Dean's 2012 campaign started on a sour note, having to sit out of the Bulldogs' season opener versus Weber State serving a one-game suspension. It set-back Dean as reps were hard to come by in the strong receivers unit. In the next three games, Dean caught four passes, two of which came in the second half against Colorado, alongside several reserve players. When Dean failed to get a reception at Tulsa, he felt he had something to prove.
"It's kind of a mindset; either you're going to do it or not," said Dean. "I think that's what it came down to. I got tired of everybody looking at me like I didn't want to work hard. Like everybody wants to be that guy but not everybody wants to put the work in. So I just tried to work my best and that I'm out here for the team."
"He's still not where we want him to be, but his work ethic in practice has been much improved for the last three or four weeks," said Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter. "Victor didn't like being a back-up, so he's worked hard. Now he's had his opportunities and has done some good things."
Dean earned a bigger role in the receiver rotation and an injury to Josh Harper opened the door for Dean to get his first start of the season at Boise State.
"I just wanted to come out there and do my job, just execute and do what the coaches ask of me," said Dean. "I just wanted to show the coaches I knew what I was doing."
Dean took advantage of his opportunity, hauling in seven receptions for 68 yards, which led the receivers unit and was two receptions short of running back Robbie Rouse's nine catches. Dean's seven catches more than doubled his previous single-game best of three. He explains how his starting role allowed him to get into a better rhythm against Boise State compared to being rotated in previous games.
"Definitely, I think as a wide receiver you can't just come in cold and really go full speed," Dean explained. "You expect to go full speed every play no matter what, but when you can get into rhythm and get the timing down with the quarterback early, it's a lot easier to get the rhythm of the game and get a feel for the [defensive backs]. That definitely helps getting started early; it's definitely a benefit."
Coach DeRuyter liked what he saw from Dean, but feels there is still areas of improvement that need to be addressed.
"Victor's improving" said DeRuyter. "We still have to get him more consistent in blocking although he made some good blocks on Saturday. We just have to get him more consistent running routes."
Dean also explained that he has to get more comfortable in the open field.
"In the red zone, that's kind of a given for me, somebody with my height," Dean said. "But in the open field I can run, I just need to trust my speed a little more and start making plays."
Dean hopes to earn another start against Wyoming, but that could depend on the health of Harper.
"We haven't talked about it too much," Dean said, "But in my head, I'm just thinking to win my one-on-one match-ups and give Derek [Carr] an easy target to throw to."
After watching film on Wyoming, Dean is confident about their match-up against the Cowboy's secondary.
"They run a lot of cover 4, and to the boundary they play one-on-one man. Personally, I hope they run that man-on-man and we're going to have a lot of open shots down the field – that's what I'm anticipating. It should be a lot of passing yards up there I'm thinking, not just for me but for all the receivers."
The Fresno State offense would warmly welcome some open looks downfield this Saturday. In the previous two games, the Bulldogs' have struggled to execute the deep pass, with the offense's longest play being a 32-yard gain, caught by Dean at Boise State.
"We always look forward to taking some shots downfield," Dean said. "Personally, when we play our game, I don't think there's too many defensive units that can keep up with our wide-outs. It's all about executing."
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