With the first scrimmage of fall camp one day away, Fresno State went through a shorter practice in helmets and shoulder pads Friday morning and kicker Jimmy Camacho made sure that it didn’t go any longer than was necessary and the legs would be just a little bit fresher for the live work to come.
Coach Tim DeRuyter dialed up the pressure on his special-teamers for the first time at the end of the practice, having Camacho attempt a field goal from 42 yards with his teammates circled around him and making a bit of noise. There was also some extra running at stake if he missed the kick.
Camacho nailed it.
“That was good to see,” DeRuyter said. “Jimmy has had a really good spring and so far fall camp. We wanted to put some pressure on him. The team was going to run – there’s a consequence if he didn’t hit it. We had everybody circling him, trying to get in his head. We called a timeout. And he hit it like it was no big deal from 42 yards out. I reminded our team, we may need that to go beat Nebraska in Lincoln. We need everybody to step up to make plays and he made a play today.”
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Fresno State converted 8 of 12 field goal tries in 2015 – Kody Kroening going 6 for 8 and Jimmy Camacho 2 for 4.
The Bulldogs will have a first-year long snapper and punter this season, with Dylan Detwiler and Garrett Swanson having graduated from school.
Senior Justin Verrell is in competition to be the Bulldogs’ long snapper with freshmen Patrick Williams Jr. and Jacob Westberry, and Blake Cusick is leading the competition at punter.
“We’ve obviously got to put (Cusick) and the other punters in some pressure situations and we may do that a little bit in the scrimmage,” DeRuyter said.
Freshman down – Results of an MRI on freshman running back Deonte Perry were not as good as the Bulldogs had hoped. He is scheduled for surgery next week and likely out for the year.
Perry will be the third Bulldogs running back to have surgery since the start of fall camp – junior Dontel James had a procedure on his knee Friday and Justin Rice earlier had surgery to repair a fractured bone in his foot.
A timeline for James’ return was to be set following his surgery. Rice is out six to eight weeks and likely to take a redshirt this season.
Scrimmage plan – The Bulldogs were scheduled to run about 100 plays in Saturday’s scrimmage and all four quarterbacks were expected to get reps, with redshirt freshman Chason Virgil starting off with the ones as he has through fall camp.
Everything is up, no holding back
Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward on how much of playbook will be used in scrimmage
“We’d like to work all four (quarterbacks),” DeRuyter said. “We’re a little thin in the offensive line, at running back, and at linebacker right now. Hopefully we’ll stay healthy throughout the scrimmage, but we need to get some good work in.”
They also planned to work all phases of special teams.
The scrimmage, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. inside Bulldog Stadium, was open to the public. There was no charge, and the first 300 were offered a free 2016 schedule poster.
Et cetera – The Bulldogs ran through some situations in practice, but started with a competitive period with the Nos. 1 and 2 offenses trying to gain two first downs and the defense obviously trying to scuttle those drives.
Virgil took the reps with the No. 1 offense and it didn’t get far. Dejonte O’Neal ran the ball on three consecutive plays and fell short of a first down.
Graduate transfer Zach Kline worked the No. 2s and made two outstanding throws. The first one went to junior Darrell Fuery, going for a gain of 35 yards. The second came on third down and went to Da’Mari Scott over the middle of the field. It was a first down and likely a touchdown, but Scott dropped the pass.
▪ The Bulldogs’ defense, coordinator Lorenzo Ward said, will have a full playbook for the scrimmage.
“Everything is up, no holding back,” he said.
“I think we’re on track, but this will be the first big test. This will be the first time we go all out. We’ve had certain periods that are live in practice and we can ramp it up for that, but we’ll see if we can do it all the time.”
▪ Virgil has taken good care of the football so far in camp, throwing one interception. The defense almost got him Friday – twice. Inside (Will) linebacker Robert Stanley and cornerback Jamal Ellis both had their hands on passes, but couldn’t pull them in.
▪ Redshirt freshman corner Mike Bell and redshirt freshman safety Jalen Smith did have picks in a 7-on-7 period, – Bell against freshman James Quentin Davis and Wright against junior Christian Rossi.
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
Fresno State football key dates
Saturday: Scrimmage No. 1 (open to public)
Aug. 20: Scrimmage No. 2
Aug. 26: Scrimmage No. 3
Sept. 3: Season opener at Nebraska, 5 p.m.
Home games in CAPS
Sept. 3: at Nebraska, 5 p.m., (Big Ten Network)
Sept. 10: SACRAMENTO STATE, 7 p.m.
Sept. 17: at Toledo, noon (ESPN3)
Sept. 24: TULSA, 1:30 p.m. (MWN)
Oct. 1: at UNLV, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Oct. 8: at Nevada, TBA (ESPN network TBD)
Oct. 14: SAN DIEGO STATE, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
Oct. 22: at Utah State, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Oct. 28: AIR FORCE, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Nov. 5: at Colorado State, 12:30 p.m. (ROOT SPORTS/MWN)
Nov. 12: BYE
Nov. 19: HAWAII, 4 p.m.
Nov. 26: SAN JOSE STATE, 12:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Dec. 3: Mountain West Championship, TBA