Fresno State defensive lineman Maurice Poyadue continued to get reps at end in practice on Wednesday and could see more action there when the Bulldogs try to get to 3-0 in the Mountain West Conference on Friday in a match up at UNLV.
At 6-3 and 280 pounds, Poyadue doesn't fit the physical prototype of a 3-4 defensive end. But the Bulldogs have been trying to get him on the field and with Tyeler Davison again a fixture inside at nose guard, he could start to get more playing time outside in a group that includes Todd Hunt, Claudell Louis and Nate Madsen. Hunt has started all six games, Madsen the past four.
"In an ideal world you'd like a longer guy, but he's a tough guy and he makes plays and bottom line that's what we need on the field guys that will go out and make plays consistently, not get knocked off the ball, play with good pad level," coach Tim DeRuyter said.
"Separation because of his arm length is a little tougher on him and his pass rush, he's more of a push guy than a speed guy off an edge. But those are the things you have to live with and we'll get more of our rush stuff outside of him anyway. But as a B and C gap defender, he's doing a nice job there."
Poyadue last week played about 14 snaps in a victory over San Diego State -- seven at nose guard and seven at defensive end. The rotation at those outside positions this week will go as the game flows - all have had their moments, good and bad, and the production has been solid. Hunt leads the defensive ends with 23 tackles including two tackles for loss, Madsen and Louis both have been in on seven tackles with 2.0 and 1.5 behind the line of scrimmage.
"He's still learning the position, but he's probably going to continue to rep at both and maybe ultimately get more reps at end," defensive line coach Pete Germano said, of Poyadue. "We have to get Ioane (Sagapolu) in the game, because Ioane can spell Tyeler at times. It's kind of still a work in progress. Sometimes it's how they're playing or what they're doing, what are the number of reps and how well we're playing defensively? Are we getting three-and-outs or are we getting long drives? How much do I have to sub them, how many plays are we getting? That has a lot to do with how the rotation goes. It's kind of a feel thing as we go.
"But we're in the process of developing depth and the reps are getting spread out this year a lot more than they were in the past. Nikko (Motta), Andy (Jennings) and Tyeler got the bulk of the reps last year, but now we're getting five and six guys into the game. I think that's developing depth and as we get into the second half of the season and hopefully into the postseason that's going to pay dividends for us.'
Run game looking for big impact
The Bulldogs' run game has churned out an average of 4.7 yards per play, which is right about where they were last season (4.8). They have run the ball about nine times a game more this season than last, and that number could go up a bit this week against the Rebels.
UNLV has allowed 292.5 rushing yards per game and is ranked 124th among 125 teams in the football bowl subdivision in rushing defense despite playing three teams ranked outside the Top 50 in rushing offense (San Diego State 51st, Houston 77th and San Jose State 83rd) and Northern Colorado, which is ranked only 94th in the championship subdivision.