Fresno State inside linebacker Patrick Su'a got back in the mix at inside linebacker last week in the Bulldogs' victory at Hawaii, working his way all the way back from a season-ending knee surgery a year ago. It took a little longer than was the plan -- and no doubt longer than Su'a wanted -- but the senior from Bakersfield got out there, his one tackle a sack against the Rainbow Warriors.
Su'a is expected to get more reps Saturday in the nonconference game at Idaho, and the Bulldogs will do some shuffling with their inside linebackers as a result.
Karl Mickelsen and Kyrie Wilson have started every game inside, and will again. But with Su'a back, defensive coordinator Nick Toth can better manage the number of reps that Mickelsen and Wilson have played -- both have had to push to 90-plus snaps in games this season.
"We're going to rep the two old guys, Su'a and (Jeremiah) Toma, a bunch," Toth said. "We'll play (Jeff) Camilli some. We're going to play the first two less, so there are going to be plenty of reps. Had I been at full strength those first couple of weeks, Karl never would have played 90-plus reps.
"I feel like there are still reps to go around. I think Jeff's reps, Jeff doesn't need to be a 30-rep guy yet, Jeff needs to be a 10-rep guy and I think there are 10 reps for him. I think there are 15 or 20 reps for those other guys in there. I think we can get it done."
Mickelsen is the Bulldogs' leading tackler, with 36 in four games including 32 solo stops and one tackle for loss. Wilson is second on the team with 29 tackles including 19 solo, with two behind the line of scrimmage and 1.5 sacks.
"Karl and Kyrie have to go, but Su'a's reps should be climbing here," Toth said. "Toma's reps, if he can stay healthy, that game that he missed hurt. He would have played a boatload of snaps in that game, so hopefully we can get him where he needs to be."