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August 6, 2013

Bulldogs Fall Camp - Tuesday Practice Insider

Day five of fall camp brought the Bulldogs' first day of full contact. Coach Tim DeRuyter, as he has been all camp, was very impressed with the competition level his team showed Tuesday.

"I thought it was good, I really like how this group competes," DeRuyter said. "We got some young guys who are still trying to figure it out, but our older guys are doing a good job of leading them. We've had five really good days and the last three have been really physical. I like the hard edge on this team. We had another day where we had young quarterbacks working, with DC [Derek Carr] being home with his family."

The Bulldogs have been performing contact drills for the last few days now. However on Tuesday the team saw the first day of full speed, to the ground contact and that was apparent from the start of practice.

"When we go full pads for the first time, right off the bat we like to start with the Bulldog drill," DeRuyter said. "We've been starting with that since we've been here. We have individual positions that normally lineup against each other and go one-on-one to test their physicality and at the end we have Coach [Joey] Boese call a couple of the new guys out, and they have to get out in front of all their teammates and see how they step up."

The levels of speed and physicality are always one of the main ways DeRuyter judges how successful each practice was. So far in camp the 'Dogs are passing with flying colors.

"I think we've got some really good skill," DeRuyter said. "All of our guys that were here during summer are in great shape, and you can play fast when you're in good shape. Physically we're light years ahead of where we were a year ago, obviously a great reflection on Coach Boese and the hard work our guys have put in."

Although DeRuyter is happy with the level of physicality being shown, he also understands the importance of keeping this team healthy.

"Pads were popping pretty good, but we've had some good licks the last few days also," he said. "Tomorrow will be our first two-a-day so I'm sure guys will be sore, but we're going to try to limit things, like today we only had one drill where we actually took guys to the ground. Everyday you get online or look in the paper and you see somebody's out for the year and we'd hate to have that happen here, so I think we have a good balance of physicality, but not going too far to where you get guys hurt."

Wide Receivers

The majority of the Bulldogs playmakers this season will be lined up at the wide receiver position. Receiver's coach Ron Antoine, has been extremely happy with the group he has this year and the depth the 'Dogs have at the wide receiver position.

"Our depth is probably most important for practice purposes," Antoine said. "We get to practice to pace, practice fast, and go hard without wearing out the guys like Davante, Harp, and Burse. It also gives some of the younger guys chances to take some of those reps, so it's critical to have the depth."

Anybody familiar with Fresno State football know about the abilities of the Bulldogs' experienced receivers Davante Adams, Josh Harper, and Isaiah Burse, but some of the guys who have yet to see much playing time have also impressed Antoine throughout fall camp.

"The guys who were here last year that have made a great leap in what they're able to do are Aaron Peck and Justin Johnson," Antoine said. "Anthony Riggins is also having a good camp. You can see some of the guys we recruited already playing well in camp too. [Delvon] Hardaway has flashed a couple times. [Darrell] Fuery has also done some things out there catching the football. The young guys are sometimes a little slow because they're still thinking about what to do instead of just playing ball, but I'm really excited about seeing what they look like come midseason."

Defensive Line

The defensive line has been basically participating in full contact drills since the first day in half pads. Senior Nikko Motta attributes the 'Dogs tenacity in the trenches to the new defensive philosophy installed by the coaching staff.

"The 3-4 or as I like to call it the Coach [Nick] Toth defense is nasty because you're always moving," Motta said. "The o-line never knows where you're coming from and there's just a lot of different movements, and one guy always comes free. With this system they just kind of give you a free range to play ball and run around and make plays."

The Bulldogs defensive line is loaded with experienced players. This plays to the 'Dogs advantage as they look to build off of last year's success.

"Having another year in this defense is tremendous," Motta said. "You pick up on it faster, you know what to expect, and everything kind of plays into your hands. Having these guys like Tyeler Davison and Andy Jennings come back that got a lot of reps last year can help us, plus it gives us depth so we're not playing every down. Last year we were kind of thin and we'd get kind of get gassed. Depth's always important at any position and especially at d-line it's important to stay fresh so you can get after that ball."

Motta also believes the Bulldogs can also find depth in some of the more inexperienced players who have been performing well in camp.

"A guy that's catching on quick is Nate Madsen, he's catching on quick to everything," Motta said. "Another guy is Todd Hunt, he's I think a redshirt sophomore, and he's playing out of his mind right now he's a really big kid. Maurice Poyadue is another guy who's also showed up."

Dog Bones

  • Derek Carr missed practice again to be with his family. Brian Burrell shined again with the first team today.
  • Converted wide receiver Greg Watson continues to consistently be one of the hardest workers on the field everyday.
  • Wide receiver Devonn Brown has been working on the jug machine everyday after practice. His hard work is paying off, he looked great catching the ball today.
  • Young running backs T.J. Thomas and Dontel James were the most physical backs in practice today, both blew up defenders at times.
  • Nick Toth was jacked up about the first full contact day.
  • L.J. Jones was still not in a helmet today due to staples in his head he received after a fight in practice. He did, however, look impressive in individual non-contact drills.
  • Linebackers Jeff Camilli and Kyrie Wilson were virtually unblockable in practice today.
  • Nikko Motta and Tyeler Davison were both explosive on the defensive line.
  • I saw Patrick Su'a doing some rehab drills with the trainers while linebackers were in individual drills. Not sure if it is precautionary or if the injury is bothering him.
  • Redshirt freshman Brandon Hughes was flying around in special team drills, and making plays in kick coverage.

    Steven Morehart is a new staff writer for FSBulldogs.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @StevenMorehart.


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