Fresno State football coach Tim DeRuyter had hoped to get in 70 plays during the team’s first scrimmage of spring practice.
He got more than that.
The Bulldogs ran 75 to 80 plays Monday morning, with the defense mostly dominating. The offense got a couple first downs but only one touchdown, on a pass by redshirt freshman quarterback Kilton Anderson to redshirt freshman receiver KeeSean Johnson.
“I think our guys are competing well,” DeRuyter said. “A lot of sloppy things. It’s our first scrimmage; it’s only day five.”
No player got hurt during the scrimmage, “which is always key,” DeRutyer said.
“I think our guys are progressing on schedule,” he said. “We still have 29 practices in the fall. We’ve just to to make sure we find out who our core guys are going to be going in. Make sure those guys understand our schemes so they can play very fast come fall.”
DeRuyter added none of the three quarterbacks — Anderson, sophomore Zack Greenlee and freshman Chason Virgil — distanced himself from the others during the scrimmage but the coach continues to like what he sees from Virgil.
“I’ve been impressed with Chason, the way he’s picking things up,” DeRutyer said. “He’s blown some assignments, but he’s shown some really good poise.”
Highlights from the scrimmage included:
• The defense came up with several “sacks” (QBs are off-limits to actual hitting), including by starters Todd Hunt and Nathan Madsen and backups Kyle Hendrickson and Stephen Van Hook.
• The Bulldogs ran double tight-end sets with Chad Olsen, Kyle Riddering and David Tangipa rotating. Each had a catch.
• The best hits came from Anthouia Kelly on Olsen and Stratton Brown on James Noble III and two backups. The hard hits by the defensive backs caught former coach Pat Hill’s attention.
• Senior Marteze Waller was held out and the running back duties were shared by Chris Moliga (a converted linebacker) and walk-on James Noble.
• The offense committed one turnover, a fumble by Moliga.
Olsen said he liked the different pace Monday compared to since spring practice began March 2.
“Really good work … more game speed instead of practice speed,” the sophomore from Chico said. “We were finally able to to start cutting guys on defense, which when you’re talking about blocking a linebacker who is flying outside on outside zone play, being able to cut is huge. It’s good to be able to work on those skills that you can’t work in just a normal practice.”
The next scrimmage is March 16, DeRuyter said.