For Tyeler Davison, the move just did not work out.
The Fresno State Bulldogs had him taking reps at defensive end going back to the spring to try to add some versatility in a position group where there was little, but those plans have since been abandoned and the 310-pound senior is back to being a full-time nose guard, taking on double teams, throwing bodies around and busting up run plays.
"It's just a better fit," defensive line coach Pete Germano said. "He's more natural. The bottom line is he's better inside and we're better off for having him inside."
And that is just fine with Davison, who earned all-conference honors playing at nose guard the past two seasons, first team in 2012 and second team last season. It feels like he is back home.
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"I like nose. I'm comfortable there," Davison said.
The top three things about moving back to nose?
"The first thing is I've played it more," he said. I've played nose the last two seasons exclusively, so I'm more comfortable there because of that. The second thing, I would say, I like it more because I feel like when there's less space; I can be quicker than those guys easier inside there. When I'm playing out at five-tech starting head up and having to rush outside, that's hard to do. You have to start head up at nose a lot of times and get a rush, but there's not as much space, so it's easier to make up for having to start head up. The third thing, I'd say it's just more physical in there. That's one thing that I feel is one of my strengths, being physical, and I feel like it's a lot more physical in there. There's a lot more banging and hitting and not so much finesse as it is outside."
There was a bit of disdain in Davison's voice when he got to the word finesse. The third thing on that list could very easily have been No. 1. "I just feel like I'm a little more suited for the physical game," he said.
Taking all of his snaps at nose, Davison has had the expected impact. In a 24-13 victory over San Diego State last week, the Bulldogs allowed an average of 4.1 yards on 45 plays, a a season-low for the Aztecs. Running back Donnel Pumphrey, coming off a 167-yard, four-touchdown game against UNLV, was held to 94 yards and did not score a touchdown.
With Davison back inside, Maurice Poyadue has started taking some reps at end -- he played a handful of snaps there against San Diego State.
"We're always constantly trying to get our best thee football players on the field and sometimes you're putting a square peg in a round hole, and we don't want to do that as much," coach Tim DeRuyter said. "But if it's our best players, we're going to figure out a way to get them on the field somehow.
"I think what happened when we put Tyeler outside, he wasn't comfortable there and so it diminished his overall play. He's a fantastic nose guard, and we lost the fantastic nose guard and had an end that wasn't playing up to his capabilities, so we decided to put him back. Maurice is bucking for playing time, so putting him out there and having him learn it is a plus with Tyeler still at nose guard."
Punter Swanson letting his leg 'loose'
Punter Garrett Swanson had a big game against San Diego State, his best of the season. After averaging 39.4 yards on his first 34 kicks this season, he averaged 47.4 on five kicks against the Aztecs with a long of 52 yards and two that were downed inside the 20-yard line.
He made a technical adjustment leading into the game -- throwing technique aside.
"I think coming into camp and these last five games or so I was really trying to be really technical with everything and I think that's what kind of hurt me a little bit," Swanson said. "I just need to let my leg loose and just have fun with it because I was being way too technical the first part of the season."
Swanson also said he found a better rhythm.
"Just going out there, I felt a lot more comfortable," he said. "I think just getting in a rhythm really helped me. I was going out there and doing the same thing every time, I was thinking about where I was going to put the ball and not thinking about the rush at all, trying to let my leg go free and hit a nice ball."
Report: Mountain West notes nine officiating errors in 'Dogs-Aztecs game
The Mountain West Conference admitted its officiating crew in the Bulldogs' victory San Diego State made nine errors, according to a report in the San Diego Union-Tribune.
The most critical was the roughing the punter call that kept alive a Fresno State drive, the Bulldogs going on to score a touchdown that extended their lead to 17-6 with 2:49 to go in the third quarter.
San Diego State Coach Rocky Long had submitted to coordinator of officials Ken Rivera 12 calls that went against San Diego State that the Aztecs felt were questionable. Rivera, Long said, agreed that Daniel Brunskill had tipped the punt by Swanson and should not have been called for a personal foul.
"I think the officials have a very difficult job," Long said, in the Union-Tribune. "I think they do a pretty good job most of the time. It's usually equal for both teams out there. This one was not."