July 31, 2014
By Jason Clay
FRESNO, Calif. - Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter and coordinators Dave Schramm and Nick Toth held a preseason press conference on Thursday afternoon in the Josephine to preview the 2014 season with the media.
On the eve of players reporting for fall camp, the coaches talked about the momentum the program has entering the year and how being in their third year running the program, they plan to build off back-to-back Mountain West championships.
"We're excited about where we are at. We are on the eve of our players showing up, kicking off the 2014 season," DeRuyter said as gave the media a preview of the upcoming year. "We've really see a surge in momentum in our program that has been reflected in our recruiting.
"The trajectory of things are going in the right direction. We're excited about the future, excited about this year and just excited to see our guys compete and find out what the personality is going to be for this 2014 team."
After leading the Bulldogs to a 20-6 record and the two conference titles in his first two years, DeRuyter was frank about how the 2013 season ended, despite tying the school record for wins in a year, and said the expectations for his team will remain the same. He also was not afraid to cover the topic of the tough slate the Bulldogs have to open the year.
"I think we're poised to again challenge for a Mountain West championship," DeRuyter said. "I think we have enough talent in place... I was tremendously proud of our players and our staff and what we were able to accomplish last year. The biggest disappointment was that we didn't finish.
"Our goals don't ever change. Our No. 1 goal is to win the Mountain West conference. That's our measuring stick, but it's always fun at Fresno State because we always seem to play those types of teams, like a USC and Nebraska and Utah, to be able and measure ourselves against those guys."
Defensively, coordinator Nick Toth has eight starters returning from last year's squad that experienced some bumps and bruises along the way.
"We got some returners that are coming back and they know that they didn't reach the bar we set for ourselves a couple years ago when we took this job," Toth said. "Since that USC game ended, they've been driven by themselves... They've worked really hard over this offseason to get ready for this camp. We've added a couple of names on that depth chart that I think can create some competition and further drive our goal to have the best unit in the league.
"I think we have the potential to have the best unit in the league, have the potential to have a special year."
Last season the `Dogs were up and down defensively, ranking in the top 10 nationally in both sacks and tackles for a loss, but also ranking towards the bottom in the nation in total and scoring defense.
"The best thing about it is that right now we have a chip on our shoulder," Toth said. "That's a dangerous thing I think for our Fresno State football team that's won two championships. They're angry and I think that's really good."
On offense, there are a few more question marks with big departures at key positions. Fresno State returns five starters, but there are also five offensive players gone off of last year's team that in training camp with NFL teams.
"We're excited to get started, got a lot of work to do and a lot of guys to replace," offensive coordinator Dave Schramm said.
His units have ranked in the top 20 nationally in total offense and scoring over the last two seasons. Now Schramm and the offensive coaches will look to new players, most importantly with a new starting quarterback, to continue to run the electric up-tempo spread offense.
"We're looking for a [quarterback] that can distribute the ball so we can run the offense at a high level like we did a year ago," Schramm said. "We had three receivers catch it for over 1,000 yards, so that's the emphasis in the offense, who can distribute the ball, who can find the one-on-one and lead the team.
"This offense is about the players and it's about getting the ball in space to the right guy as fast as we can get it there. If our quarterback is on point, and we can find the one-on-one and get it to those guys in space then we are going to be successful."
Players report for camp on Friday, a day full of meetings and administrative work. The Bulldogs hit the practice field for the first time Saturday morning to begin preparing for the season-opening game on Aug. 30 at USC.
"I think we are going to see an excited, hungry bunch," DeRuyter said is what he expects to see out of his team at Saturday's practice. "They're excited about defining themselves as the 2014 Bulldogs."
"Be Bold" - The official home of the Fresno State Bulldogs is 940 AM ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes 1600 AM.
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