Fresno State started the live portion of its scrimmage on Thursday with punt return drills.
Redshirt freshman receivers Keyan Williams, Jamire Jordan and KeeSean Johnson each took reps as the return man.
Jordan and Johnson had to call for a fair catch on their reps, and fielded the ball cleanly.
Williams got a chance to return and made a couple of nice moves to avoid contact, working his way 40 yards up the field.
Injured defenders get on field
Cornerback Charles Washington, who is working his way back from two surgeries to repair a core muscle injury, was able to take some 11 on 11 reps before the Bulldogs went live.
Strong safety DeShawn Potts, who is coming back from a foot injury suffered in the spring and is expected to provide some depth with starter Dalen Jones sidelined with a knee injury, also took part in the 11 on 11. Sophomore cornerback Malcolm Washington, who missed some time with a groin strain, got reps in the scrimmage.
With the threes and fours on the field, defensive coordinator Nick Toth caught a pass that was overthrown and headed for the bench. He took off up the sideline with defensive backs coach Marcus Woodson leading the way and showed some nice speed in scoring a touchdown. Toth got a flying chest bump from defensive graduate assistant Ricky Manning after the not-really-a-pick 6.
Greenlee: Film work paying off
Quarterback Zack Greenlee was on the field for three third-down plays, converting two into first downs – including a third-and-15. On that play, the third-year sophomore hit Williams for a 19-yard gain.
Greenlee’s work in the film room, he said, has improved significantly.
“I’ve learned so much. I’ve been around great guys like Derek Carr and Brandon Connette, a graduate transfer from Duke,” he said. “You learn a lot from those redshirt senior guys. They’re fifth-year guys. They’ve watched a lot of film, so you learn a lot from guys like that.
“Over these past two years, I attack film so much differently than when I first got here. I came out here and it’s college football, things were flying around and I was just worried about getting the ball snapped. It’s a little overwhelming when you first get here, but I’ve learned a lot.”
Spreading around the passes
The leading receiver in the scrimmage was Jordan with four receptions for 56 yards. Scott had two for 51 yards and a touchdown, and Johnson had two for 84 yards and a touchdown.
Stratton Brown scores a pick
Strong safety Stratton Brown, who moved up with the No. 1 defense when Jones was injured, had the first interception against junior transfer Ford Childress.
With the offense backed up to the goal line …
Childress and freshman Chason Virgil each ran a series with the offense backed up to the 1-yard line, needing a first down.
On the first play run by Childress, running back Malique Micenheimer took an inside handoff and ended up in a big collision with inside linebacker Kyrie Wilson for a gain of 2 yards. On second down, Childress misfired against a blitz, trying to get the ball to tight end Chad Olsen. On third down, he missed Micenheimer in the flat.
Virgil needed one play to get a first down, hitting freshman receiver L.J. Reed for a 15-yard gain. The pass appeared headed to the back shoulder, but was short and Reed adjusted in the air to bring down the ball against tight coverage by Tyquwan Glass.
Garrison flashes at RB
Running back Dustin Garrison had a nice run, making outside linebacker Justin Green miss in the backfield and breaking off a 13-yard gain.
Coach Tim DeRuyter on the scrimmage: “Making progress. We’ll go in and grade the tape. Obviously, in a scrimmage situation when it’s live, you get a chance to see guys be exposed a little bit. We saw some guys offensively make some explosive plays, defensively make some big plays. Quarterbacks have to take care of the ball better than we did today. Those things will be graded very sternly. All in all I think it was good, though. Our guys are getting closer to getting game ready, which is what we need to do.”