The 2012 football season has been a good one for the Fresno State Bulldogs. With one game remaining in the regular season, Fresno finds itself atop the standings in the Mountain West Conference. In only their first season in the MW, the Bulldogs (8-3 Overall, 6-1 MW) are in position to claim the conference title and extend their 2012 campaign into the post season.
Pitman High alum Quentin Breshears has witnessed Fresno’s success firsthand, from the sideline and from inside the huddle as the Bulldogs’ starting kicker. After redshirting his freshman year, Breshears has helped his team reach its first place status with a strong leg and an even stronger mental grasp of his responsibilities.
“We’re really excited because we’re playing good football,” Breshears said of his Bulldogs. “Our morale is high, especially after that Nevada game. We know if we take care of business against Air Force we’ll be Mountain West Conference champs.”
It wasn’t long ago — two short years to be exact — when Breshears was just another teenaged Turlocker, attending classes, hanging out with friends, and getting ready for Friday night football games with the Pride. After graduating from Pitman in 2011, Breshears found himself being recruited by Coach Pat Hill and joining Fresno State’s football program; an achievement years in the making.
Breshears spent his first year at Fresno in the weight room, meeting rooms, and out on the practice field where he learned what it took to transition from high school to collegiate athletics.
“That first year allowed me to not rush myself. If I had a bad practice I wouldn’t have to worry about fixing it by game time, I could just accept it and learn to move on,” Breshears said. “I’ve been able to conceptualize a lot of things now. I’ve always understood kicking but when I got to Fresno I was able to really think about the team and develop mentally.”
Just as Breshears was getting into the groove of things he, along with the rest of the team, were dealt a surprising change. Hill and his coaching staff were let go and replaced with former Texas A&M coach Tim DeRuyter. With those who had recruited him gone, Breshears was a little uncertain about his future.
“Before I could get on the field they brought in a new coaching staff so I was anxious to see how it would all play out,” Breshears said. “It was chaotic for me because it was my first year, I wasn’t used to everything and the stability wasn’t there. It’s kind of different with the new coaches at first, but overall nothing’s really changed much.”
Save for summer competition with Washington State transfer Blake Dunn, Breshear’s spot as Fresno’s number one kicker was unchanged by the new coaching staff.
“During the summer it was stressful because you always want to be the one but they said I’m the guy and to keep doing what I’m doing,” Breshears said. “Once I accomplished my goal it was so relieving. I was able to focus on the task at hand instead of battling for a spot.”
With the ability to take a breath and relax, Breshears embarked on his first year as a college starter, getting the chance to show off his skills in the first game of the season against Weber State. The Turlock transplant was called upon to make five extra points in addition to a second quarter, 39 yard field goal. Breshears nailed all six kicks.
“That first game was crazy,” Breshears recalled. “When that time came it was a surreal moment; you can’t anticipate that feeling. I didn’t feel nervous at the time but looking back I wasn’t as calm as I am now.”
Breshear’s shining moment came the very next game against the top ranked Oregon Ducks. Breshears made a total of four field goals, the first from 39 yards, the second from 43 yards, the third from 25 yards, and the fourth from 37 yards. Although Fresno came up short against Oregon, Breshears was rewarded for his efforts by being named the Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Week, becoming the first Bulldogs to receive the honor.
“It was a big surprise. I was just going out there and trying to help my team win,” Breshears said. “I was pretty disappointed with the loss but the award gave me confidence and allowed me to relax. I realized I didn’t have to put so much pressure on myself, I just had to go out there and kick.”
“Now when I go out there I feel like it’s just another kick and that I should make the kick every time,” Breshears added.
Since then, Breshears has continued to kick with accuracy. He’s currently made nine out of his 12 attempted field goals with his longest coming from 43 yards.
Though he is happy with his progress Breshears is by no means content. His plans include a continuous effort to improve his skills as a kicker and teammate and his primary focus is how he can help contribute to his team’s success. When asked about his future as a kicker, Breshears is hesitant to look beyond this season and his new home at Fresno.
“I don’t think too far down the road about playing in the pros or anything,” Breshears said. “Those guys are so good and I think it would be arrogant to say I’m going to make it to the NFL. I’m just trying to be the best I can be at Fresno State.”
For now, the support of family and friends is enough to keep the former Pitman kicker going.
“I get to play football and go to school and it’s not too far from home,” Breshears said. “My family loves and supports me and it’s great to see them at the games. They remind me where I came from and keep me from getting in over my head.”
Breshears can be seen on the field during Fresno’s home game against Air Force on Nov. 24.