July 31, 2013
By Jason Clay
FRESNO, Calif. -On the eve of the opening of fall camp, the Fresno State football team held a preseason press conference Wednesday where the underlying theme was ignoring the hype.
The Bulldogs, coming off a 9-4 season and a co-Mountain West championship in 2012, were picked last week at the MW Media Days as the preseason favorite to win the West Division. Fresno State has even been ranked in the top 25 of some of the unofficial preseason polls.
So how does head coach Tim DeRuyter plan on pushing all the preseason hype to the side and getting his team focused? He reminds them of their last game in 2012, what he called an "embarrassing" loss to SMU in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl.
"It's been a long offseason, especially for our coaches because of our last game," DeRuyter said. "I know our players, because of our last game, had a little different chip on their shoulders this whole offseason.
"We all know the potential of this team. We've got to ignore a lot of the noise that's out there. We didn't do a very good job of that last December when people told us how good we were for winning the Mountain West championship. We're doing a better job this year. Our guys touched that stove, they realized it's hot and they don't want to go there anymore."
DeRuyter said that he wants to challenge his team to be the best and that all starts on Thursday when he addresses the entire team to kick off fall camp.
Looking at the Bulldogs on the field, both coordinators feel they are light-years ahead of where they were last fall when they were implementing new systems in their first seasons on the job.
The first thing that defensive coordinator Nick Toth pointed out on Wednesday was the increased depth.
"I feel like we are deeper than we were a year ago, although there are some position battles, I think that is creating depth," Toth said. "When you're deep on defense, your special teams get better and so you're saying two-thirds of your team is impacted by the depth on defense. That's pretty good for us right now."
Toth also said that along with the depth, he can evolve his defense to fit the strengths of the players and the talent-rich roster he has to work with.
"Our scheme more than almost any I've been a part of can adapt to its players."
On the other side of the ball, offensive coordinator Dave Schramm pointed out the areas in which he would like to see his unit improve.
"Our goals in this camp will be, as it will be all year, we have to get better on third down, get better in the red zone and first and foremost we have to improve our ball security," Schramm said. "That's what the emphasis is going to be. We've got really good players, really good coaches and we expect to play at a high level."
Players report for camp on Thursday, a day full of meetings and administration work. Fresno State will hit the practice fields for the first time on Friday morning to begin preparing for its second season under DeRuyter and his staff.
"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). The official home of the Fresno State Bulldogs is 940 AM ESPN Radio.
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