Fresno State has senior Kyrian Obidiegwu taking reps at outside (Sam) linebacker rather than strong safety, and the plan is to keep him there for the remainder of the spring.
“He’s a very physical defensive back,” coach Tim DeRuyter said as the Bulldogs continued their opening week of spring practices Wednesday. ‘He has done a tremendous job for us in special teams. The more teams that we are playing that are spread, we’re going a lot more to nickel and he’s kind of that hybrid. He could be a nickel, could be a defensive back, could be a Sam linebacker, and so we wanted to try him there and see if he can help us out at that position. I think he has the skill set to do it.
“We’re going to see how it plays out. We know he has been in our program for a couple of years playing defensive back, so if he needs to go play safety he can do that. But in trying to get him an opportunity to get him on the field on base downs, not necessarily just special teams downs, this is going to give him an opportunity to show what he can do.”
Lazarus in the loop
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Sophomore linebacker Michael Lazarus, considered one of the top recruits in last year’s class, is expected to get on the field for some non-contact work before the end of the spring.
“He needs the reps,” defensive coordinator Nick Toth said of Berkeley High product. “His knowledge on the board in the meeting room in the morning, his knowledge when he’s standing next to me on the field when I’m talking to him about it, he knows. He’s definitely not where he was when he came in — he’s farther ahead than he was in the fall. But you can’t replace those reps, you can’t, and he’s going to miss 400 reps this spring. That is 400 reps that he needs.
“We’ll have to crank his sense of urgency up throughout the summer time. But as spring goes on he’s going to do more individual (drills). It won’t be contact, it will be individual, but he’ll get some of those drops on air and non-contact coverage. But the reps in live fire, you can’t replace those. He’s going to have to catch up.”
Anything that Lazarus gets during the spring will help.
“There’s no doubt. If he gets to play some 7-on-7’s, he’ll be able to make some progress there,” Toth said. “Trying to do some half-line pass stuff that’s very contained, he can make some progress there.’”
Around camp …
• Redshirt freshman Chris Moliga, moved to running back from linebacker this spring, is getting a chance to settle in some. “He’s still learning,” DeRuyter said. “He was a high school running back and also played defense, so he was a utility guy that we recruited. Some things he does natural, other things he’s having to work at. Protection wise, it’s all still new to him.”
• Fresno State will scrimmage for the first time Monday, though it has not yet determined how many plays will be run.
• The Bulldogs last summer held camps in the Los Angeles and Bay areas and could expand that this season. “We may do two down south,” DeRuyter said. “We had talked about maybe having one in the Inland Empire, one in the South Bay area and we may do even more. With the Central Section getting away from padded camps, it frees up a week for us and so we’re looking at different opportunities.”