SS James Sanders (PHOTO CREDIT - Justin Kase Conder)

2002 Statistics

Coach: Pat Hill
46-30, 6 years
2002 Record: 9-5
at Wisconsin LOST 21-23
at Oregon LOST 24-28
at Oregon State LOST 19-59
at Rice WON 31-28
SMU WON 30-7
at Boise State LOST 21-67
at San Jose State WON 19-16
at Louisiana Tech WON 45-13
Georgia Tech WON 30-21

2002 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2003 Outlook

The Fresno State Bulldogs finished last season strong, winning their last five games, including a bowl victory over Georgia Tech. And the best thing about it was that they achieved said success with a new QB and such a young team.

Now they come back with something to prove- and believe us, they will, but how much can they against the following schedule. It doesn't start easy - the first three games are (at) Tennessee, Oregon State, and (at) Oklahoma. After all that is done, they must play at Colorado State and then the biggest game of the year. They host the Boise State Broncos, a team who pummeled the 'Dogs last season, on November 22nd. This game may not only decide the WAC Champion, but it could very well be Fresno's only ticket into a BCS game, provided they win all three games against previously mentioned BCS big boys and are undefeated at that point.

What needs to be done for this happen? Simple- the 'Dogs must make the big plays when the time comes and win the games they are expected to win. Sounds simple…Paul Pinegar is going to have to play better than any QB in the nation to accumulate these wins, and to do so, his line is going to have to stay in tact.

Run-stopping looks improved. The defense will, in turn, need to again be tough against the pass. The secondary will have to step up and take away the deep ball. If teams can again score 125 fourth quarter points, there will be no 2003 magic. The motto this season should be Start strong, finish stronger.

The Bulldogs have all the cards lying face up. If they play them right, there will be no reason for anyone or any system to keep them from the next level and possibly the Top 10, at times. Will it actually happen? We don't think so- not quite anyway. The Dog's will win one of the three early games then lose at Colorado State and drop (at the most) one WAC game.

The first WAC team to recruit a big, fast team (especially linemen) will rise above the rest and into nationally competitive circles.

Projected 2003 record: 7-5
RB Rodney Davis
SS James Sanders
NT Donyell Booker
CB Marcus McCauley
QB - 4 DL - 2.5
RB - 3.5 LB - 3.5
WR - 4.5 DB - 2
OL - 2 ..

Passing: Paul Pinegar, 403-230-10, 2929 yds., 20 TD's

Rushing: Rodney Davis, 313 att., 1586 yds., 9 TD's

Receiving: Marque Davis, 64 rec., 956 yds., 7 TD's

Scoring: Rodney Davis, 9 TD's, 54 pts.

Punting: none

Kicking: none

Tackles: James Sanders, 82 tot., 36 solo

Sacks: Bryce McGill, 6 sacks

Interceptions: Dee Meza, 3 for 128 yds.

Kickoff returns: Marque Davis, 19 ret., 22.1 avg.

Punt returns: Adam Jennings, 36 ret., 8.6 avg.


WR Marques Davis (PHOTO CREDIT - Justin Kase Conder)
OFFENSE: Rodney Michael-C, Victor Taifane-OG, Joey Schey-OT, Fitu Tu'ua-OG, Asen Asparuhov-K
DEFENSE: Nick Burley-DE, Jason Stewart-NT, Sam Williams-OLB, Demorieux Reneau-CB, Cameron Worrell-FS, Jason Simpson-P

written by Tim Chapman

Pat Hill determined during his 2002 campaign just who his quarterback would be for the next few years- and what a quarterback indeed! Soph QB Paul Pinegar was arguably the country's best 2002 freshman signal-caller, completing 57 percent of his passes for nearly 3000 yards and 20 TDs. Even though it was supposed to be his "growing year", he stepped up immeasurably and delivered much needed poise and confidence that is rare to find in a first-year anything, especially QB. His biggest asset is arm strength. The fact that he can deliver the ball in a striking fashion is what separates him from others. The success of this offense lies behind him - with the improved ability to better read defenses and adjust to various coverages and/or blitzes, this unit will be dynamite.

The talent of senior RB Rodney Davis will help promote the talents of Pinegar because Davis brings back a volatile running attack (1586 rush yards, 5.1 per carry) to the Fresno State offense. He is a strong runner who is more likely to run over than around you, and his experience and toughness will help to bail out Pinegar as far as picking up blitzing defenders and acting as an outlet on pass routes.

The QB is back, but will the passing game still perform well? Here's the most astounding fact for the Bulldog offense- they return every player who caught a pass. That's right, all 16 Bulldogs who caught an official 2002 pass are coming back. That most notably includes explosive senior WR Bernard Berrian, who eventually took a 2002 medical redshirt. Berrian was the catalyst for David Carr (two years ago when the Bulldogs were making a national scream) and gives the Dogs the big-play man they seemingly lacked a year ago. The addition of Berrian will make senior Marque Davis (14.9 yards per catch) even more effective. There is no drop-off in depth either, as senior DeAndre Gilbert and sophs Adam Jennings and Jermaine Jamison all qualify as home-run hitting third receivers. The next level is reached by this offense once four-receiver sets are their regular fare. The concern Pat Hill might have in getting all these explosive receivers in the game while still maintaining a solid running game is real. It's a dilemma most coaches wish to have, but it can easily create problems, too.

There seem to be very few weak spots for this offensive group, except maybe on the offensive line. The group graduates three linemen who have seen significant action and it didn't help matters when starting OG Fitu Tu'ua left the team. Third-year sophs Sean Finnerty (center) and Matt Stevenson (tackle) will likely fill some of those voids, but get no time for error as the 'Dogs open up with a brutal start to their schedule. If allowing 32 sacks doesn't improve, it won't matter how many receivers go out in patterns. Balance will be the key to taking pressure off the line and making each element then flourish.


QB Paul Pinegar (PHOTO CREDIT - Justin Kase Conder)


Returning Starters in bold
*12 positions listed due to formation changes
QB Paul Pinegar-So (6-5, 220) Jeff Grady-Sr (6-2. 195)
FB James Cummings-So (5-8, 209) Adam Jennings-So (WR) (5-9, 175)
TB Rodney Davis-Sr (5-8, 210) Bryson Sumlin-So (5-10, 193)
WR Marque Davis-Sr (6-0, 190) Deandre Gilbert-Sr (5-10, 180)
WR Bernard Berrian-Sr (6-2, 190) Jermaine Jamison-So (6-3, 190)
H Alec Greco-Sr (6-3, 230) Stephen Spach-Jr (6-4, 240)
TE Duncan Reid-Jr (6-6, 220) Mark Wood-Jr (6-4, 250)
OT Logan Mankins-Jr (6-4, 305) Kawika Edwards-Jr (6-4, 300)
OG James Martin-Jr (6-4, 305) Doug Roush-So (6-3, 231)
C Sean Finnerty-So (6-3, 305) Kyle Sweeney-Jr (6-4, 280)
OG Dartagnon Shack-So (6-2, 309) Dan Budd-Fr (6-4, 285)
OT Matt Stevenson-So (6-7, 280) Kyle Young-Fr (6-5, 320)
K Brett Visintainer-Jr (6-0, 165) ..



written by Tim Chapman

Even with the loss of OLB Sam Williams, the Bulldogs' linebacking corps returns pretty much in tact. They have one of the more nationally underrated defenders in senior OLB Bryce McGill, an everything-doer for this defense. He's quick, he's got great to-the-ball instincts, and, oh, can he bring the wood. In the middle, senior Marc Dailey is a solid anchor. His attributes are helped by McGill's speed, which allow Dailey and fellow LB junior David Adamo more room to find the hole and make the play. This group has deceptive speed and, as all Pat Hill teams have done, they love to hit you and not let you forget about it.

The defensive line also returns in a positive light. They will miss the likes of Nick Burley at DE, but they team a monster middle-duo with senior DT Del Hawkins and soph NT Garrett McIntyre. Both showed considerable growth and give the Bulldogs much promise against the rush. On the outside, junior Claude Sanders has great speed and will continue to disrupt. The other spot is a question mark that will be answered by senior DE Asa Taylor. When a WAC team gives up 160 rushing yards-per-game, there are predictably disastrous results unless something is changed. Their work is cut out for success.

The pass defense gave up nearly 250 yards-per-game, a total that could slightly waiver either way and not affect much in any discernable way. The defensive secondary takes a bit of a hit this season with the loss of Cameron Worrell. Worrell, the defensive MVP, leaves a void in the middle of the secondary. Soph FS Tyrone Culver will be the guy to whom this unit will look. He provided quality 2002 depth and shows the tools of a quality FS. The 'Dogs also need to fill a spot vacated at one of the corners. They will look to another soph in Raymond Washington. He got very little (valuable) playing time and will need to make a better transition to the big time as he will be tested early and often. The good news is that they return soph standout SS James Sanders and his many freshman all-American accolades. Sanders brings a 'pop' to the secondary and will take on even more responsibility to make this defense work. He is up to the task but will need to assist his young new cohorts in the alteration. Senior CB Dee Meza's experience will help in this transition.


LB Bryce McGill (PHOTO CREDIT - Justin Kase Conder)


Returning Starters in bold
DE Claude Sanders-Jr (6-3, 230) Brian Morris-Sr (6-1, 260)
NT Donyell Booker-Jr (6-2, 305) Del Hawkins-Sr (6-0, 270)
DT Fai Satele-Jr (6-1, 290) Johnny Sotelo-So (6-4, 250)
DE Garrett McIntyre-So (6-2, 250) Clarence Denning-Jr (6-3, 280)
OLB Bryce McGill-Sr (5-11, 210) Kyle Goodman-So (6-0, 230)
MLB Marc Dailey-Sr (6-1, 235) James Lolohea-Fr (6-2, 220)
OLB David Adamo-Jr (6-2, 235) Todd Garcia-Jr (6-1, 230)
CB Raymond Washington-So (6-1, 200) Awan Diles-So (5-9, 180)
CB Kendall Edwards-Sr (5-11, 185) Marcus McCauley-Fr (6-1, 180)
SS James Sanders-So (5-11, 200) Nate Ray-Jr (6-1, 200)
FS Tyrone Culver-So (6-1, 200) Dee Meza-Sr (5-9, 185)
P Mike Lingua-Fr (6-0, 190) ..




Fresno State has had the luxury of a sound kicking unit for a few years. Now, they graduate two quality kickers at both positions and will need to find replacements. There are likely hopes in senior Brett Visintainer, who might be relied on to handle all three - kickoffs, placements and punts. He has an explosive leg and (marginally more important) accuracy. But all of that is easy to say now - we'll wait to see.

The return game looks solid as the dynamic Adam Jennings will probably continue his success returning kicks and punts. Coverage included, the special teams will be in good hands as Pat Hill is a true believer in this area.



The wave of noise coming from the backfield this off-season was from FB James Cummings. James attracted the acclaim of all who are Fresno State football this spring, making their already dynamite offense even more of a fear factor. He and Davis should compliment each other's style and will, in turn, make Pinnegar and posse that much more accessible. Another player who has emerged in the backfield is FB Jamal Jones. Jones has been noted strictly for his blocking, bulldozing Bulldog linebackers all spring. He may be the most important, under appreciated player on the offense this year… As if the Bulldogs needed another WR to step up, they got just that in Joe Fernandez. Although undersized, he is a quick and comes from great lineage- his father, Mervin Fernandez, was a WR for the Raiders… Hill is excited for two JUCO players' arrival this fall- RB Dwayne Wright and WR Chico Mackey. Both are dangerous with the ball in their hands and should be notable contributors in 2003.

CB Marcus McCauley has received a warm welcome to the secondary, following his spring performance. McCauley was a constant around the ball and showed magnificent closing speed, which will help in taking away the deep throws. Coming over from the offensive side of the ball is Therrian Fontenot. A special teams regular the last few years, Fontenot should make a level transition to defense… Demanding attention and, at times, some double teams was Donyell Booker. He will be tough to maintain this season, which brings hope of great things for the linebackers… FS Dee Meza has provided outstanding leadership along with strict defensive fundamentals, heading that secondary… In an effort to bring speed to this side of the ball, the Bulldogs nabbed Keith Venson, who is among the nation's best relay men in the 100 and 400-meter relays. He will be playing DE/OLB.

Punter Mike Lingua has shown he has a very strong leg, but has not been as consistent as coaches would like. With the offense so balanced and so compelling, his work will likely be minimal this season, but still, he must prove reliable. Kicking wasn't much better, as Brett Visintainer struggled with his range and accuracy. Freshman Clint Stitser may have a shot upon arrival this fall. For the Bulldogs to be a complete (championship) team, they must bolster these areas. As far as blocking kicks, Hill's gang has this down. We may be seeing the next wave of special teams dynamos (sorry VA Tech).

FYI- Pat Hill said two things stood out to him the most this spring- intensity and chemistry, two things that are vital to a successful football team. Don't underestimate this team folks- not for one second! They play their first two games against Tennessee and Oregon State on the ESPN network, where the Bulldogs are 4-1 against BCS teams the last two years. Both these games are winnable, and IF (somehow, someway) they were to get by Oklahoma, LOOK OUT!