Fresno State ran an up-tempo spread the past three seasons without much up-tempo to it, but the offense led by quarterbacks Chason Virgil and Jorge Reyna has handled the installation and on-field operation fairly well the first two days with it.
“Everyone did a really nice job (Sunday),” offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer said. “The ability to change tempos is really important. We’re not going to be fast-fast-fast, but we’re going to have the ability to do that and keep the defense on their heels.
“I think the whole group today took a step forward with that, not just the quarterbacks. But there is a lot on the quarterbacks’ plate just making sure everyone is lined up properly, that they’re set and then you have to go through your reads and execute.”
Fresno State in 2013 averaged 83.7 plays per game when Derek Carr was running the offense – the Bulldogs’ 1,088 plays ranking fifth in the nation. Last season, the Bulldogs ran 845 plays, 70.4 per game, and were ranked 102nd.
Freshmen pick up the pass pro – Fresno State was in full pads Saturday and Sunday and the one-on-one pass protection drills with running backs and particularly freshmen Ronnie Rivers and Jordan Mims were of high interest. Typically, pass pro is the biggest hurdle for high school backs coming into college simply because they haven’t done a lot of it and there is a lot to it.
“It’s not just a head-butting contest,” coach Jeff Tedford said. “It’s more about fundamentals and technique than it is anything.”
Rivers and Mims handled it well.
“They’re getting better every day,” Tedford said. “They’ve done that for three days in a row now and they’re getting better each day, understanding their techniques and their fundamentals, moving their feet. These guys have an idea what they’re doing and they’re fast learners and they’re competitive. They’ve done a nice job.”
Rivers and Mims continue to get some reps with the No. 1 offense in a very crowded backfield; Rivers early in the practice broke off a long scoring run, bolting through a gaping hole untouched.
Ouch – The Bulldogs went live in the final period of practice and cornerback Johnny Johnson put a crunching hit on wide out Jamire Jordan, dislodging football from receiver.
Jordan had to go up to make a play on a pass from Virgil, floating right into the airspace of the Bulldogs’ corner, and then got hit. Jordan took a second to get off the Bulldog Stadium turf, but took the very next rep and reeled in a pass from Virgil.
First look – The Bulldogs will have a day off Monday and then hold their first scrimmage of fall camp Tuesday, the number of plays and who will be getting the work still to be determined.
“We have a staff meeting (Monday),” Tedford said. “We’re really going to figure out who we want to see, how many plays each guy needs to get, so on and so forth.”