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Bulldogs Strap It Up on Tuesday

Aug. 6, 2013

By Jason Clay

Post-Practice Interviews
Head Coach Tim DeRuyter
Defensive Coordinator Nick Toth
Junior WR Josh Harper
FRESNO, Calif. - After its first fully-padded practice of fall camp, which came Tuesday morning with practice No. 5, head coach Tim DeRuyter and his staff got their first true glimpse of where Fresno State stands through five days of camp.

"I really like how this group competes," DeRuyter said. "We got some younger guys that are still trying to figure it out, but our older guys are doing a good job of leading them. We've had five really good days, the last three have been really physical.

"I like the hard edge on this team. We had another day where we had the young quarterbacks working with [Derek Carr] being home with the family, it's really been good for those guys and it is good that Derek is with his family, so all in all a good practice."

Carr was excused once again from practice on Tuesday to be with his wife and newborn son. Junior Brian Burrell has took charge and been performing well working with the first team offense in Carr's absence.

After the first team period in Tuesday's practice, he received high praise from offensive coordinator Dave Schramm, who told him "that was a great set, not a good set, a great set."

Burrell shook off two sacks by Tyeler Davison in the first team period, regrouped the offense and had an impressive finish to that scripted period. He connected several passes to Josh Harper and on another play, correctly read an incoming blitz, checked out of the play, and hit wide receiver Isaiah Burse for a quick completion and a first down.

"I thought Brian probably shined the most," DeRuyter said when asked about the quarterback play in Tuesday's practice. "In our team periods is where the most stress happens. They all look pretty good in the [7-on-7] where there is no pressure, but when you get in the team periods and the defense is blitzing, I thought Brian handled that the best today. I like where all three [backups] are going, but I thought Brian had the best day."

The main story coming out of Tuesday's practice was being in full pads for the first time.

"Physically, we are light-years ahead of where we were a year ago," DeRuyter said about his team. "Obviously, great reflection on [strength and conditioning] coach [Joey] Boese and his staff and the hard work our guys put in. Again, I like where we are at, we got to keep everybody healthy."

Coming into fall camp, one focus area was developing the offensive line. On Tuesday, the line went up against the defense in the one-on-one pass rush drill and the offense for the most part got the better of the defense.

Austin Wentworth and Justin Northern, the two first-team tackles, both handled Donavon Lewis coming off the edge. Cody Wichmann kept Davison outside of the pocket. Alex Fifita, James Le'au and James Funk all held their own in their reps as well. Newcomer Sean Rubalcava had one of the more impressive reps, controlling Claudell Louis.

Defensively, Todd Hunt had a good one-on-one session, beating Bo Bonnheim and Josh Tremblay. Nikko Motta was able to penetrate deep into the backfield lining up at nose guard for a rep against center Lars Bramer.

When it came to the team session, the defensive line won that battle and got to the quarterback. After Davison's two sacks in the first team period, the No. 1 defensive line ate up the second line for the offense, posting three sacks, two of which were by Andy Jennings on back-to-back plays.

The second team offense fared better in a later team period against the No. 2 offense and were able to open up holes for running backs T.J. Thomas and Malique Micenheimer.

One of the highlight plays Tuesday for the offense came towards the end of practice when Harper caught a short screen pass form Burrell and was sprung by blocks from Burse and Greg Watson that allowed him to go nearly untouched down the sideline for a touchdown.

The Bulldogs hold their first two-a-day of fall camp on Wednesday, which will be practices No. 6 and 7 as they prepare for the season-opener against Rutgers on Aug. 29.

"Discover Fresno State Football" - 2013 Fresno State football season tickets are now on sale and can be ordered online at 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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