March 6, 2013
By Jason Clay
By Jason Clay
|Head Coach Tim DeRuyter
|Offensive Line Coach Cameron Norcross
|Offensive Lineman James Le'au
FRESNO, Calif. - One of the areas of focus for Fresno State entering spring football was replacing two starters lost on the offensive line to graduation and building more depth up front.
The Bulldogs held their sixth of 15 spring practices on Tuesday and offensive line coach Cameron Norcross said that his group is starting to get closer to where he hopes they will be at by the end of spring football.
"We're competing better, but we are not where we need to be as a group of having 10 guys that are competing and pushing each other," Norcross said. "I think we've got some guys in the first group that have really separated themselves.
"We might be at maybe six guys that are really pushing, or seven guys, but not 10 like I want. I'd like two-deep across the board pushing each other and we don't have that right now. We're starting to get close to it, but we're not there yet."
One of the players in that first group that is performing is senior-to-be James Le'au. The key to his emergence has been time.
"The thing with James is the speed of the game, he came in during the fall and the balls were flying by him so fast, he didn't know which way to look," Norcross said. "Right now the more reps he gets with full team stuff, he's practicing faster and faster.
"You see times where you say, `gosh dang, the light's really coming on,' but then you see times where he's back to the old guy. It's a matter of repetition with him - the more he takes the better off he will be."
Le'au, who transferred to Fresno State last summer from Pasadena City College, has been working with the No. 1 line at left guard this spring.
"I've become more accustomed to all the plays and everything, but it's starting to come together and I'm starting to get better," Le'au said. "I feel like [the offensive line] is pretty solid, but we got to get better every day."
Last season, Le'au played in 11 games and started the Oct. 20 game against Wyoming at right guard. He helped the Bulldogs race out to a 35-0 lead and 298 yards of offense in the first half while coasting to the victory in the second half. However, Le'au missed the next game due to injury.
He recovered and played in the final four games of the season, but did not make it back into the starting lineup after the injury. Now with a year under his belt at Fresno State, Le'au understands the importance of the offseason.
"It's a brand new experience, but you gotta just push through," Le'au said of his first spring ball with the Bulldogs. "There was a lot of hardships I've had to go through, but we have to come together as a team because the offseason is one of the most important parts."
Fresno State has nine more spring practices remaining and 29 more in the fall for Norcorss and the rest of the offensive line to get to the point they want to be at.
So far through spring practices, head coach Tim DeRuyter has been pleased with what he has seen from the team out on the field.
"I like how we are competing," DeRuyter said of the team as a whole. "We've got guys that like the game of football. They come out here with good energy and they get after it, so that's been encouraging."
"Discover Fresno State Football" - 2013 Fresno State football season tickets are now on sale and can be ordered online at gobulldogs.com or over the phone at 559-278-DOGS (3647).
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