Aug. 14, 2014
By Jason Clay
By Jason Clay
FRESNO, Calif. - The Fresno State football team held its 16th practice of fall camp, crossing over the halfway point as the Bulldogs are a little over two weeks out from their season-opening game at USC on Aug. 30.
In Thursday's session, the team went through a number of situational team drills focusing on third downs and clock management. Head coach Tim DeRuyter came out of the day pleased with how both sides of the ball were able to find success.
"I think it was good, it was back and forth today," DeRuyter said of Thursday's session that lasted a little over two hours with the team starting out on the practice fields and finishing up in the stadium.
"We had a couple special categories that we sprinkled into practice. We started the practice off immediately going into a scrimmage situation and the defense started faster than the offense, got two three-and-outs. We went through the scrimmage and had some third down work, and the defense had the upper hand on that, but at the end we went to the four-minute drill and the offense was able to run the ball and get big first downs, which defensively you can't let happen in a four-minute situation.
"The flip side is offensively, when you go four-minute and they know that you are going to run, but you still get it done, that is great to see."
When the Bulldogs were drilling third-down conversions of various distances, the Fresno State defense was able to get stops on 7-of-12 tries.
Senior quarterback Brandon Connette went with the No. 1 offense on this drill and got the Bulldogs to convert 3-of-6 tries, but just 1-of-4 up against the first-team defense and that lone conversion came on a Connette run. The standout defensive plays from the first-team defense was safety Charles Washington stuffing Dontel James at the line of scrimmage on an option run play on third-and-7, and a pass breakup from Curtis Riley in coverage against Aaron Peck.
Connette was able to complete back-to-back passes to Peck and LeKendrick Williams on the two tries going up against the second-team defense.
Junior quarterback Brian Burrell was 2-for-6 working with the second-team offense on third-downs, but had one dropped pass. His two conversions were both passes to Myles Carr. Linebacker Jeff Camilli stopped a third-and-3 conversion and fellow linebacker Kyrie Wilson tackled Delvon Hardaway after a short completion to stop another third-down attempt.
"I think we are continuing to compete well against each other," DeRuyter said. "Guys are raising the level of their play. We're still not where we need to be with consistency. We're still installing some things, so I think some of these younger guys are a little bit burdened with that, but we got to get them up to speed as quickly as we can."
After the third-down drill, the Bulldogs moved to what is known as the four-minute drill when the offense is working with a lead and looking to run out the clock. In this drill, the offense had three drives and were able to produce touchdowns two times and got a first down the third time before the `Dogs moved on to the next drill.
The first drive saw the first teams matched up against each other. Fresno State's offense scored on just four plays - all runs or 10 yards or longer by Marteze Waller. With huge holes being opened up from the No. 1 offensive line, Waller raced in for a 22-yard touchdown run to cap the first drive.
"I thought Marteze Waller ran the ball really, really hard and I thought we executed up front [on the offensive line]," DeRuyter said.
Connette had the second team offense for the next two drives. Drive one only took one play, however, as he hit tight end Chad Olsen on a play action pass. Olsen received a key block on the outside and went 75 yards basically untouched in for the touchdown.
To end Thursday's practice, Fresno State worked on third-and-1 situations. Connette hit Greg Watson on a six-yard completion to give the first-team offense a conversion against the first-team defense.
Burrell then had a turn at a third-and-1 with the second team offense. He looked to hit wide receiver KeeSean Johnson deep down the sideline, but freshman cornerback Anthoula Kelly was able to break up the play to force a fourth down.
After the defensive stop, Burrell fooled the defense with a fake handoff to the running back and kept the ball to sprint off tackle and in for a 33-yard touchdown run.
Both Burrell and Connette continue to split time with the first- and second-team offense.
Fresno State is now gearing up for its second scrimmage, which is being held Saturday morning. The Bulldogs will have one practice to fine-tune things before the scrimmage and then after Saturday, will look to solidify their depth chart a bit heading into their final week of camp before school starts on Aug. 21.
"We'll come back tomorrow and have a practice in the morning," DeRuyter said after Thursday's session. "We'll work some more situational things tomorrow and try to put it all together for Saturday's scrimmage."
"Be Bold" - The official home of the Fresno State Bulldogs is 940 AM ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes 1600 AM.
|Email this article||Printer-friendly format|