With less than two weeks before the Fresno State Bulldogs' first game of the season on Aug. 28 against the UCONN Huskies, we will continue to look at the players who will be big contributors.
Under center for the Bulldogs for a second-straight season will be senior quarterback Jake Haener. Haener, who transferred to Fresno State from the University of Washington in 2019, is feeling confident entering the new season.
Haener said that he just works every day to lead the team the best that he can to win games.
“They see how hard I work and how bad I want it. I think they trust me to lead them in the right direction and put the team first,” Haener said. “Having a full offseason with the team and allowing them to see I want what is best for this program. I want us to win games and I am going to do everything I can to get the ball where it needs to go.”
Haener started all six games for the Bulldogs in 2020, throwing for 2021 yards and 14 touchdowns. He led the Bulldogs to a 3-3 record and was named an All-Mountain West Honorable mention. He was fourth in the country averaging 336 yards per game.
He said that the limited schedule last season really helped the development with his receivers.
“It was very big for our relationships, and we have been able to build in the spring and now,” Haener said. “To be able to play with them and understand their strengths and to get them the ball where they can make plays is what I am going with.”
One of the receivers that Haener has built a relationship with is sophomore Josh Kelly.
“When Jake first came in, we clicked right away. Him trusting me to get the ball in certain situations that is big for both of us,” Kelly said. “Our relationship has grown. Jake is my guy.”
Kalen DeBoer, Fresno State head coach, said he sees the growth that Haener has made with more repetitions leading the offense.
“He is becoming so savvy on the looks he is seeing and knowing how he can take advantage of it with the calls that are built in. If that call is not built in and there is a better play that is a golden moment for him to hit a big one, he doesn’t think twice. He can get his guys in the right spot with a signal.”
Fresno State held its second and final scrimmage of fall camp on Aug. 14 inside Bulldog Stadium. The Bulldogs ran 85 plays.
"It wasn't just today, but the last few practices, we had become much more physical," Coach DeBoer said. "We had three days this week where we wore full pads – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Today, I think it showed. I think our tackling was the best it has been. You can hear a good practice. If you just sit back there and close your eyes, you can hear whether it's a physical practice or not. I thought today was the most physical day we have had. I liked the energy that we brought as well, and that was a point that I challenged the guys with. I am happy. The guys had fun out there, you can see the guys coming together. You can see the focus to do some special things."
Single game tickets are now on sale and can be purchased by going to GoBulldogs.com. Stay tuned for more profiles and updates.