‘Dogs Kick Off Camp with Media Day

Tristan Okpalaugo sat out spring, returns for camp

A new era of Fresno State football is the theme as the Bulldogs began fall camp on Thursday with head coach Tim DeRuyter and various players talking with the media on media day. FS returns 37 lettermen as the ‘Dogs will hit the field on Friday for their practice…

"We are excited about new challenge starting tomorrow," head coach Tim DeRuyter said Thursday at media day.

"There's definitely different air in the building with our players back in full force anticipation going in the Mountain West. We know its going to be a tremendous challenge, and I think that was a part of a reason our guys were driven this summer." Fall camp will have entirely new look in 2012. Too bad no one will be there to witness it.

All practices will be closed will be closed to the public and media, save the August 11 scrimmage. In the previous seasons, under former head coach Pat Hill, the first week of practices were usually open to the public and closed after the first scrimmage.

But new head coach Tim DeRuyter has a new approach.

"With social media being easily used, people come to practice, they take pictures, I don't think they're trying to be ill intentioned…you don't want your schemes getting out there," said DeRuyter. "Secondly, with all the new players we have right now, I don't want the distraction, because some of those guys have to come in and compete for a job. "We want to have a very focused camp. We got a lot of work to do. The rest of the time, I want this to be a very much workmanlike camp atmosphere."

Fresno State will have 18 new faces in camp, including 16 true freshmen. But don't expect too much feedback from the newcomers. They, along with the redshirt freshmen, will not be allowed to speak with the media until after they have played in their first game, per team rules.

"With the newcomers coming in, I want them focusing more on learning our schemes and learning how we play, and not worrying about talking to the media the right way and things getting out there," added DeRuyter.

However, six redshirt freshmen are on the two-deep heading into camp, and getting feedback from the incoming players was always intriguing as they adjusted to the grind of college football.

Fast, Physical, Fanatical

If the Tim DeRuyter brand of Bulldog football needed a catch phrase, "Fast, Physical, Fanatical" is a no brainer.

"We got to firmly establish how we play," said DeRuyter. "We've talked since been here about being fast, physical, and fanatical. And we got to demand that from our players." The 2012 Bulldogs will play fast.

"Is a reference how we are going to play on offense," said DeRuyter. "Similarly, defensively, we are going to attack people."

They will be physical.

"Fresno State has always had a very physical identity. We are going to continue to be a very physical team."

Above all, especially on defense, they will be fanatical.

"There's a sense of how you play on defense that you just can't line up and go through the emotions. You got to play like this play your life depends on it."

Incoming Players and Injury Report

Everyone that sat out spring is cleared for fall camp, including returning starters Travis Brown, Matthew Hunt, L.J. Jones, and Tristan Okpalaugo. Only redshirt freshman Todd Hunt, who worked with first team defense in the spring, is not cleared. Hunt, who injured his knee during spring practice, is not expected to be available to late September at the earliest.

The lone NCAA Clearinghouse casualty is Jerry Smith. DeRuyter said Smith will not report to camp. A handful of others are still awaiting clearance but DeRuyter didn't specify which players are on the brink.

Fall Camp Snapshot

Returning Starters: 15
Returning Lettermen: 37
Returning Squadmen: 21
Returning Redshirts: 14
Newcomers: 19

First Practice: Aug. 3
Open Scrimmage: Aug. 11
Second Scrimmage: Aug. 17
Final Scrimmage: Aug. 21 (end of camp)

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