Fresno State opened fall camp at the quarterback position the same way it ended the spring, with Zack Greenlee, Kilton Anderson and Chason Virgil splitting reps fairly evenly throughout practice.
Ford Childress, the junior transfer who started his college career at West Virginia and is the most experienced of the four, was finishing up a class and was not in practice Thursday.
He could be on the field Friday, but an athletic department source said it is possible Childress will have to complete a second course to meet NCAA requirements and not be declared eligible to play until the first week of September, which would force some alterations to the way the Bulldogs go about finding their starting quarterback.
The plan was for all four quarterbacks to get reps early in camp, but if Childress is not eligible into September the Bulldogs will likely focus on getting Greenlee, Anderson or Virgil the reps to be ready for the start of the season. Fresno State opens on Sept. 3 against Abilene Christian at Bulldog Stadium.
“Right now, we know that he’s finishing up this class. He’ll be at practice. But there’s still some discussion over what will actually transfer,” coach Tim DeRuyter said.
If Childress is on the practice field Friday — he can practice while working through the eligibility issue — he will join a group that moved forward coming out of the spring and summer workouts.
All three on Thursday appeared to get through the mental gears with a minimum of operator error, though the physical execution was not always as sharp as it will have to be. There were times the football was delivered a bit wildly and well off target.
The Bulldogs did have much less offense installed for the first day of fall camp than they did even for the first day of practice back in the spring, which no doubt helped.
Greenlee is a redshirt sophomore with 41 career passes attempted, Anderson is a redshirt freshman and Virgil a true freshman.
“We’re going to go slower, try to help those guys out,” offensive coordinator Dave Schramm said. “We’re awful young outside, too, so we’ll help those guys out as well. We have to bring the wides along, we have to bring them along. We’re not seeing any blitzes or anything like that yet, so it can look like that when you don’t have to worry about getting protected.”
The quarterbacks will continue to split reps working toward the first scrimmage of camp, which is scheduled for the second of a two-a-day session on Aug. 13. Fresno State will also scrimmage on Aug. 20 and Aug. 24 before getting into game prep.
“We’re still very minimal as to what we’re doing, but there are things that show up,” Schramm said. “What did you do this summer? Did you work? Did you not work? Did you think you were working and you really weren’t working? Most of the time, until we get into pads, the first three or four days we’re trying to break some bad habits because they’ve been out there doing it on their own.
“If we can make the jump to the time camps ends that we made in the spring, from the time spring started to the time spring ball ended, we’ll be fine. Just how we operate and what we do, it was like they’ve done it before, which they have. Now they have to build on it.”
Et cetera: The Bulldogs’ practice on Saturday will be open to season ticket holders. They are scheduled to be on the field from 8:25 a.m. to 11 a.m., practicing in helmets and shoulder pads for the first time in camp.