Fresno State Football

Freshman standouts will make for some tough two-deep calls in Bulldogs secondary

Bulldogs’ Grubb on turning around scrimmage turnovers

The Fresno State Bulldogs college football team had a few problems with turnovers in their second scrimmage of fall camp, several coming on passes tipped at the line of scrimmage. Offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb broke down some of the issues.
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The Fresno State Bulldogs college football team had a few problems with turnovers in their second scrimmage of fall camp, several coming on passes tipped at the line of scrimmage. Offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb broke down some of the issues.

The Fresno State Bulldogs went through a light practice on Sunday night coming out of their second scrimmage of fall camp, did some correction, some special teams.

Coach Jeff Tedford and his offensive and defensive staffs this week will start to put a depth chart together for an Aug. 31 opener at USC, and there will be some tough calls to make on who goes to the two-deep and who goes to scout teams.

Here are some three things from practice …

Defensive secondary filled with young talent

The Bulldogs defense has been solid throughout fall camp, but there are some depth questions, particularly in a secondary filled with talented freshmen.

Cornerback Deshawn Ruffin, the Sunnyside High product, got a jump by joining the program in the spring as a grayshirt and has been with the No. 2 defense through camp. That group also includes true freshmen Reggie Strong, Deven Jarvis, Myles Martin, Randy Jordan and Evan Williams.

Junior cornerback Deonte Perry got some No. 1 reps last week, and the Bulldogs also are evaluating safety L.J. Early, a late add from Bakersfield College.

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Fresno State cornerback Deshawn Ruffin Keith Kountz FRESNO STATE ATHLETICS

The freshmen all got a lot of snaps in the scrimmage.

“We have to get those guys in there because we’re going to need their help,” defensive coordinator Bert Watts said.

“We’re still working it out, but some of those guys are going to have to play for us, so we have to get them those quality reps, especially against the ones. We’ll look at the scrimmage and see who stood out. At the end of the day it becomes the guys that can execute the most and make those plays and not seem like they’re a rookie out there.”

More on Evan Williams

Williams was a late add to the Bulldogs’ signing class out of Saint Francis High in Mountain View. His father played at Cal, and a brother is at College of San Mateo.

The Bulldogs were evaluating Williams through a big senior season as a wideout and at safety.

“We saw his senior tape and knew we had to get him on the team,” Watts said.

“He’s doing a really good job,” Tedford said. “He’s a really smart guy. has really good football savvy. He’s a really hard worker and has caught on to out defense really fast and he has done a nice job of making some plays.”

Offensive line down to two spots

Offensive coordinator and line coach Ryan Grubb said there are three spots locked down with Syrus Tuitele at right tackle, Matt Smith at center and Netane Muti at left guard.

Muti, who started camp at left tackle, has made a difference in the run game inside.

“We saw that on a couple of the goal-line, short-yardage plays where he’s moving the pile and we’re jumping right behind him,” Grubb said.

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Fresno State redshirt sophomore Quireo Woodley is expected to play a key role as the center on a Bulldogs’ offensive line that has to replace four starters from a 12-2 team. The Bulldogs’ offensive has thrived the past two seasons with veteran center Aaron Mitchell in 2017 and Micah St. Andrew and Markus Boyer in 2018. Keith_Kountz FRESNO STATE ATHLETICS

The open spots are right guard and left tackle, and Muti has not been ruled out of the mix outside. But the Bulldogs will get a chance to work some different combinations with Quireo Woodley and Dontae Bull expected back in practice this week after missing time with injuries.

Both have experience working at guard and tackle.

The Bulldogs have had Nick Abbs working mostly at right guard. Nick Aibuedefe has worked at right and left guard and has been at left tackle with the No. 1 offense since Muti was moved inside to guard, where he started all 14 games in 2017. UCLA transfer Alex Akingbulu has been with the No. 2 offense at left tackle.

“We’ll see,” Grubb said. “It’s close, but at the same time there’s practice time available still. But it’s getting down to that time where you have to start making some decisions and sometimes decisions are pairing up the right guys for the final phase of the competition. ‘Hey guys, OK, it’s you or them, this is where we’re at ...’

“The guys know, too, it’s week one, game one. It’s a year-long competition. Guys have to earn their spot weekly and show that they’re going to be the guy that’s going to show up every week and be the same guy. They know that, though.”

Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
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