Intensity Amps up on Day Three
Aug. 4, 2014
By: Matt Burkholder
FRESNO, Calif. - Fresno State worked through its third day of fall camp on Monday morning and put on shoulder pads for the first time as the 'Dogs continue to progress through the NCAA mandated five-day acclimatization period.
Getting out of their "PJ's" as head coach Tim DeRuyter likes to call it, referring to when the team is only wearing helmets without pads, Fresno State was able to drill a little more of the fundamentals on Wednesday by wearing shoulder pads for the first time. An equipment day also referred to as wearing shells.
"Today looked a bit more like football today, which is encouraging to see," DeRuyter said. "Everything from the last two days has just been hand placement, which is good drill work. But once you can start using your shoulder pads and front guys up, we call thud tackle. Nobody goes to the ground, but it simulates football more closely."
The defense, which returns eight starters to its unit, appears to be ahead of the offense through the first three days, but it is not something that worries the staff.
"Typically the defense is going to be ahead at this stage of things," said DeRuyter. "And that's normal. The timing is not down with the offense, when you have a lot of new guys it's understandable."
Where the offense did show a flash of continuity was at the end of Monday's practice when the team closed the day with three up-tempo two minute drills. As the defense appeared to have the upper-hand, Brandon Connette hit Aaron Peck on a short slant that turned into a touchdown to end the drill.
"Our defense stopped our [offense] two straight series," said DeRuyter. "Then we get a third series and we give up a big play on a slant. We've got that kind of talent. We're always one play away from having an explosive play."
The Bulldog coaching staff also brought out new technology this fall to help them evaluate the team as they go through practices. They have been using a drone equipped with a GoPro camera to get an aerial view during certain portions of practice.
On Monday, Brad Blackstone, Fresno State's Video Coordinator, was using it behind the quarterbacks to get an aerial view of what the quarterback sees downfield. Aiming to aid the passers with how routes develop with a wider angle of the field and what the defense is doing.
"The vantage point you get being just behind the quarterback, but still raised I think is really helping our guys have bigger vision down the field," DeRuyter said. "We've had cameras right behind the quarterback, but it does limit the vision. So having that drone up about 10 feet above their heads, it gives them a unique perspective to see a little bit more of the field so that when they do make those decisions, when quarterbacks are watching that tape, it gives them a little bit better vision."
The Bulldogs will take the field one more day in shells on Tuesday before they suit up in full pads for the first time on Wednesday.
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