Fresno State redshirt freshman strong safety DeShawn Potts, who has participated in individual and noncontact drills this week as he works his way back from a foot injury suffered in the spring, is expected to be cleared for contact at the start of next week.
“He’s ready to go,” defensive coordinator Nick Toth said Friday. “He’s going to be right where we want him to be. I’m looking forward to seeing him down the ball.”
Potts’ return gives the Bulldogs some additional depth, which obviously took a hit when starting strong safety Dalen Jones went down with a knee injury.
They have senior Shannon Edwards working with the ones at free safety, junior Stratton Brown at strong safety and junior college transfer Alan Wright on the field in nickel situations.
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“It’s going to be interesting what we get to be able to do here because we’re adding some pieces to the mix that we weren’t counting on quite as early and some young guys that have stepped up,” Toth said. “We’re going to see. There’s a lot of different combinations to get the best 11 football players on the field. The other thing that’s really important, you can’t just play 11. We’re better when the 11 we’re playing are fresh and so maybe it’s not moving guys around to different positions, but maybe splitting reps more during games. I think that’s the fastest thing to do, say, ‘You’re a one, but after five pays the next guy is coming in.’ That should keep us attacking the way we want to attack.”
Looking back on two that got away
The defense had a solid scrimmage Thursday, racking up nine sacks and tackling well. There also were two big plays, one from a busted coverage.
Toth on the scrimmage, one day later:
“I liked the pressure we were able to put on the quarterback. I was pleased about that. Our situational awareness hurt us a couple of times. We had a third-and-long and the rookie corner didn’t understand the situation. He played it like it was any other third down, and that hurt us. We had that blown coverage that hurt us on a long pass. Those two plays hurt my overall opinion of how we played. If we played those two plays better, then I think we’re right on track.
“The good thing about both those things that happened was that both those kids were first-time players for us, so hopefully, hopefully, that proves the point to them. That’s what scrimmage number two really should be. Scrimmage number one, you want to see the competing, trying to be physical, play with tempo. Scrimmage number two, you want to incorporate a lot of situational football and really play the game. The call can only do so much. The guy has to go out there and understand the game. But I think we accomplished everything that we needed to accomplish.”
▪ Redshirt freshman guard Jacob Hicks came out of the scrimmage with a foot injury, so the Bulldogs slid tackle Bobby Johnson inside to take reps with the No. 2 offense. “He’s an athletic guy that can play multiple positions,” coach Tim DeRuyter said. “I’ll look at the tape, but we had to slide him in at guard today. I think he’s still more of a tackle, but I like his skill set. I think he can play any one of the four positions. In an ideal world, that’s what we try to do, get younger guys who can play tackle, but you can plug them in at guard if you need to.”
▪ Cornerback Charles Washington continued to take on a little more work on the practice field, coming back from two offseason surgeries to repair a core muscle injury.
▪ Malcolm Washington, who missed time with a groin strain, is back.
▪ The kicking competition between sophomore Kody Kroening and junior college transfer Jimmy Camacho continues to pique curiosity. Kroening has come back hitting the ball much more consistently and with a stronger leg than he had a year ago. Camacho has the stronger leg, but has been less consistent. “I have some tough decisions to make,” special teams coordinator Pete Germano said. “I might go short and long, I don’t know.”
▪ The Bulldogs finished practice about 15 minutes early after getting in some situational work. “We had a really physical scrimmage (Thursday) so we wanted to go through situations – our blitz pick-up and we have a little bit more game plan specific things,” DeRuyter said. “We went a little bit of ones versus twos, twos versus ones (on offense and defense) to get the looks we’re looking for. We’re still mentally trying to get our guys to be 100 percent as far as decision making. We’re not there yet, obviously, but I thought our guys had good focus and pretty good energy for coming off a pretty physical scrimmage.”