March 7, 2014
By Jason Clay
By Jason Clay
FRESNO, Calif. - Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter and his staff are set to embark on their third spring camp, as the Bulldogs open up spring football Monday morning.
Fresno State enters a new chapter without some of the key players who have helped make the Bulldogs so successful over the past couple seasons in winning back-to-back Mountain West championships.
Losing the program's all-time leading passer in Derek Carr to graduation and two of the top three receivers in the school record books in Davante Adams and Isaiah Burse represent just a few of the big shoes that need to be filled. However, it's that continual challenge of building and maintaining a program that DeRuyter and his coaching staff relish.
"That's the thing that is great about college football and drives us as coaches," DeRuyter said. "Nobody knew who was Davante Adams was two years ago, he was just a redshirt freshman. People [nationally] didn't know who Derek Carr was and he kept progressing and had a tremendous career, but I told the team when we came back at the start of the semester, I said `look, we're not the fighting Derek Carr's, Isaiah Burse's. We're the Fresno State Bulldogs and somebody in this room is going to step up and be the next Derek Carr, the next Isaiah, the next Davante. I can't tell you who it is, but you got an opportunity in January, February, March to go earn that right.'
"That's our job as coaches to challenge our guys. We've got talented guys in this program, we just got to see who is going to rise to the top and that's what is fun about the spring."
The Bulldogs will work through their NCAA-allotted 15 spring practice sessions over the next four weeks. It all cumulates on Saturday, April 5 with the Real California Milk Spring Showcase that is free and open to the public in Bulldog Stadium. All other practices will be closed, as the 'Dogs look to focus in this spring, take advantage of their reps and time on the field, and begin the process of meeting that challenge of defending their Mountain West championship.
"We've got guys that are putting in the work, putting in that daily grind, that understand that long-term gain comes about one little step at a time," DeRuyter said. "It's guys who believe in that and go out and put the work in that end up winning the championships in November and December.
"Our guys have bought into that."
Some of the notable position battles are at quarterback, wide receiver, up front on both the offensive and defensive lines and in the secondary at cornerback.
The Bulldogs will hold four practices for the first three weeks and then three on the fourth and final week before spring break.
Fresno State's pro day is set for March 20 at 1 p.m. and on Saturday, March 22 following practice at 10 a.m., the football program will hold a free kids clinic at Bulldog Stadium.
More details surrounding the events tied in with the Real California Milk Spring Showcase will be released in the near future.
"Catch the Wave" - The official home of the Fresno State Bulldogs is 940 AM ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes 1600 AM.
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