Watson Adding Another Element to Bulldog Offense
Aug. 13, 2013
By Jason Clay
By Jason Clay
The Bulldogs just completed their 14th practice of camp on Tuesday morning and Watson has developed into yet another weapon at the disposal for record-setting quarterback Derek Carr to deliver the ball to.
The advantage Watson had for him when he made the switch from quarterback to wide receiver, which happened before the Bulldogs' bowl game last year, was his knowledge of the offense.
"He's a guy that is a great competitor and wants to do things right," said Phil Earley, Fresno State's position coach for the tight ends and inside receivers. "It was an advantage being a quarterback because he learned this offense in the big picture, scheme of things. When he runs the routes, we're trying to get every single receiver to understand what everybody else does and how he fits in. Greg came into the position knowing that already, so that was a big advantage."
However, it was not just that knowledge of the offense that made the transition smooth for him. Watson also put in a lot of work, both during spring ball with the coaches and then during the summer preparing himself to have a big season.
"He's dropped weight like we asked, he's gotten much stronger and is faster," Earley said. "He's got better body control now and he understands kind of how that body control can help him run his routes and get separation.
"He understands that for the quarterback it's important for him to be in the right place and again he's going to do the extra things you have to do to be in position to make the right play. Partly because he's a very savvy player, but also because he is also a real fierce competitor."
For Watson, it was just a matter of him felling comfortable with himself and with the position.
"I feel ten times better," Watson said after Tuesday's practice. "Losing weight, getting better with my cuts and my speed getting faster, I just feel a lot better from what I was against SMU. Then in the spring I was still heavy and now, since the summertime, I shed a lot of weight so I feel a lot better now in this fall camp than I did last year."
In last Saturday's scrimmage, Watson was one of the standouts on the offensive side of the ball. He caught three passes for 37 yards, which included an acrobatic one-handed 27-yard reception up the middle. In the second of Monday's two-a-day session, he made another outstanding diving catch on a long ball up the middle.
With Watson coming into his own as a second slot receiver alongside senior Isaiah Burse, and outside receivers Davante Adams and Josh Harper, that is a strong first four right there. Then you also have tight end Marcel Jensen and a several more weapons that are starting to develop and come on in Dillon Root, Aaron Peck, Justin Johnson, Jerin McClendon and Da'Mari Scott.
That's one full deck for Carr and offensive coordinator to work with in the passing game. After ranking in the top 20 nationally a year ago in scoring, total offense and passing, it's easy to imagine the Bulldogs putting up bigger numbers this season with so many weapons to work with.
Tuesday's Practice Notes
Scott, the true freshman receiver from Los Angeles, had a strong outing working against the defensive backs during one-on-ones. One his first rep, he and cornerback Shannon Edwards were running neck-and-neck down the sideline, but Scott was able to make a one-handed grab running full speed with a nicely placed ball on his outside shoulder.
He caught another deep pass up the middle of the field and later got inside and across the middle to come down with a contested ball while falling to the ground.
The Bulldogs ended practice running an eight-minute scrimmage pairing the ones against the twos. The ones were down 24-14 with the ball and eight minutes on the clock.
Carr, on the very first play, hit Adams for a 70-yard touchdown pass against the two defense to cut the deficit down to 24-21.
The two offense was able to get one first down against the first-team defense on the ensuing drive, but eventually had to punt. That gave Carr and the first-team offense the ball at their own 22-yard line with 5:34 left on the clock.
Carr led an efficient drive, completing 7-of-8 passes, the only incompletion was a drop at the goal line, and got the Bulldogs in the end zone with 1:51 left on the clock. After hitting seven-straight passes on the drive, running back Josh Quezada broke off a run of around 20 yards down to the two-yard line. After the drop in the end zone, Quezada took the ball in for the score to give the ones a 28-24 lead over the twos.
Starting free safety Derron Smith then intercepted a pass against the two-offense, putting an end to the scrimmage.
Fresno State's scrimmage on Friday, which will be its second of fall camp, is open to the public. It is set to run from 7-9 p.m. in Bulldog Stadium, and like the first scrimmage, will feature a heavy dose of the twos, threes and fours as the coaching staff looks to continue to build depth across the board.
"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.