Kickoff return at Fresno State has been solid. Not strong, certainly not spectacular. The last time the Bulldogs were there - 2008, when A.J. Jefferson went 92 yards for a touchdown against Nevada.
Third-year sophomore Dillon Root had a big return in the season-opener against Rutgers, setting up the tying score in the fourth quarter. But the Bulldogs rank only 55th in the bowl subdivision, averaging 22.04 yards on 23 returns, and whether looking to make a change or merely ramp up the competition there, they have had Isaiah Burse working with the return group this week in practice.
Burse has more experience than any return man in the nation, having set a NCAA record with 75 returns during his sophomore season. He came into the season just 15 kickoff returns shy of the all-time record of 141, set by Houston receiver Tyron Carrier between 2008 and '11.
But will the senior slot receiver get a chance?
"We're keeping (Burse) fresh," Coach Tim DeRuyter said. "Dillon will still be our guy, but depending on how many touches he gets, if we need a spark we might out him in there.
"But I've been happy there. I mean, we're one or two blocks away from really having a couple that we've sprung. The other day I thought T.J. (Thomas) did a nice job on the short kick, getting positive yards and getting us past the 30. A lot of teams are kicking it where you can't return it, but I think we've been pretty effective."
Burse obviously plays a huge role for the Bulldogs in the passing game - he is second on the team with 42 receptions for 459 yards and two touchdowns. He also is the primary punt returner, taking two back for scores in a victory over Cal Poly in the second week of the season.
Kickoff return could be an unacceptable risk.
"Those hits on kickoff return are different than punt," DeRuyter said. "They're violent, high-speed collisions. It's like using Derek (Carr) in our quarterback run game. Yeah, it's really effective, and he can do a great job. But how many times do you want to put him at risk. We'll be judicious about it."