That's A Wrap; Spring Football In the Books

April 5, 2014

By Jason Clay

Head Coach Tim DeRuyter
Offensive Coordinator Dave Schramm
Defensive Coordinator Nick Toth
Junior Brian Burrell QB

FRESNO, Calif. - The Fresno State football team completed its spring camp on Saturday morning, hosting the Real California Milk Spring Showcase in front of the Red Wave in Bulldog Stadium.

The Spring Showcase was the 15th and final practice for the Bulldogs this spring and it incorporated some interaction with the fans - an autograph session and fun football drills for the kids on the field before running their open practice that ended with a 73-play scrimmage.

"All in all there were some good plays back and forth like you would expect in a scrimmage," head coach Tim DeRuyter said. "I think a lot of guys improved [this spring]. I thought defensively as a unit we are playing much better with that first group and I thought our secondary improved a ton.

"Offensively, I think our offensive line is starting to gel. The quarterback situation is still wide open. Guys look good at times and not so good at times and consistency is what they are looking for."

One thing both offensive coordinator Dave Schramm and defensive coordinator Nick Toth both pointed out after Saturday's Spring Showcase was that they both feel good about the depth they developed over the spring.

"There are a lot of positives to draw out of it," Toth said. "I think that we defined ourselves again. We got to be fast, we have to be physical and get our butts to the ball and over the course of the spring that's where we were at so I was pretty happy with it."

"We're developing that depth right now, it was a good spring and those guys got to have a great summer," Schramm added. "I think we handled our tempo extremely well, much better than I thought we would. We put our guys in stressful situations, so we got to learn and carry what we learned in the spring into fall camp in terms of taking care of the football, running the offense and doing the things we need to do to be successful."

In Saturday's scrimmage portion of the showcase, the defense started out having the upper hand on the offense. In the third-down drills when the team was working in third-and-long situations, the defense only gave up two first downs in 12 tries and both of those came on completions from Brian Burrell to Aaron Peck.

The highlight play there was Jamal Ellis' interception of Zack Greenlee that he returned for a touchdown.

Fresno State then drilled some situational work, working on second down plays to set up third downs before going to the open field scrimmage.

"We did a lot of situational work, so I like getting those situations in," DeRuyter said. "For us that is good, it is good film to teach off of and it was good to see some guys make some plays."

Once the open field scrimmage started, the defense held the offense to only one first down - an 11-yard run by Darryl Cash - in their first four drives.

After that, the offense settled in and started producing.

Greenlee bounced back nicely from his earlier interception and led a 15-play, 69-yard touchdown drive with the second offense going against a mix of second and third teamers on defense. Greenlee's go-to target on the drive was Dillon Root, as he started the drive off with a 22-yard completion on a little shuffle pass that Root did the bulk of the work on to rack up the yardage.

Later, Greenlee hit Root for a 12-yard completion to get the ball into the red zone. On a third-and-11 from the 19-yard line, Greenlee connected with Devonn Brown for a 15-yard gain to put the ball at the five-yard line. Eventually, Cash would punch the ticket on the drive with a one-yard touchdown run.

The day's events ended with the team working on end of the half situations with 1:45 on the clock and two drives of red zone work.

Burrell led the first team offense to a touchdown in the end of the half situation. He hit Greg Watson up the middle for a 33-yard completion on a third-and-11 that set up a 14-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Peck.

In the red zone drill, Malique Micenheimer had a nice cut-back run that led to a 25-yard touchdown. Garrett Swanson also connected on a 36-yard field goal to end the session.

At the end of it all, DeRuyter is happy with how his team stands heading into the summer.

"We are light years ahead of where we are today than where we were our first spring," DeRuyter said referring to where the team was at when he and his staff took over back in 2012. "I like where our guys know where we are at as far as the system, but we've got to do a lot of work to get it polished."

"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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