Fresno State concludes spring football with practices on Thursday and Friday followed by the Spring Game on Sunday, March 25 at noon.
As the 15-practice session winds down, head coach Tim DeRuyter has some expectations for his ball club. The transition under a new coaching staff is enough to endure for a team let alone a new offensive and defensive scheme. But if the players can get down the basics, they should be able to continue developing through the offseason.
“We want to have both sides of the ball, where they are confident in what they are doing so they are playing fast,” said DeRuyter. “We are still not there offensively; our guys are still second guessing themselves a little bit, which is slowing us down. But if we can get them where they can go into the offseason on their own and run fast, that’s where we want to be at the end of this thing.”
The offense, however, did play much better on Tuesday compared to Saturday’s subpar performance.
“I was happy that our offense responded better – in perfect weather conditions, we didn’t have that excuse,” DeRuyter referenced in regards to the rain that hampered the offense in the scrimmage.
Nonetheless, the offense is still a work in progress. It is at its best when it can play fast.
“We are still not on where we need to be on a timing and tempo standpoint,” DeRuyter added.
Part of the reason for the lack of speed is the constant movement of players. Receivers are moving around, offensive linemen are rotating, and starting running back Robbie Rouse takes limited reps.
Defensively, with Todd Hunt out indefinitely with a knee injury suffered on Saturday, Nikko Motta saw first team action. The rush linebacker position continues to fluctuate with Donavon Lewis back with the first team this week after Nat Harrison spent the last two weeks with the unit. And Travis Brown could move there once he is cleared from his injury in the next few months.
“We’ll have a post spring depth chart but there are very few jobs that are secure right now,” said DeRuyter.
“We still will have some open competition come this fall and we got some guys coming that could be in the mix especially at the offensive line and possibly in the secondary.”
One secondary player has moved back to offense as senior Michael Harris saw his first action at running back this spring.
“We were thin in the secondary and we wanted to give him a shot back there,” said DeRuyter. “When Muck [Milton Knox] went down, we didn’t think he would practice today because he got dinged up over the weekend [so we moved Harris]. Let’s get him involved in the offense, and he was a good force in there today. I thought he had a couple of tough runs. In an emergency, he could move back to safety but he will be a special teams player for us and definitely give us depth at running back.”
Spring Game Draft
“We are going to do that Friday during our meetings,” said DeRuyter. “We will divide the seniors up and let those guys draft the rest of the team. We will do it by position, where one side takes the first running back and the second back and forth. We will try to keep it as even as we can. We will be a little bit of generic on defense, we anticipate it will be a little bit sloppy but guys will have fun competing.”
While the reward for winning team hasn’t been determined, DeRuyter says there will be a prize and a consequence for the loser.
For more coverage from Tuesday’s practice, including the latest news, notes, and stats visit the Doghouse Forum.
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