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March 15, 2013
Friday Practice Insider
The sights and sounds of Bulldog drills marked the beginning of day eleven for the Fresno State football team.
After all of the individual units wrapped up their own workouts to start practice, the team gathered together for a series of drills that intended to test the strength, physical prowess and the demands of mental adversity.
The Bulldog Drills pitted one-on-one competition with members of the offense and defense, starting with a series of cone drills off to the side of the field.
Once the sideline drills were completed, the team then gathered at midfield, huddled in one big circle and finished with a matchup worthy of a wrestling match from the ancient gladiatorial days.
The Bulldog Drills were the highlight of another intense and busy day for the Bulldogs. With some roster spots still up for grabs, the workouts have become more physical and demanding.
One highly contested position is that of backup quarterback. During the rigors of spring ball, sophomore Marcus McDade, redshirt freshman Myles Carr (no relation to Derek) and junior Brian Burrell have been trying to prove to Tim DeRuyter and the other members of his coaching staff that one of them deserves the dubious distinction of serving as Derek Carr's backup.
So far, the production from the other quarterbacks on the depth chart has been inconsistent and, at times, very spotty.
"They just have to be more consistent," offensive coordinator Dave Schramm said after Friday's practice. "We put a lot on our quarterbacks; we make them do a lot of things here."
With McDade, Burrell and Carr still trying to work on their consistency and chemistry, Schramm and the other members of the coaching staff know that they don't have to rush to find a suitable backup. And they seem fine with letting them develop until fall practice begins.
"Nobody's consistent enough to say he's the guy," DeRuyter said. "I'm certain we're not going to make a decision on the backup quarterback position until fall."
While the coaching staff decides who the main backup to Derek Carr should be, Marcus McDade has already decided that he should be the number two guy behind Carr.
"I do expect to be the backup quarterback as of fall," McDade said.
McDade played in two games for the 'Dogs last season as a Redshirt Freshman. Despite not getting a lot of game action, he still has to be ready to go if Carr gets hurt or simply needs a breather.
McDade, at 6-foot-3 inches tall and 214 pounds, gives the Bulldogs an athletic and physical presence as a backup. He also has the ability to make plays outside of the pocket as well as hurling the ball downfield to his receivers.
"I feel like I can get the ball to any open guy on the field with my athletic ability," McDade said.
For McDade, the pressure to step up and establish himself at a crowded position has meant more reps in practice. And for him, that has been the hardest part of spring practice so far.
"I've never had this many reps before," McDade said. "The hardest part is to just play my game and not to try and overthink everything."
Like all of the other quarterbacks on the roster, McDade has been taking a lot of snaps with the first team this spring, developing a relationship with the wide receivers, running backs and tight ends. It's safe to say that it's still a work in progress.
McDade's development at quarterback has been helped by Derek Carr. With Carr spending some extra time with him, McDade has been able to focus on some of the intangibles and intricacies of the position.
"He's helping me out a whole bunch," McDade said. "Before spring we were watching film and he was telling me my reads and how to be a leader."
As McDade and the rest of the Bulldogs approach the final weeks of spring practice, the intensity figures to be raised another level and the chance to earn a spot on the roster as Carr's main backup becomes more crucial and important.
And if McDade continues to make strides, then the Bulldogs' search for a quality backup to Derek Carr won't be made in the fall.
Stay tuned to FSBulldogs.com for more updates on 2013 Fresno State spring football. You can follow Jason on Twitter at @dodgerjason.
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