Therrian Fontenot was one of my favorite Bulldogs. I always felt he got a raw deal at Fresno State. The fact that he made an NFL roster as undrafted free agent made me think how in the hell did this guy ride the bench for 4 years? He was a member of the Green Bay Packers practice squad for the first 16 weeks of the season in 2005, but did play in season finale against Seattle. Fontenot will be in uniform this weekend, as a member of the Rhein Fire, when NFL Europe officially kicks off it 14th season.
Fontenot had incredible speed. I believe he is the only player Hill has been able to recruit with sub 4.4 speed. He was recruited as a tailback but sat out 2000 as a non-qualifier. He made his debut in 2001 against Colorado and was back up to Paris Gaines all year. He got hurt in the 2002 preseason, after he was slated to battle for starting tailback position. Fontenot was never really able to adjust to being a college tailback. He relied too much on his speed, instead of his blockers. Rodney Davis and Bryson Sumlin established themselves as the go-to running backs in 2002 and the signing of JC standout Dwayne Wright all but signaled the end for Fontenot to get significant playing time in 2003.
I always felt Fontenot could have been the "Clifton Smith" of 2003 and 2004. He was quick, extremely fast and could play the H-back/slot position, but instead he was switched to cornerback. The 2002 secondary was young and got beat repeatedly all year. The 2003 season looked better with the return of Kendell Edwards and Fontenot making the switch to defense. But, Fontenot could never shake the injury bug, but more importantly he could not beat out hotshot redshirt freshmen Richard Marshall and Marcus McCauley. At the time I thought Fontenot got a raw deal, but after seeing M & M develop into potential NFL first round picks, I guess I was mistaken.
As fans we tend to second guess coaching decisions, especially during slumps and disappointing seasons, but we must support whatever decision coaches make. Pat Hill is either loved or hated, there are few far between, but the fact remains his program is well-respected nationally both on a college and pro level. I make this statement this spring because Bulldog fans were really down about last years 4 game losing streak, and many expect major changes this year.
For instance, the linebacking corps was abysmal the final four games, mainly due to the fact Marcus Riley got injured against USC and was lost for the season. Bulldog fans expect rFr. Isaac Kinter and the incoming fall recruits to make a big splash and have a shot to start. If it doesn't happen it is not because Hill has beef against anyone or he doesn't feel freshman should be given a shot. I have, more often than not, blasted the coaching for losses and I will continue to do so because Hill has stated that he is responsible.
The better team wins and five times last year, Fresno State was not the better team for whatever reason. It is all about execution and coaching. The offensive coaching staff has gotten an overhaul, but not by choice. I still think defensively the coaching staff is lacking, per se, but I will not make any more assumptions until September 1 against Nevada.