Aug. 7, 2013
By: Matt Burkholder
FRESNO, Calif. - A sense of normalcy returned to the practice fields for the Fresno State football team on Wednesday morning as No. 4 was back at the helm for the 'Dogs. After being away from the team, quarterback Derek Carr returned after missing the past two days to be with his wife for the birth of their son.
"I thank the coaches so much for understanding what's important," Carr said. "I had to be there for my son and my wife to fully recover and get ready. It was definitely life changing, it's nothing that you see on a movie, nothing anyone tells ever prepares you.
"When I got here I felt so welcomed, everybody gave me hugs and congratulations and all that, we have a pretty special thing going on around here."
The senior quarterback appeared to have not missed anytime at all as his throws were accurate from the start. In the first 7-on-7 drill Carr went 5-of-6 with a drop and proceeded to throw 8-for-9 with three touchdowns in a red zone drill from approximately the 10-yard line. Three completions, including a touchdown, went to sophomore Aaron Peck who stood out throughout the day from the receiving corps.
"He [Carr] didn't skip a beat," said DeRuyter. "It was great to have him out there, that ball was coming out quicker, the protections were quicker and the reads happened faster. Our offense is obviously much more efficient with him out there."
During the team periods Carr went a combined 11-for-19. After starting out hot, 3-for-3, he cooled off a bit in the second session with a 2-for-5 effort. Davante Adams made an acrobatic catch above his head against Derron Smith in that second session, but when he came down with the ball his foot was out of bounds.
Brain Burrell, Myles Carr and Zach Greenlee all got there reps in too, with Burrell taking the most. The defense got the best of Greenlee in the first period when Greenlee rolled out to his right and tried to loft a pass over the head of Curtis Riley, but Riley used his height to snag the ball and return the interception for six.
Practice ended with Courtney Tender picking off Burrell as he was attempting to lead a designed red zone attack. After completing a third-and-8 to Justin Johnson, Burrell's pass went off the hands of Riley Barnes and into the hands of Tender to close out the morning session.
With cornerback L.J. Jones sitting out due to having a cut on his head that prevents him from wearing his helmet and the other cornerback position adjacent to him already being open has allowed coaches to play with different options and give players increased time playing for and against the first-team.
"Curtis Riley is really taking advantage, he's getting a chance with the first-team and he looks like he belongs," DeRuyter said. "You hate for anyone to lose reps, but Curtis, Shannon [Edwards] and Jamal [Ellis] are all getting extra reps and it's good to see those guys develop."
The first-team offensive line continued to stay intact on Wednesday without any changes and protected well against the defense, allowing only two sacks in the team sessions.
"We're a lot better than we were at this point [last year] and probably better than last season," said DeRuyter. "They're getting a chance to go against what I think is one of the better defensive lines in this league. If they keep pushing, just like our secondary, we've got just as good as a group of receivers, you go against those guys everyday you're going to better or get out of there, our guys are getting better and that's encouraging."
The Bulldogs will resume practice at 4 p.m. in shoulder pads and helmets Wednesday as they embark upon their first two-a-day and then return to full pads for practice No. 8 Thursday morning.
"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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