Fresno State suffered some summer setbacks with its incoming freshmen, which may impact reps for two position groups in fall camp.
Offensive lineman Netane Muti and linebacker Tainoa Foster, who were expected to compete for playing time, are out for the season with leg injuries that required surgery. Outside linebacker Lukas McKenzie also will miss some time with a leg injury. All were hurt in offseason noncontact drills.
“They will both be redshirted this year and be in rehab,” coach Tim DeRuyter said of Muti and Foster. “We will have them in training camp so they can learn our offensive and defensive schemes as we get them through rehab, but they won’t be playing this year.
“There is some good news on Lukas – good news, bad news, I guess … he still hurt his lower leg. But talking to the doctors, they don’t believe it is going to be a surgical-type injury. They think that through rehab, hopefully, in a couple of weeks he’ll be ready to go.”
It’s a concern. It’s something we talk about all the time. I think you really have to be conscious of the reps because we won’t have four-deep where you just roll guys through.
Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter on team depth, which took a hit on the offensive line and at linebacker after injuries to three freshmen
The Bulldogs open fall camp Thursday, and two priorities are to develop depth on the offensive line and at outside linebacker, where the numbers are down a bit.
Fresno State has a returning starter at center in senior Jacob Vazquez and at left guard in junior Aaron Mitchell, and sophomore right guard Micah St. Andrew played a lot of reps in starting five games.
But depth behind sophomore left tackle Christian Cronk and junior right tackle David Patterson is in development, and the 6-foot-3, 295-pound Muti was to play into the team’s options.
“It’s a concern. It’s something we talk about all the time,” DeRuyter said. “I think you really have to be conscious of the reps because we won’t have four-deep where you just roll guys through.
“We’ll obviously be conscious of that and it’s going to be of paramount importance for us to find out who our starting five is going to be and then those next two or three guys and keep those guys healthy.”
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
Fresno State football key dates
- Today: Players report for fall; first of 29 preseason practices is Thursday
- Sept. 3: Season opener at Nebraska, 5 p.m.
- Sept. 10: Home opener vs. Sacramento State, 7 p.m.