March 14, 2014
By: Matt Burkholder
FRESNO, Calif. - On Friday morning the Bulldog football team walked out to practice dressed in full pads for the first time this spring. Friday's practice was the third of 14 days the 'Dogs will suit up as they prepare for the Real California Milk Showcase on April 5.
"I liked our intensity," said head coach Tim DeRuyter. "When the pads come on you see a bit more interaction, guys have to play more physical and make plays with things moving faster."
With Friday being the first day in pads, the Bulldogs were hitting, but full contact was withheld.
"Every year the first time you're in pads some of the younger guys are not sure how practice yet," DeRuyter said. "A lot of it is teaching guys how to go at a fast tempo, but stay off the ground, and we're still teaching that."
Entering spring ball on Monday, the Bulldogs knew they had to find a replacement for No. 4, but not be forgotten were the weapons Derek Carr threw to. The deadly receiving corps of Davante Adams, Isaiah Burse and Marcel Jensen that combined for 257 catches, 3,098 yards and 33 touchdowns have all entered the 2014 NFL Draft.
Outside of senior Josh Harper (79 rec., 1,011 yds., 13 TDs) returning from a season that was stopped short due to injury, Fresno State will be seeking new faces to step up and emerge from spring camp.
Next in line after Harper, is a group of five that saw limited action in the 2013 season. Senior Greg Watson, juniors Aaron Peck and Justin Johnson, sophomore Da'Mari Scott, and senior tight end Jerin McClendon bring a cumulative total of 65 catches for 534 yards and two touchdowns from a season ago on the gridiron.
Harper, Peck and Scott all continue to nurse injuries into the spring and have left the door open for others to take advantage.
"We're down a little bit numbers wise," said DeRuyter. "We'll have to be careful, especially receiver wise. We have a thin group there.
"Everybody that goes down creates an opportunity for someone else."
"J.J. [Justin Johnson] was out there doing good things at outside receiver," DeRuyter said. "I thought he looked good, [Carl] Coleman also made some catches and flashed today."
The Bulldogs will be back on the field for their fourth practice on Saturday morning.
"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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