It was neither amazing nor aw inspiring, but it was productive.
In all, it was much like the rest of spring: practical, beneficial, but very ordinary.
Many had hoped for an actual spring game, where Fresno State head coach Pat Hill would elect two team captains and draft teams. However, Hill says they didn’t have enough players to play an actual game. Overall, Hill says he was pleased with how the spring went.
“I thought we made great strides and built a really strong foundation for fall camp,” said Hill. “I look forward to coaching this team. This team is high energy, they got good chemistry, and we got a great home schedule for our fans.”
Granted there were a few oohs and awes on Saturday afternoon such as Derek Carr’s first pass, which he lofted effortlessly in the hands of tight end Ryan Skidmore for a 38-yard gain – the longest pass play of the day. And walk-on safety Justin Webber laid a licking on an unsuspecting Jevon Stallworth as he attempted to haul in a pass from Ryan Colburn.
But the biggest performer of the day was senior wide receiver Devon Wylie, who finished with a scrimmage high seven receptions for 74 yards with three touchdowns.
“I felt the intensity and the rhythm was really fast,” said Wylie. “I felt a little tired but when were down in the compete zone that’s where one play can make a huge difference. That’s the end zone, that’s where you have to make a play.”
That’s exactly what he did notching all three of his touchdowns in the compete zone.
The first came in a sustained 80-yard drive highlighted by a 48-yard run by Robbie Rouse that set up the offense inside the 15. Moments later, Colburn hit Wylie over the middle in the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown. His final two touchdowns came in compete-zone drives, which started at the 25-yard line. In each, he beat the defender by at least three yards on 16 and 15-yard scoring strikes from Carr.
Colburn completed 14-of-22 passes for 99 yards with one touchdown and an interception. Carr was 8-of-12 for 91 yards with two touchdowns. Junior Jamel Hamler recorded three catches for 16 yards. Sophomore Rashad Evans had two receptions for 14 yards. Skidmore finished with just the one reception for 38 yards while sophomore Matt Lindsey had two for 19 yards.
Rouse carried the ball only three times. His first carry was the aforementioned 48-yard scamper. His second was a 24-yard run in the compete-zone portion of the scrimmage to the six-inch line. He would punch it in on the next play to finish with 73 yards and the score.
Defensively, no one had a bigger day than freshman cornerback L.J. Jones. Before the offense could get on the board, he intercepted Colburn and returned it 24 yards untouched for a touchdown. Later, in the compete-zone portion, he negated Carr from a third touchdown pass breaking up a perfect strike to A.J. Johnson on a post pattern.
“I haven’t seen a guy make a play like that since I’ve been here,” Carr said of Jones’ pass breakup. “That’s saying a lot for young guy. That ball 9 times out of 10 since I’ve been here has been completed.”
Sophomore running back Michael Harris got the scoring going with an 18-yard touchdown run down the far sideline on 3rd-and-4. It came three plays after the offense took over at the 24-yard line following Jones’ interception. Harris finished with 22 yards on four carries. Fellow sophomore A.J. Ellis carried a scrimmage-high six times for 16 yards.
Kevin Goessling was 2-of-3 on field goals. He missed his first attempt of 36-yards – the ball hit the upright – after Carr drove the offense down the field during the “two-minute” offense portion of the scrimmage. Goessling made his next two attempts of 30 and 37 yards.
Scrimmage News & Notes
As it has been the case all spring, Fresno State started with a three-receiver offensive set minus a fullback. The starting offense was as follows: QB Ryan Colburn, RB Robbie Rouse, WR Jamel Hamler, WR Devon Wylie, WR Rashad Evans, TE Vince Pascoe, LT Bryce Harris, LG Devan Cunningham, C Joe Bernardi, RG Andrew Jackson, and RT Kenny Wiggins.
*all stats are unofficial
Defensively, the Bulldogs started with their base 4-3. However, unlike the last scrimmage, Jermaine Thomas got the start at corner in place of Isaiah Green. The starting defense was as follows; WDE Chris Carter, NT Cornell Banks, DT Logan Harrell, SDE Chris Lewis, WLB Kyle Knox, MLB Ben Jacobs, SLB Travis Brown, CB Desia Dunn, CB Jermaine Thomas, SS Phillip Thomas, and FS Lorne Bell. When the defense switched to its 4-2-5 look, P. Thomas shifted to SLB/SS and Zak Hill came in as the third safety.
Carter notched one unofficial sack. He beat Harris around the edge and had a clear path to Colburn, the whistle was blown as he let up before touching Colburn. Backup DT Mark Roberts also recorded one.
Freshman Nat Harrison has moved ahead of Matt Akers in the rotation. He took second team reps behind Carter at WDE.
Sophomore C Richard Helepiko and junior G Leslie Cooper continued to take reps with the modified first team offense. Cooper has emerged as the swing guard with the ability to play both sides, and he should see valuable playing time this season.
There was one bad quarterback-center exchange by third team freshman C Lars Bramer.
Penalties were also minimal. The biggest being pass interference called on safety Justin Webber.
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