Fresno State began day two of fall camp with media day. The Bulldog stars were up bright and early and out at Bulldog Stadium as early as 6:00 a.m. to give reporters the latest on what to expect from the 2010 season. Several media representatives came out from local radio and television stations and internet websites and blogs as well. The Fresno State cheer and dance team were out practicing along with Timeout and the live bulldog mascot to give everyone a game day feel. The players wrapped up the event with a photo shoot on the field.
As the top veterans ended their time for media day, the newcomers were getting to business on the practice field for the last practice in shells. Once again, the units gathered early to practice a few 11-on-11 scenarios.
Greg Watson started the first drive and could not connect on the first pass, but converted on the first down on a pass to Josh Harper. Kelly O’Brien took the second drive, but failed to complete either of the two passes.
The units broke off to their individual drills, but today the offense spent a large amount of time practicing plays and getting comfortable with the playbook. The offense expanded on their “Tiger” (Wildcat) formation using both Isaiah Burse and Emery Schexnayder, aka “E.J.” taking snaps.
Coaches introduced new plays to add on to the read option, including sweep runs and even pass plays. The defense, meanwhile, continued their work on agility and basic coverage.
In one-on-one drills, the receivers showed flashes of what’s to come with some highlight plays.
Isaiah Burse connected on two passes getting past the defensive backs, one of them being a catch above his head as he turned just in time to see the ball. Jalen Saunders also made a pair of big plays, including coming down with a jump ball in his 5-foot-10 frame, and Victor Dean made an over the shoulder catch look easy grabbing it with just one hand. Edward Dillihunt came up highlight play on defense. While Alex Jefferies waited for the ball to drop into his hands, Dillihunt grabbed it just from his reach to get the interception.
Dillihunt's INT and WR/DB 1on1's -- Watch Video
Kelly O’Brien led the offense in seven-on-seven connecting on three of his first four pass attempts for 53 yards, but it ended on a sour note, as redshirt sophomore linebacker Mario Moore made a read that made O’Brien’s pass looked like it was thrown right to him.
Moore during Friday’s
Photo by Mario Gomez
“The receiver was running straight up the field, so I know I got to get back inside,” said Moore about the play. “I got back inside and the quarterback threw it right to me.”
Greg Watson got off to a slow start in his snaps, starting one of four, but completed his last pass to Josh Harper for a 40-yard touchdown. Victor Dean had two catches for 31 yards.
Once the veterans took the field, the coaches once again put the emphasis on special teams with a series of drills. Volleyballs were used to practice blocking punts, as players spiked them back at the punter. The units also worked on coverage for both sides of the ball on punts.
The veterans took over after special teams and continued with the same routine given to the newcomers. They also worked on the Tiger formation, working with Rashad Evans and Michael Harris taking snaps. Practicing with the veterans for his first day was UCLA transfer Milton Knox, who has a similar frame to Robbie Rouse, standing at 5-foot-8.
Knox on the practice field
Photo by Mario Gomez
On defense, taking first team reps on the defensive line were ends Chris Carter and Chris Lewis, and at the tackle positions, were Cornell Banks and Logan Harrell. Taking second team reps were, at the ends Donnie Pritchett and Nat Harrison, and at the tackle positions Anthony Williams and Mark Roberts. Linebackers who did not receive significant playing time last year that are working with the veterans include Pat Su’a, Jeremiah Toma, and Sonny McCree.
In one-on-one drills, the corners showed better coverage as they contained most plays. The defensive coaches have made it priority to finish each play in the drill with either an interception, or forcing a fumble, to increase takeaways for the defense in the 2010 season. Unlike the newcomers, the veteran receivers did not have to worry about their passes, as Ryan Colburn and Derek Carr zipped each one giving the receivers a chance to make a play.
The players will be dressing out in half pads for the first time for Saturday’s practice, and will also be working on third down scenarios.
Following practice, Coach Pat Hill held his press conference for media day.
August 6 Media Day Press Conference – Listen to Audio
Hill told the media that the defense was where the team needed to improve most, particularly at covering the spread option. Other topics included were team eating habits and the seven-game home schedule that will result in less travel. With Matt Darr not joining the ‘Dogs, Hill said the team will use some unconventional punting and possibly going for a few more fourth down conversions.
Practice News & Notes
Offensive lineman Cody Wichmann was in pads today and participated in practice.
Receiver Davon Dunn is still uncleared, but was in attendance.
Injured players Andy Jennings and Cris Wilson worked independently from practice.
Kicker Andrew Shapiro has been practicing as the team’s new kick holder.
Former ‘Dogs Jon Monga and Dwayne Andrews attended practice.
Ibe Nduka took first team snaps at fullback for the newcomers.
David Gory took first team snaps at tight end for the new comers.
Isaiah Burse worked with the returns unit, in place of Derron Smith.
Bakersfield (Calif.) West DB Fred Wilson visited practice. His father Fred Wilson III played at Fresno State in the mid 80s.
Fresno (Calif.) Central 2012 prospects QB Mike Baker and CB Tee Shepard also visited practice.
Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West DE Donavon Lewis was at practice for the second consecutive day.
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