Nearing the halfway point of its spring practice schedule, the Fresno State football team narrowed its focus a bit Wednesday morning at Bulldog Stadium.
Still dressed in full pads and helmet, it was another no-tackle day for the Bulldogs and a chance to work on what coach Tim DeRuyter said wa “mental work.”
“A lot of install,” DeRuyter said. “But our guys are still practicing fast.”
A lot of that “install” came at wide receiver, where a rather young group features only two seniors inJustin Johnson and Aaron Peck.
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There are nine underclassmen, including six redshirt freshmen.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that we know coming out at practice who’ve got a lot of talent but they just haven’t had the opportunity on Saturdays where people are going to see them,” DeRuyter said.
“Anytime you got an opportunity to redshirt you’re going to be lifting a little more than the guys who are going through. But you get the chance to understand our offense and go through our offseason program, so that at this point in the year you have an idea and you’re physically bigger and stronger and faster to compete,” he added.
It showed in drills as redshirt junior Michael Martens knocked down assistant coach Phil Earley while running a route. Earley was harassing receivers by bumping them with a shield pad.
DeRuyter hopes that competition will drive his veterans.
“This is their senior year. This is their opportunity to lead. It’s up to them to set the standard. The big thing, especially with Aaron, is being consistent. He’s got ability. He’s shown flashes at times. But we’ve got to see consistency out of him.”
Defensively, the practice was a positive one for the Bulldogs.
Offensively, it was a different story with a number of players having trouble holding on to the football.
“We’ve got to do a good job of protecting the ball,” DeRuyter said. “One side is doing good, one side is doing bad. It’s great for the defense going after the ball and getting strips, but the offense has got to do a better job. Both sides of the ball there's not enough consistency, yet. I like the progress we’re making, but we have ways to go to be consistent enough.”