It was the first practice for head coach Jeff Tedford since 2019, who's back for his second stint as head coach. He's not the only familiar face.
The Bulldogs return 14 starters on offense and defense, including quarterback Jake Haener and defensive end from Merced David Perales. Ten players are sixth-year seniors.
"The expectation is a New Years Six bowl game and a Mountain West Championship," Haener told the media Monday. "I'm sure there's a bunch of other teams saying that across the country but we definitely have the talent the skill and the returning core players that are experienced now. They're older and they're ready to take the next step as a program."
Incredible story from John Baxter who told @BriABC30 the origins of the Valley "V" & the endzone's checkerboard design. One of a dozen stories from Bax, Jethro Franklin & Kevin Coyle.— Stephen Hicks (@StephenABC30) March 21, 2022
RAW interview that includes some bits we had to cut for time found here: https://t.co/JqVF8wEFnB pic.twitter.com/4PKCJQ4vni
Tedford's staff is loaded with alumni and former coaches, including Kevin Coyle (defensive coordinator), Jethro Franklin (defensive line), J.D. Williams (defensive backs), John Baxter (tight ends/special teams coordinator) and Tim Skipper (linebackers).
RELATED: Baxter, Coyle & Franklin talk about returning to Fresno State
"I get to come to work every day and learn something, whether it's coach Bax or coach Franklin or Skip, even Coach Tedford," said running backs coach James Montgomery, a former player under Tedford at Cal, who joins the staff after a stop at Cal Poly. "For me being a young coach, it's invaluable to work with these guys every day who are a little bit later in their careers with so much knowledge. They probably have forgotten more ball than I know."
After day one, Tedford emphasized they're a long way from where they want to be but that it was a blessing to be back coaching inside Bulldog Stadium.
"To come down this ramp and be out here and finally be on the field with these guys is, it's special. It really is," he said.
"There's a lot of anxiety when you're trying to put things in and get things going and stuff like that, but you can't actually be out here to teach it so today was the first day we're allowed to teach it. I know we'll be sprinting up to that film to try to see the practice film so we can try to get better for the next day."
While practices are closed to the public, there will be a spring preview that's open to fans on April 30th. Time is still TBD.