Wednesday Practice Report

Cornell Banks

News and notes from Wednesday's practice as Fresno State prepares for its matchup with old rival Cal Poly…

Fresno State continued prep for Saturday night's matchup with Cal Poly on Wednesday afternoon. Coach Pat Hill says scout team quarterback Tyler Stirewalt is giving the Bulldog defense some quality looks as an option quarterback simulating the Mustangs' triple option attack. Fresno State has not faced a triple option offense since defeating Rice, 52-14, in 2004.

Injury Update

The Bulldogs continue to be without starters Devon Wylie and Andrew Jackson. As well, A.J. Ellis and Pat Sua will miss this weekend's game with the Mustangs.

Jamel Hamler and Rashad Evans are probable for this week. Coach Hill says their injuries are not ones to keep them out an extended length of time. Robbie Rouse, however, is taking first team reps, and he is expected to start on Saturday. Hill noted during Monday's press conference that Rouse was still hobbled by a high ankle sprain suffered during training camp.

Stepping Up

With Ellis out, Tracy Slocum and Michael Harris will share time at running back this week behind Rouse. But if Rouse proves to be ineffective, Slocum and Harris could get plenty of chances to carry the rock.

Hill says establishing the run game will be priority this week.

The possibility of the Bulldogs being without its top three wideouts is viable. Matt Lindsey recorded the first FS 100-yard receiving game this season last week at Ole Miss. Along with A.J. Johnson and Jevon Stallworth and true freshmen Jalen Saunders and Isaiah Burse, FS is working with five healthy scholarship receivers not including those currently redshirting (Victor Dean, Davon Dunn, Josh Harper, and Alex Jefferies).

"Isaiah Burse, Jalen Saunders, and A.J. Johnson all played well against Ole Miss and they'll get a lot more playing time this week against Cal Poly," said Hill. "Hopefully, will get Rashad Evans and Jamel Hamler back this week."

Defense Bouncing Back

"We got to stick our gaps, listen to the game plan, stop the dive, and we'll be fine," nose tackle Cornell Banks said about the matchup with the Mustangs.

The defense will be under a microscope this week after giving up nearly 600 yards of total offense to Ole Miss. Unlike the Rebels, Cal Poly doesn't posses the same speed and size. However, they are a disciplined and well-coached ball club. Fresno State cannot play carelessly against this type of offense.

The Mustangs will line up in a double-wing attack that utilizes the dive play effectively. Banks says the dive will be one of the main keys the Bulldogs are looking to stop. Cal Poly will be starting four new offensive linemen this week because of injuries. Banks says they haven't seen much on the new o-linemen, but the defensive line understands what the Mustang offensive line will try to accomplish – cut blocking.

More importantly, for the defense, is their mindset after following behind by a large margin at Ole Miss before losing by 17 points.

"We felt what a loss tastes like, we don't like that taste," said Banks. "It was easy to get ready for this week."

Mr. INT

Phillip Thomas recorded the Bulldogs first interception of the 2010 season last week against Ole Miss. It is his third interception of his career – his first two came last season at Illinois. Not only is it the most by a current Bulldog, it's the most career interceptions by any Bulldog since Marcus McCauley (2003-06) recorded four during his career.

"I want more, I'm always striving to get more," Thomas said of picking off opposing quarterbacks. "I'm trying to get picks, but that's not my main focus. My main focus is to win and play team defense. But when the play comes to me, I want it."

Home Sweet Home

Starting with Cal Poly, this will be the start of the first three-game home stand for any of the current players on the team. The last time Fresno State played three consecutive home games was in 2002, prior to that was in 1996.

"It feels lovely, I've never had three-game stand at home before," said Banks. "It's great to play in front of our fans."

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