On Monday, Fresno State practiced in full pads. The team was able to work on the run game in live scenarios for the first time. Coach Pat Hill and some of the veterans had to set the tone for the newcomers, who had trouble adjusting to the live action.
In the one-minute scenario, the defense had to adjust to defending the run as well as the pass.
Quarterback Tyler Stirewalt got a chance to take reps leading the first drive. Stirewalt completed one of three passes and the offense failed to get a first down. Kelly O’Brien led the second drive and it took just one play to set up the field goal as O’Brien connected with receiver Jalen Saunders for 38 yards. The drill ended with Kevin Goessling’s 34-yard field goal.
The team got to work on the run game at full speed and contact for the first time. The defense dominated in the set of plays, keeping the offense from crossing the line of scrimmage on four of six carries.
In seven-on seven-drills, Stirewalt took the offense first and threw a deep pass, but in the battle to receive the pass, the ball ricocheted into the air and cornerback Erik Brown made the interception. Stirewalt finished completing three of five passes for 18 yards. O’Brien completed two of five passes for 30 yards.
The newcomers then went 11-on-11. Stirewalt completed four of five passes for 69 yards. O’Brien completed both pass attempts for 54 yards, and Greg Watson’s two pass attempts were incomplete. Milton Knox had two carries for seven yards. Receiver Alex Jeffries finished with three catches for 64 yards.
The plays were cut short though, as Coach Hill was unpleased with the team’s lack of effort. The newcomers spent the remaining time working on conditioning, as the defense ran pursuit drills, and the offense ran plays and sprints into the end zone, until the veterans took the field.
The units came together to work on special teams. Monday’s focus was on covering returns, and practicing kickoffs. Special teams finished with field goals. After field goals, defensive end Chris Carter and linebacker Kyle Knox gathered the whole team in. The two players tried to pump up the team and raise the slow tempo.
In the veteran’s one-minute scenario, neither offensive unit was able to set up the field goal. Ryan Colburn completed two passes on four attempts for 12 yards, and Derek Carr threw two incomplete passes.
In seven-on-seven practice, practice Colburn completed two passes on five attempts for 21 yards. Carr completed four of five attempts for 41 yards.
Practice wrapped up with 11-on-11 action. Colburn completed three of four passes for 41yards, with one interception by cornerback Jermaine Thomas. Carr also completed three of four, finishing with 27 yards. Cal transfer Tracy Slocum took three carries for 13 yards, and Robbie Rouse had one carry for 12 yards. Cornerback Desia Dunn also recovered a fumble in the backfield.
Zak Hill attended practice in crutches, with a large brace covering most of his leg, following his knee injury Sunday. Pat Hill described what happened on the play, “His leg got caught, planted, and just turned over.”
Hill at Monday’s practice
Photo by Mario Gomez
With Zak Hill out, Phillip Thomas takes over at the safety position. Because of Zak Hill’s injury, the ‘Dogs will have to rely on two walk on safeties, Justin Webber and Cris Wilson, to help contribute. Webber and Wilson are currently taking second team reps.
Hill will be evaluated by team doctor Eric Hansen on Tuesday.
Practice News & Notes
Tomorrow, the newcomers and veterans come together for a split practice schedule, going from 8:50-11:30 a.m. and 8:00-10:00 p.m.
Tracy Slocum and Robbie Rouse split first team reps throughout the day. Coach Hill commented on Slocum, “ Tracy Slocum is one of the new guys who has picked things up really fast.”
Freshman Receiver Davon Dunn was cleared to practice for the first time, wearing shells.
Injured players Cris Wilson and Emery Schexnayder returned to practice.
Andy Jennings has not been cleared from injury, but did work in some drills without pads.
Defensive end Aaron Howse is still out.
Running back Mike Harris received second team reps.
Defensive ends, Chris Carter and Donnie Pritchett each recorded a sack in live action.
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