Picking Up the Intensity

Aug. 4, 2013

By Jason Clay

Photo Gallery From Sunday's Practice

Post-Practice Interviews
Head Coach Tim DeRuyter
FRESNO, Calif. - The Fresno State football team went through its third day of fall camp on Sunday morning and head coach Tim DeRuyter is looking to keep the intensity level on the right notch for how early it is in camp.

"At times we're probably a little bit too intense, but I don't know if there is such a thing," DeRuyter said. "Our guys have a good chip on their shoulder, they enjoy being physical, we just got to be smart."

Strapping on shoulder pads for the first time in camp, the physicality level rose and the Bulldogs were able to work on different facets of the game. The main thing DeRuyter is looking for right now is playing hard and smart, not tackling any players to the ground until the team goes in full pads on Tuesday.

"We're still in half pads so we are not doing any tackling to the ground, but obviously much more physical today," DeRuyter said. "I thought we started a little bit slow, but when we got into our team periods the physicality picked up. It got a little bit chippy out there, which isn't always bad to see but we got to be smart."

With the addition of shoulder pads, Fresno State was able to do more with its run game than it did in the first two practices. Early on Sunday, the 'Dogs worked the inside run drill for the first time in camp. Then in the first of three team periods, the main focus was on the running game and screen passes as the Bulldogs continue to install their schemes.

Fresno State's three down linemen and two inside linebackers on the first unit are coming together to be a formidable group. The three linemen of Nikko Motta, Tyeler Davison and Andy Jennings did well eating up blocks that allowed middle backers Kyrie Wilson and Karl Mickelsen to get into the backfield to make plays.

Then in the second team session, the down linemen made the stops of their own. Motta sniffed out a screen pass for a tackle for a loss and Davison knocked down a pass from Derek Carr at the line of scrimmage.

Offensively, running backs Josh Quezada and Marteze Waller continue to split time with the first unit. Converted fullback/linebacker Malique Micenheimer has done well in the reps he receives, mainly with the No. 2 offense. In Sunday's team session, Micenheimer showed good vision to find the holes and hit them hard. He even caught a screen pass from quarterback Brian Burrell, stiff-armed one defender and broke out to the sideline for a big gain.

In the last team period, Fresno State worked on its up-tempo offense and Carr was able to hook up with junior wide receiver Josh Harper for a pair of big plays. The first was deep down the sideline, when Harper leaped up, reached over cornerback Jamal Ellis, and came down with the ball for a big play. Then in the first team's next drive, Harper caught a short pass and proceeded to take it up the sideline for a score.

Saturday's Practice Notes
• After being a walk-on for his first three years in the program, senior cornerback Jonathan Norton was award a scholarship by DeRuyter on Saturday night. Norton was a strong special teams performer for the Bulldogs last season when his nine tackles on kickoff coverage was the second most of any player on the team. This year he is in competition for playing time at both cornerback and nickel back.

• Cornerback L.J. Jones had a good day on defense. He picked off a pass from Brian Burrell in the first team session and in the third team period, stripped Harper of the ball for the forced fumble.

• During the team's 7-on-7 periods, freshman quarterback Zack Greenlee received a good number of reps. In the first of the two, he completed 6-of-11 passes and had one that was dropped. In the second period, when the team was working on third downs situations, Greenlee was 6-for-10 and finished the session strong with completions for solid gains to Darrell Fuery and Anthony Riggins on his last two throws.

• Fresno State received another addition to its secondary on Sunday, with transfer Bryan Harper being cleared to practice. Harper was a freshman at Arizona last season when he took a redshirt year. He will have four years of eligibility remaining, but will have to sit out this season in accordance with NCAA transfer regulations.

Harper is 6-0, 170-pounds and attended Colony HS. He was CalHiSports Fourth-Team All-State defensive back as a senior in high school when he helped lead the Titans to an 11-2 mark in 2011.

"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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