. Dwayne Wright could
also be a high round guy at some point. Kyle Young and Chris Denman
stand out on the OL because of
their size. There are a bunch of young guys who if they progress will
be in a position to go to
the next level, but those are the immediate guys I see with a shot.
How important is Mike Martz and bringing back former
players/coaches to the program? Is
Fresno State growing it's "gameday" experience for the fans?
I think getting him to come and speak is fantastic. One thing Coach
Hill has always talked about
is developing traditions. There is not better way to celebrate
tradition than bringing guys back.
Not only does it bring memories back for the long time fans, but it
gives newer fans a sense of
where Fresno State has been. There is a long list of players and
coaches who have made an impact
in the NFL and in college football and it's good to see that being
I don't know all the specifics, but I know Paul Ladwig is working very
hard to make coming to
games an event the whole family enjoys. For many years, the games sold
themselves. People had
their tailgate traditions, and would just show up because it's what
they always did. But Fresno
has grown a lot in the last 10 years. Being the 6th largest city in
California, you have a lot of
competition for your entertainment dollars. Obviously not as much as
the Bay Area or LA, but
enough to warrant aggressive marketing for sports events at Fresno
State. Just look at all the
marketing the Grizzlies(AAA baseball) and Falcons (ECHL hockey) do. I'm
really pleased at the
direction things seem to be going. If they continue to market
aggressively, every game will be a
How is Clifton Smith's health? When should we expect him back?
He still hasn't been cleared to practice, but he's working hard I know.
Right now I think it would
be an aggressive timeline to see him back for the start of the season,
but it's possible. The team
learned a lot from Dwayne's injury, and I think for Clifton's benefit
they will err on the side of
caution and take it slow.
Not to talk in circles, but it will all depend where he stands at the
start of fall practice. If
he continues to rehab, and the doctors clear him for fall practice, he
will likely play early. If
he can't practice till late August or mid-September, I'd say the
liklihood of him playing
decreases. Still a wait and see.
Over the years you have watched The Bark Board grow since
creating it, did you ever imagine
it would grow to become a medium for fans of Fresno State and many in
I hoped it would. But I never anticipated people making money off of
it. Making money was never my
goal, but when I faced the decision of abandon the board completely, or
sign up with a network so
they could pay my hosting and bandwidth costs, I couldn't resist. The
Bark Board had become too
popular, and grew from something that cost me $5 a month to $400 a
month because of all the
I know some people look at these internet sites as something bad
because they cannot be
controlled. But as long as you have responsible people running them who
know what is OK to post
and what isn't, then I think they are a tremendous resource.
I would like to thank Jerry personally for this interview and all the hard work he puts in daily making Fresno State Football better.
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