Tyeler Davison is finding out switching between nose guard and defensive end isn't as easy as it seemed in theory and on the chalkboard.
Davison has just three tackles and one tackle for a loss through the first two games for Fresno State, which puts him on pace for career lows in both categories since entering the starting lineup two years ago as sophomore.
Part of the issue is Fresno State's overall struggles on defense coupled with the fact the Bulldogs have faced two talented Pac-12 opponents that feature big offensive lines and like to get rid of the ball quickly.
Davison and Fresno State will face another beef line when Nebraska (2-0) comes to town Saturday for the home opener. Nebraska's starting offensive line averages 6 feet, 5 inches and 302 pounds.
The 6-foot-2, 309-pound Davison said it's been an adjustment lining up at nose guard for some series and then moving to end on other drives. There have even been times he's alternated positions from one play to the next.
"It's definitely been more difficult," the senior said after Tuesday's practice. "It's definitely been harder than staying at nose the whole game like the last two years."
Davison spent the majority of his time playing end during Fresno State's 52-13 loss at USC in the season opener. He didn't record a tackle.
During last week's 59-27 loss at Utah, he played about 70% of his downs at nose guard and the rest at end. He had three tackles and one sack, but he also went the entire second and third quarters without a tackle.
Davison has strictly played nose guard in games the past three years, though he's taken practice reps at end on ocassion since the spring of 2013. He had 41 tackles and 7.5 for a loss last season and 43 tackles and seven for a loss in 2012.
He's on pace to finish this season with 18 tackles, six for a loss.
"Usually when you're at the nose, you get used to all the reads you're getting at that game," Davison said. "You get a feel how the offense wants to block. You can get into a groove.
"Then you go to end and it's completely different types of reads. It might be a similar read, but it's slightly different how you're supposed to play it. So then, you've got to get into a groove out there, too. So you basically have to get into it twice."
Davison said to improve he needs to get more used to playing end and adapt to his mid-game switches more quickly.
At times during practice, Davison will line up at nose guard for one play then play defensive end for the next.
Going into the season, Davison's versatility had been seen as a way to allow Fresno State to rotate its linemen more regularly and utilize the position group's depth. So far, though, the defensive line has generated just Davison's lone sack, which is the unit's only tackle for a loss as well.
"There's not much positives to think about so far," Davison said. "We just need to do the little things right, do our assignments right down to the last detail.
"I don't know if we've been too amped up, but we need to be more disciplined. I personally just need to keep practicing, make my reps count, adapt to it. We're better than what we've shown."