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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Fresno State's Hill holds personal pep rally

By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer

FRESNO, Calif. Who's calling the 'dogs?

Well, Fresno State football coach Pat Hill for one.

Hill is imploring Bulldog fans to rally behind the team's 1-4 start and 1-8 slide since last year's USC game and forego the Fresno County Fair Saturday to show up for what he terms the "huge, huge game with Hawai'i."

At his press conference Monday, Hill stared into the television cameras and compared his team with a drowning swimmer.

"If you saw someone struggling in a pool, you'd jump in to save them," Hill said. "Right now we are struggling a little bit and we need our fans there to help us out."

Hill said, "Our football team team is 65 percent (San Joaquin) Valley kids. This is when we need 'em (fans). We're going through a real tough time right now. If there was a time when you need your fans, this is the time. This is a big, big game for us. That's what Fresno State football is about ... it is about a community bonding together. Now we really need our community."

The Bulldogs, who have averaged Bulldog Stadium capacity (41,031) through three home games, had 5,000 tickets remaining for Saturday's homecoming game as of late Monday, a spokesman said.

The forecast is for a high of 84 degrees for Saturday's 2 p.m. (Pacific time) kickoff.


Sean Norton, a third-year sophomore quarterback who has yet to play for the Bulldogs, could see action against the Warriors, Hill said.

While maintaining that Tom Brandstater, another redshirt sophomore, is still his starter despite a 51-percent completion average, Hill said, "I'm going to tell you what, Sean is on point now to be ready. We're gonna use him if we need to. Especially if we need a spark."

Norton, a 5-foot-11, 175-pounder who is described as a Doug Flutie-style player, led California high school quarterbacks with 4,067 yards and 44 touchdowns as a senior in 2003 at Hart (Valencia, Calif.) High, where he earned Parada All-America honors.

Hill said he has not decided to assign quarters or choose a specific situation for Norton but will "see how it goes" in employing the backup. Hill also said it is not definite Norton will play.

Reach Ferd Lewis at flewis@honoluluadvertiser.com.