Marcus McMaryion is now a quarterback at Fresno State, one of six at the position but on a fast track that could lead to a starting assignment at some point this season.
The transfer from Oregon State was cleared to join the team late Friday afternoon, spent some time in quarterback meetings that night and gleaned what he could from the Bulldogs’ second fall scrimmage Saturday.
As expected, the defense exerted itself this time, opening up more of its playbook while forcing two turnovers – the first a fumble off a crunching hit by linebacker Juju Hughes and the second an interception by safety Ka’Lonn Milton – and allowing just two touchdowns and five field goals.
McMaryion took part in individuals drills, then watched the scrimmage from the sideline in a green No. 6 jersey, listening to communications and calls through a headset.
“It’s going to take a minute to grasp the playbook for sure,” coach Jeff Tedford said. “I know he’ll work really hard with it and we’ll spend every minute we can with him to make sure he understands what’s going on.
“He has to go through the acclimatization period of just having a helmet on and get in shoulder pads. Each day he’ll get more and more and more and the goal is to definitely get him in a position to compete.”
McMaryion was not made available after the scrimmage – Fresno State does not allow freshmen and transfers to meet with the media until they have played in a game, the thought there that they have to do something on the field to have something to talk about.
But the Bulldogs will not waste time putting him in position to compete with returning starter Chason Virgil, a third-year sophomore who has been atop the depth chart since the spring.
McMaryion, in the NCAA acclimatization period, will be in a helmet and shorts again Sunday. When he takes the next step, after an off day, to helmet and shoulder pads Tuesday, he is expected to get reps while catching up in an offense that will for a while be a moving target.
The Bulldogs have had Virgil and junior college transfer Jorge Reyna taking reps with the No. 1 and No. 2 offenses and senior Christian Rossi working with the No. 3 unit.
McMaryion will be squeezed in there as he gains hold of the offense, and could pick off a rep or two in every team or 7-on-7 period with the first, second or third offenses.
“He has been in an offense that has some similar concepts to ours, so I feel like he picked some things up even from (Friday) night to (Saturday) morning just in our conversations and in our meetings,” offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer said. “But we’ll definitely be putting in some extra work and give him a chance to get in there.
“The competition in that room has ramped up now even more and I think that will bring out the best in all of them. That has been the case I think in some other position groups, where those groups have had to be their best, not that our guys have not been doing that, but I think more competition equals a better focus and extra work on being better on and off the field.”
The Bulldogs open Sept. 2 against Incarnate Word, a school from the championship subdivision, but could continue the quarterback competition into the season as McMaryion gains familiarity with the offense and skill players at wideout, running back and tight end.
Following the opener, Fresno State has tough, guarantee-money games at Alabama and Washington. But after that, there will be a chance to regroup during a bye week before starting Mountain West Conference play Sept. 30 against Nevada.
Competitiveness, arm and athleticism are not in question when it comes to McMaryion.
After the former Dinuba High star announced his intention to leave Oregon State as a graduate transfer last Sunday, Tedford said he did not have to dig up a lot of tape to decide whether he would be a good fit.
McMaryion made the second start of his career and the first of six last season in a loss at Washington, where Tedford was an offensive analyst.
“He’s very competitive. He’s a smart, competitive kid,” Tedford said. “He throws the ball really well, has good speed, an escape dimension. He has got the full package for sure.
“I’ve had the pleasure to watch him play when he was at Oregon State a few times. He did a great job. Now it’s time to get him in a position where he’s comfortable playing and he can play fast and he can play without having to think too much. But I have a lot of confidence in his skill and he’ll be in a great position to compete to play.”
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
Fresno State 2017 schedule
Home games at Bulldog Stadium
Sept. 2 vs. Incarnate Word, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 at Alabama, 12:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Sept. 16 at Washington, 6:30 p.m. (Pac-12)
Sept. 30 vs. Nevada, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 at San Jose State, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
Oct. 14 vs. New Mexico, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21 at San Diego State. 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Oct. 28 vs. UNLV, 7 p.m.
Nov. 4 vs. Brigham Young, TBA (ESPN networks)
Nov. 11 at Hawaii. 8 p.m.
Nov. 18 at Wyoming, 11 or 11:30 a.m.
Nov. 25 vs. Boise State, 12:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Other key dates
Saturday, Aug. 19: Scrimmage 3/Fan Appreciation Day (open to public)
Tuesday, Aug. 22: Classes start