Spring football has arrived, and Fresno State’s team welcomed it with open arms.
Laughter echoed through an empty Bulldog Stadium on March 13; jokes flew between teammates; and, per usual, head coach Jeff Tedford looked stern and focused in the face of the media.
“Practice was great. It’s nice to get out here for the first day, always in spring ball. Guys came out with a lot of energy, and we had a really good offseason as far as training is concerned,” Tedford said.
Monday’s session marked the first of 15 spring practices for the Bulldogs.
Spring football brings new experiences for the offense, especially quarterback Marcus McMaryion. This is his first spring practice with Fresno State after transferring from Oregon State last season.
Tedford said having McMaryion for a full offseason this time around will only benefit him.
“[McMaryion] will get a chance to do it from the foundation up. Last year, he kind of hit the ground running midstream and was just kind of game planning all the way through. Now he gets the foundation of the meetings and progression of practice,” Tedford said.
McMaryion threw for 2,726 yards and 14 touchdowns last season.
McMaryion said he enjoyed his first spring practice with the team. He added that he is excited to be able to focus on himself and the team during this time rather than an opponent.
“[Spring football] is definitely a critical time for us,” McMaryion said.
Critical time, indeed, especially when it comes to some of the younger players on the team. Tedford said this is a perfect time for scout team players and players coming off of a redshirt season to “step up and compete.”
As for players who were on the team last season, some of the biggest contributors are using this time to rest up and nurse injuries.
Running back Josh Hokit just finished up his wrestling season, and Tedford said there is no rush to get him back into football shape.
“We want to do it the right way. Right now, we’re just breaking [Hokit] in real slow. We’re going to get him in football shape,” Tedford said.
Linebacker Jeffrey Allison will be taking it even slower due to a shoulder surgery. Tedford said he will not be participating in any spring practices, but should be back to full health by fall camp.
Allison was the team’s leading tackler last season with 79 solo tackles and 126 total tackles.
Tedford made it clear that this is a new season and a new team, and the Bulldogs are not paying much mind to the Hawaii Bowl victory or their 10-4 season.
“We don’t really talk so much about last season. It’s a new team. It’s a new group. Goals are the same. We fell short a little bit last year, so we have to get better in order to achieve those goals,” Tedford said.