First Scrimmage In, Time to Correct and Adjust
Secondary coach Marcus Woodson and free safety Derron Smith (13)
Secondary coach Marcus Woodson and free safety Derron Smith (13)

March 19, 2014

By Jason Clay

FRESNO, Calif. - Fresno State held its first scrimmage of spring football on Wednesday in what was its sixth practice of the allotted 15 the Bulldogs have over a four-week period from mid-March through early April.

Fresno State continues to work through various situations and lineups, giving its younger and more inexperienced players reps as the Bulldogs look to build depth.

"First scrimmage and it kind of looked like it," head coach Tim DeRuyter said afterwards. "A lot of things to work on, but it will be good film to correct and see how guys reacted when there was some adversity handed to them, especially offensively."

Fresno State worked through several different game situations, from sustaining drives in different tempos, to working with little time left on the clock and in the red zone.

"We've got a long way to go, but I like where we are at," DeRuyter said. "Just like most years, the defense is a little ahead of the offense. The biggest concern I have is we got to take care of the ball better on offense and we didn't do that today."

That was apparent on Wednesday in the scrimmage, when the defense was able to get stops and create turnovers.

The highlights of the day came early in the scrimmage when Curtis Riley and Derron Smith picked off passes on consecutive plays, returning them both for touchdowns.

Riley's was an acrobatic pick on a screen pass, where he leaped way up in the air, came down with the ball and then dodged a tackler to get into the end zone. Smith's pick came on an over-thrown ball up the middle of the field and he went in untouched the other way for the pick-6.



The defense also forced a fumble in the scrimmage.

"Curtis made a heck of a play getting his first interception and Derron did as well," DeRuyter said. "We had some hits on the ball carrier to force a fumble, but offensively we can't turn the ball over like that and be successful.

"Defensively we missed a couple tackles, which is going to happen in the first scrimmage."

DeRuyter has been impressed early on with how the secondary is improving.

"Having Derron and Charles back there is a huge plus, those guys got a lot of experience," DeRuyter said. "They are playing with a ton of confidence and a ton of speed. I think Derron, just about every practice it seems like, is getting some big plays and take-aways. Charles is playing really well and at corner, we've got a group that is competing pretty well right now.

"We've got good competition at cornerback and some of our young safeties are starting to flash a little bit."

The Bulldogs are now almost halfway through spring football, with just eight practices remaining before the Real California Milk Spring Showcase on Saturday, April 5.

"We talk all the time, we got to get better. If you're not getting better you're getting worse," DeRuyter said. "We expect to come back out here on Friday, watch the tape tomorrow and learn from it and improve Friday and Saturday and hopefully by the spring game we resemble something that looks like a football team."

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