After Ron Antoine left for Texas State and the Bulldogs parted ways with Joe Wade, Fresno had to fill a void on their coaching staff before National Signing Day. Earlier tonight, BarkBoard learned that the Bulldogs have done just that and the list of coaches added to this staff continues to grow in an impresive fashion.
Multiple sources have told BarkBoard that the new running backs coach will be Utah State's Dave Ungerer. Per his bio with the school, Ungerer has spent the last 28 years in coaching and the last three as the Aggies' special teams coordinator and running backs coach. The Aggie special teams have been among the nation's best in several key categories under Ungerer and he will likely be one of the principle people involved in trying to help the Bulldogs turn around their special teams play in 2016.
Over the past two years, Utah State’s special teams have been among the best in the country with five blocked kicks, while ranking second nationally in punt return defense (1.30 ypr) and fifth in kickoff return defense (17.58 ypr) in 2013 and 12th nationally in both punt return defense (3.45 ypr) and kickoff return defense (17.55 ypr) in 2014.
When it came to rushing the ball, the Aggies had three players rush for at least 450 yards in freshman LaJuan Hunt (540), senior Joe Hill (507) and Natson (498), marking just the second time in school history that feat has been accomplished. USU also went over 2,000 yards rushing collectively for the sixth-straight year under Ungerer as it finished the season with 2,521 yards on the ground.
Ungerer has coached at Utah State, Washington State, Oregon State, Alabama, Cal, Maryland, and Rutgers in his long coaching career. Now he can add the Bulldogs to that expansive list. For their part, it looks like Fresno is getting a guy who understands the fundamentals, can recruit, and gets the best out of his players on a consistent basis.
Since the end of the 2015 season, the Bulldog coaching staff has seen significant turnover. Offensive coordinator Dave Schramm was fired. Defensive coordinator Nick Toth was demoted. Running backs coach Ron Antoine took a job at Texas State. Offensive line coach Cameron Norcross left for Vanderbilt, defensive backs coach Marcus Woodson left for Memphis, and tight ends coach Phil Earley was shown the door, as well. That doesn't even count the guys they brought in to the staff.
In addition to the Ungerer news that we posted last week, we have also learned that Fresno St. will be hiring Burl Toler III as their new wide receivers coach. Toler III was a name we have been hearing for several weeks now, but the two sides were just in the feeling out processes.Though the deal has not yet been finalized and the two sides are still working through negotiations, multiple sources have indicated that it's a matter of time before the two reach an agreement and Toler becomes the new WR coach for the Bulldogs.
Some Bay Area fans may remember Toler III from his time at Cal in the early 2000's. Toler III was one of Aaron Rodgers' favorite targets in 2003, catching 48 different passes for 609 yards and three scores. Injuries took away his senior season, but Toler III remained committed to the Cal family and eventually joined the staff as a Special Teams Quality Control Assistant.
Toler III also comes from rich stock. His father played at Cal and his grandfather was the NFL's first African-American referee. His ties to the Bay Area community run deep and the Toler III name means something around these parts. His grandfather played at the University of San Francisco and was a first-round draft choice by the Cleveland Browns. After an injury took away his playing days, Toler Sr. would break the color barrier as an NFL referee, where he would work for the next 25 years.
For his part, Toler III has already begun learning his craft and this move represents the next phase in his progression. Toler III is fully comfortable on the recruiting trail aand has been since April of '15, when Cal HC Sonny Dykes decided that Toler III's skills would be best applied on the recruiting trail since he could relate to the kids so well. Toler III dedicated himself to learning the coaching position and now it appears to have paid off with a move to Fresno St.
As of yet, there is no official word from Fresno State on these hirings. BarkBoard will continue to update you as we hear more. As always, be sure to subscribe for all of the very latest in breaking news on your Fresno State Bulldogs.