Feb 21, 2020

Three new assistants adjust to new positions

Throughout spring football practice, three men had to learn new schemes, plays and the players around them, to ensure everyone was on the same page.

But these are not incoming freshmen, transfers from a different university or junior college players; they’re the newest members of the Fresno State coaching staff.

Micah Alba, Joe Wade and Keith Williams all joined Pat Hill’s staff on February 24.

For Micah Alba, the athleticism of the cornerbacks is what he’s been most impressed with. He is helping defensive coordinator Randy Stewart with the secondary.

“They’re very athletic,” Alba said. “They’ve been hungry before we got them to spring ball. Its been a good spring.”

Alba was a cornerback and return man for Brigham Young University (BYU) from 2001-04. He led BYU in interceptions as a senior.

Before coming to Fresno State, he was a graduate assistant under Cougar coach Bronco Mendenhall. Alba not only helped coach the defense, but also worked with the offensive line during the 2008 season.

“[BYU] have a great coaching staff over there and I learned a lot from each one of them,” Alba said. “Bringing that with me has been a huge help with getting going over here.”

Joe Wade was a former quarterback for Linfield College from 1986-1991. He first coached the running backs in 1999 at Montana State. He was previously the offensive coordinator for Eastern Washington University.

Wade gets help from a former Fresno State running back with coaching the backfield.

“I have a close friend, Kelly Skipper, who played here. He was a running back and he’s now the running backs coach for the Raiders,” Wade said. “I lean on him a lot in terms of coaching running backs.”

Wade has a running game that he’ll look forward to with the group he has. But he still wants the likes of Ryan Mathews and Lonyae Miller to produce for 2009.

“We got a lot of talent and experience coming back, but my job is to make sure they play really well this season,” Wade said. “We got to make sure we do all of the little things to continue with their success.”

For new wide receivers coach Keith Williams, spring practice started off with inconsistent hands.

The former San Diego State receiver had to preach catching the football to the Fresno State wideouts after the first spring scrimmage. Numerous drops were present and it led Williams to chastise his group.

Since then, his receivers have made better strides in hauling in receptions because of his coaching.

“We ended the spring on a positive note,” Williams said. “We started off slow, but these guys worked hard. The last week of practice has been our best, and that’s what you want. You want to finish better than you started.”

After finishing his career with the Aztecs, Williams served under former San Jose State head coach Fitz Hill during the 2001-05 seasons.

“It was a good experience [at San Jose State],” Williams said. “The wideouts over there worked hard. They were a good group much like this group here. They have a lot of similarities.”

Williams admits that after playing and coaching against the Bulldogs, it was a difficult transition for him to join Fresno State.

But he now believes that he is in a good position.

“It felt weird at first, but I’m glad to be here, because I have no wins in either one of those elements,” Williams said. “As a player, I’ve never beaten Fresno State and as a coach I’ve never beaten Fresno State. It’s good to be on the good side.”

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