Former Fresno State players return for alumni day

Fresno State football defensive players practice drills in front of alumni at Bulldog Stadium. (Wyatt Bible/ The Collegian)

With spring football in full swing, the Bulldogs welcomed back over 100 alumni into Bulldog Stadium to watch them perform drills and have an intrasquad scrimmage.

Notable alumni, including KeeSean Johnson, Dante Marsh, former coach Tim Simons, and Johnny Johnson and Juan Rodriguez from last year’s team were on hand.

Head coach Jeff Tedford emphasized the importance of Alumni Day for Bulldog football. 

“The opportunity to introduce the alumni by decade was really cool because when you talk about [the] pride and tradition of Bulldog football, that is the tradition of Bulldog football [for] all those guys and all the years,” Tedford said.   

To start off the day, the team was divided up into different stations that took part in different drills based on offense, defense and specific skill sets. Tedford said he was pleased with the balance in the scrimmage.

“What’s really good about it [is] you never want something to be one sided,” he said.  “You don’t want the defense to dominate or the offense just to roll through the defense, and I think we got a little bit of both today, which was really good to see, very competitive.”

Safety Elijah Gates and the ‘Dogs’ defense were the standouts of the scrimmage. Gates broke down how the defense operates.

“Upfront, we got dudes that can fire off the ball and get to the ball. Our middle linebackers and linebackers do a great job of communicating and setting up the defense. In the back end, I think we got playmakers that can go get the ball in the air,” Gates said. 

Fresno State quarterback runs drills in front of alumni at Bulldog Stadium. (Wyatt Bible/ The Collegian)

Starting quarterback Jake Haener said that the defensive line has improved, and that defensive end David Perales is someone who has stood out to him.

“The defensive line all the way around is doing a really good job. I think David Perales has added a new skill to his game. He’s really gained about 10-15 pounds, and just has a new gear on the outside as a rush defensive end,” Haener said. 

Haener played a few series in the scrimmage, but he said it was mainly about getting the younger guys reps.

“I wish I got a few more reps during the middle of the scrimmage, but those young guys gotta do some stuff and continue to develop and learn and grow, so it was good to get them some reps,” Haener said. 

 Logan Fife and Jaylen Henderson are competing for the backup slot, and Tedford is assessing the situation. 

“It is a competition. Most positions have a competition, but there is really no clear-cut [choice], no one [who] has really separated themselves, so we will probably continue to let it go through fall camp to see who will be the backup if we had to play,” Tedford said.

The Fresno State football spring preview is next Saturday, April 30. The action will start at 11:30 a.m. and go until 2 p.m. 

Fresno State is hosting a Bulldog Block Party featuring food trucks and live entertainment at 1 p.m. 

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