Burrell, Connette Impress in First Scrimmage

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Aug. 9, 2014

By Jason Clay

Post-Practice Interviews
Head Coach Tim DeRuyter
Offensive Coordinator Dave Schramm
Defensive Coordinator Nick Toth
Senior QB Brandon Connette
Junior QB Brian Burrell
FRESNO, Calif. - The Fresno State football team held its first scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday night in front of the Red Wave at Bulldog Stadium and quarterbacks Brian Burrell and Brandon Connette led an impressive showing from the offense in the 83-play scrimmage.

The two quarterbacks competing for the starting job combined to produce five touchdowns on the evening, as the offense had its best day of camp. Saturday's scrimmage was the 10th practice of the fall.

"We got some guys that can make plays and it was encouraging to see when the lights are on and we're doing live drills, that guys made plays," head coach Tim DeRuyter said. "I thought the quarterbacks did a really nice job on some third-down conversions, some fourth-down conversions when we had to. I thought they both commanded the offense really, really well and guys flashed."

Both quarterbacks split time rotating between the first and second units in the scrimmage and neither threw an interception. Connette was 15-of-20 passing for 196 yards with two touchdowns and he also added a 29-yard rushing touchdown. Burrell was 12-of-18 passing for 163 yards and two TDs.

"I was pleased with how fast we were able to play with those two guys," offensive coordinator Dave Schramm said. "We're a lot further ahead than where we were in our first year here because the other guys understand the tempo. The offense set the tempo tonight and did a great job."

Burrell came out hot in the scrimmage, completing nine of his first 10 passes and he found Myles Carr on a 33-yard touchdown pass on the opening drive of the night. His second TD pass was a 24-yarder to Dillon Root.

"It felt good. I can't jump to any conclusions, we have to go back and watch the film and really study it and see exactly how it went," Burrell said. "As of right now it feel good, I'm going to enjoy this tonight and come back tomorrow and learn from it."

Connette hooked up with Aaron Peck on a 24-yard touchdown on his second drive of the scrimmage. The play before the touchdown the defense stopped the Bulldogs on a fourth-and-2, but was penalized for having too many men on the field and the offense made them pay for it.

"I felt really comfortable and the past four days actually, I've felt a difference just thinking like this is my offense," Connette said in regards to how comfortable he is in learning the new offense after transferring over from Duke this summer. "The last four days including tonight I've felt on the same page with everybody."

Connette's second touchdown was also the second for Carr, as the two connected on a 36-yard TD up the middle.

Carr, who moved from quarterback to wide receiver after the spring, finished with four catches for 78 yards and the two TDs. Root caught six passes for 93 yards and the one TD and Peck had five receptions for 62 yards and one touchdown.

"Dillon Root did some good things, Myles Carr made some nice catches," DeRuyter said. "We had seen that in practice, but we hadn't seen it come together, so it was good to see."

Defensively, the Bulldogs were working on getting a number of their second-string players reps in the scrimmage. Tyeler Davison, Derron Smith and Charles Washington all did not play in the scrimmage, as the coaching staff works on building depth behind them.

"I think we've got a really good idea of who nine of our first 11 are and those guys that didn't play tonight, we know what they are going to do. We need to find out who the backups are," defensive coordinator Nick Toth said. "We got to find out what happens if we lose one of those guys. I need to have those guys get evaluated against our best offense."

Toth's defensive unit was able to produce two turnovers in the scrimmage. Freshman linebacker Michael Lazarus helped the defense have a big red zone stop when he forced a fumble inside the five-yard line. That came two plays after running back Kurt Scoby dashed off a 68-yard run on the defense.

The second turnover was an interception by freshman defensive back D'Angelo Julius Ross, jumping in front of a pass by Kilton Anderson.

"Today we got a bunch of those younger guys in," DeRuyter said of the defense. "We really like their progress and athleticism, but we really got a long way to go with those young guys."

Fresno State will have its first off day of camp on Sunday and return to the practice field Monday when it holds its third two-a-day - practices 11 and 12 - of camp.

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