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August 10, 2013
Friday marked the Bulldogs second two-a-day situation of fall camp, and their last practices before their first full scrimmage, which took place Saturday morning.
The afternoon practice on Friday was a toned down version of the 'Dogs usual extremely intense fall camp sessions. Coach Tim DeRuyter attributed this to the upcoming scrimmage and allowing the team to focus mentally for an entire practice without being banged around.
"I like the work ethic of this team," DeRuyter said. "The guys come out with a lot of energy, they like to compete. This afternoon we wanted to turn down the intensity so we took the pads off them and just went helmets, but the focus and effort was still there."
With the starting lineup yet to be set in stone, the scrimmage on Saturday looks to iron out some of the questions in the depth chart. DeRuyter is hoping that the "cream will rise to the top" in the 'Dogs first game situation.
"There's a few different positions that we need to evaluate," DeRuyter said. "The offensive line is not 100 percent set. All the guys have been doing a great job so far, but when you get into a live scrimmage situation you make tackles, make people miss, have live on-on-one blocking in a pressure situation, that's where the true evaluation takes place. There'll probably be some movement tomorrow."
Going into the scrimmage a few guys have impressed DeRuyter thus far in camp, and he is looking for them to continue to make an impact on Saturday.
"We've had some guys flash," DeRuyter said. "Curtis Riley just got here last week, didn't go through spring ball, and he has come in and made an impression. Malique Micenheimer was our third or fourth back coming out of the spring and he's really been impressive so far, but we have to get the operation time better. Tomorrow the scrimmage will be a big indicator."
Protecting The Quarterback
Cody Wichmann is one of the leaders on the offensive line and spoke about some of the things the offensive line needs to do to be successful not only in the scrimmage on Saturday, but when they start the season with Rutgers.
"We need to be sound in our assignments," Wichmann said. "We need to have good footwork, play with an attitude, and we need to be fired up. Another big thing for us is running to the ball and being fast to keep up the tempo in the no huddle. We just need to realize as offensive linemen we are going to have a lot more contact than other positions. We're working towards a goal and that's to have a great season."
The offensive line is anchored by Wichmann and his fellow veteran lineman Austin Wentworth. Wichmann believes that some of the younger players will step up and help carry the load of protecting quarterback Derek Carr.
"Josh Tremblay is doing alright," Wichmann said. "Justin Northern has been on the starting line, he's had a couple issues but he's working them out, and [Bo] Bonnheim is another guy, he seems to be doing alright next to Austin [Wentworth] so that sides pretty solid right now."
Pressure on the Passer
Junior defensive lineman Tyeler Davison might as well be a senior. His leadership and ability in the trenches helps to drive the 'Dogs defense, and create havoc on the opposing offense.
"The biggest thing we need to do is get some pressure on the quarterback," Davison said. "We are going to try to force turnovers because that's really the main emphasis of our defense. Another emphasis in our defense is making crucial stops when we need to like third downs and red zone trips."
When asked how the defense was looking going into the scrimmage Davison had great things to say about not only his d-line, but the entire defense as a whole.
"Our d-line as a whole is doing well right now," Davison said. "We also have guys in the secondary like Derron [Smith], who is great as always, and the new corner we got [Curtis Riley] is looking good as well. Donavon Lewis has also worked hard in camp and has been good. I think our defense as a whole is really just clicking well."
Derek Carr did not participate in Friday's afternoon practice because he was home with his family, so naturally questions arrived about his role in the scrimmage.
"If Derek's here he'll play," DeRuyter said. "He's taking care of his family right now, but if he's here he'll play a good, bit probably 40 percent of the scrimmage, and again we're not too worried about Derek aside from the timing he has with the receivers, but he has a great rapport with them so he'll be fine."
There was questions around a secondary violation committed by the 'Dogs and worries that there might be some ramifications, but DeRuyter explained the situation in depth.
"The NCAA has a rule for acclimation; the first two days you can only go in shorts and helmets, the next two days you can only go in shorts, shoulder pads, and helmets, and on the fifth day you can finally go full pads. Derek was there for the first three days on the fourth day Dallas was born so he missed practice, and when he came back we didn't really think about it, and he went full pads before he was supposed to. We turned it in, they ruled it as a minor oversight and there will be no ramification."
Steven Morehart is a new staff writer for FSBulldogs.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @StevenMorehart.
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