BarkBoard's Former Fresno State Bulldogs Series: Erick Kroll Sr.

Former Fresno State running back Erick Kroll of the early 1990's discusses his memories at Fresno State, what he thinks of the new coaching hires and breaks down the recruiting process of his son, Erick Kroll Jr., who he hopes will be a Bulldog as well.

Q: You’re going through the recruiting process again with your son, Erick Kroll Jr, what has it been like at how has it changed?

A: It goes by so fast. The four years we’ve been here at North, it goes by quickly. The recruiting experience is interesting. You find out a lot of stuff about what schools are looking for, what they aren’t looking for, how to make your social media pop. Going from 7-on-7 to camps to junior days, it’s just a lot of stuff going on that you're working to get your children to get themselves in front of coaches. It’s a long process, obviously it’s not over for us. We’re still looking at some good possibilities.

Q: What would it mean for him to go to Fresno State?

A: Both me and my wife graduated from Fresno State. I got put on scholarship after a year and a half there. It would be a big deal. Part of the whole thing with him wearing No. 42 is it’s the number I wore at State. I’m hoping he’ll get the chance of wearing it there as well. They really helped me out and I’m hoping they’ll do the same thing for him and we’re right around the corner. It would be a really good thing for him to stay in town.

Q: We’ve heard criticisms from fans about the previous coaches not focusing on the Central Valley - What’s been your experience as someone who has actually experienced it?

A: The previous staff was here, to be honest, they didn’t know who he was. Obviously North went through some coaching changes at the head coach position. As far as recruiting wise, we went there and they treated us well, they came out to one of his games, so I can’t say we got absolutely nothing out of it. But I know some of his friends from Edison that ended up at UNLV, and some other places, who were a little disappointed they didn’t get more action. I’m hoping, Coach Tedford used to be a coach when I was at Fresno State, Jamie Christian and J.D. Williams, I’m hoping with this new group coming in that it will be a little easier for some of the ex-Bulldog dads who have sons that are coming out to get a good look to stay in town. I know Rodney Wright’s son is an up-and-comer. Me and Rodney go way back. Ron Rivers, I used to play with him. There’s a lot of ex-Bulldog dads that are pretty satisfied with Tedford coming in and some of the other staff coming in with him.

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Q: What can you tell me about the new coaches coming in?

A: J.D. was a senior here when I first came in and was like a big brother to me. Jamie Christian was a fellow running back and me and him have been good friends for a long time. When we took out junior day invite to UNLV they treated us great, brought us up to the offices, kind of talked with us and gave us an idea of what’s going on and where we are at. It’s good to be able to pick up the phone and call a coach and get a fair assessment of where you’re child is and find out what’s going on on the inside. I’m pleased with it. Jamie and J.D. have always been big-time recruiters, that’s why they pulled three kids out of the Valley to UNLV. It makes sense to bring those two guys in.

Q: What’s your favorite memory as a Bulldog?

Best, favorite memory was when we beat USC for the first time in the Freedom Bowl down in Anaheim. That was one of the most epic things ever that I’ve been apart of. When I played we won a lot of big games, it was kind of like the beginning of Fresno State’s ascension into we’ll play anybody anywhere. We’re kind of the starters with old boss-man Sweeney at the helm… I’m hoping we can get this rolling for another five years and give [Tedford] and opportunity to show what being Bulldog born and Bulldog bred is all about.

Q: What was your experience with Jeff Tedford?

A: He was the offensive coordinator, so besides him yelling at me about certain plays - we had some good running backs back then. Lorenzo Neal is still a friend of mine. I played with Myron Jones, Aaron Craver, some of those guys. There’s a reason why the school was successful, because Coach Sweeney put guys like Coach Tedford there, Coach Mooshagian, Kelly Skipper was there - I’m probably forgetting some… All those guys were good players and now have made good coaches. That’s what I want him to be a part of.

Q: Do you have a good Jim Sweeney story you can share?

So many about him. I know the day the season ended my second year - the walk-ons have to walk into his office and find out if he’s going to put you on scholarship or not. I thought that was going to be the longest day of my life. He said, “Kroll, how you doing?” I said, “Good coach.” Before I could get the words out of my mouth to find out what’s going to happen, he said, “You’re on scholarship, get out of my office.” And that was it. That man took care of me. He didn’t let too many people mess with me except for himself. It was very cool to be a part of that… A lot of the old, crazy sayings he would say, we still repeat them to this day. “Knee-benders are jawbreakers” and stuff like that. It was something special to be apart of, I felt at home immediately.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

A: Tedford, it you’re watching this, pick the boy up, he’s ready to roll.

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