Fresno State opened spring football practices on Monday and with 16 offensive linemen available the Bulldogs were able to do some tinkering, trying to add some explosion to a running game that last season had only six rushing plays of 20 or more yards.
Netane Muti, a starter at left guard, was taking reps at left tackle. Christian Cronk, who started at left tackle, was at right tackle. Micah St. Andrew, the right guard, took reps at center. Freshman Marc-David Bien-Amie was with the No. 1 line at left guard and Syrus Tuitele was at right guard.
That lineup could add some pop to a line that protected the passer well and led the Mountain West and was tied for third in the nation in tackles for loss allowed with 46.0.
“We’re experimenting with a few things,” coach Jeff Tedford said.
Allison injured –Mike linebacker Jeffrey Allison, the Bulldogs’ leading tackler last season with 79 solo tackles and 126 total tackles, is out for the spring following a shoulder surgery.
Allison is expected to be a full-go by fall camp.
A first for McMaryion – Quarterback Marcus McMaryion started his first spring practice with the Bulldogs – after completing 62.1 percent of his passes for 2,726 yards with 14 touchdowns last season.
“During the offseason I think the biggest thing was just getting to know the players,” said McMaryion, who joined the team during fall camp as a graduate transfer from Oregon State. “I think over the break, whether I was hanging out with guys at barbeques, it’s just getting to know everyone. I think that was a big thing we did in the offseason, just getting to know the guys on and off the field.”
Hokit back – Josh Hokit, who last week finished fifth at the Big 12 wrestling championships, will be brought back into football slowly.
Hokit, who led the Bulldogs with seven rushing touchdowns last season and also threw for two touchdowns, did some individual drills and light work after practice with strength and conditioning coach Andy Ward.
“We’re taking it slow,” Tedford said. “I really want him to take some time and as much as anything I’d love for him to get a break mentally. He went from a Dec. 24 game to wrestling in his first meet on Jan. 7, lost 20 pounds in the meantime. But it’s all the practice, it’s all the grind. There was never any down time for him. Everybody has to have a decompression time.”
Hokit played last season at 220 pounds and wrestled at 197. What’s the first thing he did after coming home from the Big 12 meet in Tulsa, Okla.?
“I ate ice cream,” he said.
What’s next – The Bulldogs have 15 practices over the next five weeks, taking off the week of March 26 for spring break. The only practice that’s open to the public is the Spring Preview, April 14 at 10:30 a.m.