Fresno State continued to work freshman running backs Ronnie Rivers and Jordan Mims in its scrimmage Saturday, and even in a crowded position group that goes seven deep both look like they will find the field this season rather than take a redshirt year.
“Obviously, that’s a decision for (coach Jeff Tedford) and we still have a couple more weeks, but as of now I think they have an opportunity to play,” running backs coach Jamie Christian said.
“They’re picking up the offense well. They’re doing a lot of good things, not just with the ball but also without the ball in (pass) protections. They have a will to want to block and they’re really learning the pace we play at this level, they’re learning from the older guys. They’re doing a good job.”
The scores – The touchdowns in the scrimmage came on a 3-yard run by sophomore running back Josh Hokit and an 18-yard pass from senior Christian Rossi to junior college transfer Brian Burt.
Depth has its advantages – Christian on working with his group: “With only one ball and a lot of guys with opportunity and a lot of guys that can do things, that can get a little hairy. But I feel like they all understand that we’re a family in that room and we’re always rooting for each other and when it’s your time to get that ball in your hands you better do something with it because there’s always going to be someone that’s trying to do something with it.”
Rally time – The defense bounced back, as expected, from a rough first scrimmage. There were nine tackles for loss, including four sacks, and it also forced two turnovers – a fumble prompted by cornerback Juju Hughes and an interception by safety Ka’Lonn Milton.
Cornerback Tank Kelly also forced a fumble, though the offense was able to get the recovery.
Silver lining – Offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer on the offensive production: “We didn’t end up in the end zone as much as you’d like, but I think there’s so much good that comes out of the scrimmage. We ran the ball I think a lot more than we did last scrimmage. The pass game was wide open last time and so we kept running with it.
“(Saturday) the opportunity to run the football and opportunity to work on the run game was there and I thought we did a good job. I like seeing us have to work on our run game. The offensive line, the tight ends, the backs, they’re going to have some great film to look at from the scrimmage.”
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
Fresno State 2017 schedule
Home games at Bulldog Stadium
Sept. 2 vs. Incarnate Word, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 at Alabama, 12:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Sept. 16 at Washington, 6:30 p.m. (Pac-12)
Sept. 30 vs. Nevada, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 at San Jose State, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
Oct. 14 vs. New Mexico, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21 at San Diego State. 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Oct. 28 vs. UNLV, 7 p.m.
Nov. 4 vs. Brigham Young, TBA (ESPN networks)
Nov. 11 at Hawaii. 8 p.m.
Nov. 18 at Wyoming, 11 or 11:30 a.m.
Nov. 25 vs. Boise State, 12:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Other key dates
Saturday, Aug. 19: Scrimmage 3/Fan Appreciation Day (open to public)
Tuesday, Aug. 22: Classes start