Fresno State has been a very consistent program for the last 4 years as they have posted between 7 and 9 victories in each of those seasons. The Bulldogs had a couple of nice victories this year against Cincinnati and Illinois but once again came up short in their bowl game as well as not being able to get over the hump against the likes of Boise State, Nevada and Hawaii. We caught up with Friend of the Blog Todd Kaufman to find out his thoughts on the 2010/2011 Fresno State Bulldogs. Make sure and visit his website for a good mix of football, baseball and basketball.
Fresno State had another respectable year finishing 8-5 but they lost their third straight bowl game. How big of a concern is this for the Bulldog Nation?
Fresno State fans are tired of what I would call "mediocrity." It's a huge concern to Bulldog Nation because this has turned into the same old thing year in and year out.
I think the biggest concern came with Pat Hill's comments during a press conference when he said maybe 8-4 is the best this program is ever going to do from year to year. That raised a whole lot of eyebrows, myself included, and I think it made Fresno State fans wonder if their head coach doesn't believe in better things for this program, why should they?
If there isn't a "Fire Pat Hill" website out there yet, I'm sure there will be soon.
What was your favorite moment of the 2010 season?
I think my favorite moment came early in the season against Cincinnati. Though we found out just how mediocre that team really was later in the season, the Bulldog defense was getting to the quarterback, the offense was rolling, it looked like this was going to be a big year for Fresno State. They put together a very solid effort from start to finish. Probably the most complete game they played all year.
Which player(s) was the biggest surprise of the season?
I think running back Robbie Rouse did a great job this year. I know he dealt with injuries on and off this season but being a first year starter and trying to fill the shoes of All-American Ryan Mathews is a big task. I think he performed admirably this season.
What player(s) are you most looking forward to watching next year?
I'm looking forward to seeing Derek Carr as a first year starter in 2011 and I know I'm not alone in that. He has a tremendous amount of hype from the moment he was recruited, and signed, by Fresno State. He's going to have the pressure of the entire fan base along with the football program on his shoulders. Though that's asking a lot of him, I'm curious to see how he handles it.
He's going to have a brutal non-conference schedule next season to welcome him to Division-I football.
What area(s) does Fresno State need to improve on the most this off-season?
They need to improve their run defense. Though I guess you could say they need to improve their defense as a whole. To get absolutely run over by Ole Miss, Boise State, and Nevada on the ground is something that needs to be fixed. You can't have teams just run the ball down your throat without being able to put a stop to it.
If they can do that, I think they could be so much better than they were this past season.