Fresno State Football

Fresno State hoping football practice switch spurs spring development

Head strength coach Joey Boese helps inside linebacker Jeff Camilli stretch during Fresno State’s annual Spring Showcase on March 28, 2015. The Bulldogs will revamp their workout regimen in 2016 to spread spring practices across five weeks rather than four while also adding an extra weight-training day per week.
Head strength coach Joey Boese helps inside linebacker Jeff Camilli stretch during Fresno State’s annual Spring Showcase on March 28, 2015. The Bulldogs will revamp their workout regimen in 2016 to spread spring practices across five weeks rather than four while also adding an extra weight-training day per week. THE FRESNO BEE

Sitting at 2-6 and 1-4 in the Mountain West Conference, it is clear that Fresno State is a program in need of development on the football field and in the weight room.

The Bulldogs this season have played 29 first-year players, including four true freshmen and 13 redshirt freshmen, a few of them being put into action well ahead of schedule and at a physical deficit in some conference matchups.

But coach Tim DeRuyter and his staff, while trying to gain some traction this season, are devising plans to maximize the training time they will have in the spring and also with offseason strength and conditioning that could accelerate the Bulldogs’ growth.

In past years, the Bulldogs have split up their 15 available spring practices by going four days a week for three weeks, then three days in the fourth week. But in 2016, they will be looking at practicing three days per week over a five-week span, which is expected to lead to a more productive spring.

“We’ll be practicing on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, having every other day so that there’s a rest period,” DeRuyter said. “You can have more physical practices. We’ll also have more meeting time because we’ll end up going over a period of five weeks as opposed to four weeks.

“I think for a young team there are big-time benefits. It’s an extra week with our players. We’ll get a chance to bang a little bit more. If you do have a nick, you’re not going back out there the next day, which you have to factor in when you’re going back-to-back days. Each year we’re trying to get better, trying to be smart about that year’s team, and I think going into the future this will be a good plan.”

The schedule also allows for more work in the weight room. When practicing Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, the Bulldogs had two lift days per week and eight over the course of the spring. Next spring, they will get an extra lift day per week for a total of 15 sessions over the five weeks.

My philosophy is, when you try to do too much, you’re not doing anything really, really well. So, that extra day will allow us to handle much more volume in there, which I think this team needs.

Joey Boese, Fresno State strength and conditioning on a beefed-up weight training schedule for spring 2016

“You’re adding one week, but you’re really doubling the number of lifts,” strength and conditioning coach Joey Boese said. “It will allow me to be more aggressive in the weight room as far as the development piece during that time, just because we’re going to get more opportunities to do it.

“Lifting twice a week is tough when you’re in that developmental phase. You’re trying to squeeze a bunch of things in there, and my philosophy is, when you try to do too much you’re not doing anything really, really well. So, that extra day will allow us to handle much more volume in there, which I think this team needs. The lifting part is huge. With where we’re at, we have a lot of young guys that just need that frequency in the weight room. Guys who lift a lot, they know there’s a big difference between going three days a week and two days a week.”

Fresno State, on a bye week ahead of a Nov. 5 game against Nevada at Bulldog Stadium, next year will have to replace three seniors on the offensive line in center Bo Bonnheim, left tackle Alex Fifita and right tackle Justin Northern. It also is losing senior defensive ends Todd Hunt and Claudell Louis.

The development of the young linemen in the program on both sides of the ball will be critical as they try to restore the balance at a number of position groups and stabilize the roster.

“As we looked at it, when you have a fairly young team, you want to develop those guys, and to have an extra week helps,” DeRuyter said. “When you have a fairly veteran team, you like the continuity of going a day after a day. There are a ton of different ways to do it and each year you try to figure out what’s going to be best for that team. We just felt with this team going three days a week over the five-week period is going to help us and help us from a strength development standpoint by getting an extra day in the weight room.

“Another big part of it, and it’s primarily a function of our school calendar, we’ll come back (after spring break) and we’ll have a five- or six-week period of solid lifting. Our coaches will have a jump on recruiting going forward and then our players will have that longer block of time to make some more strength gains.”

Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada

Bulldogs on bye

Fresno State (2-6, 1-4) and Nevada (4-4, 2-2) have breaks in their schedules this week before meeting at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 5 at Bulldog Stadium

Mountain West Conference standings

Conf.

All

West

W

L

PF

PA

W

L

PF

PA

San Diego State

4

0

127

42

5

3

219

151

San Jose State

3

2

136

138

4

4

221

221

Nevada

2

2

103

88

4

4

205

214

UNLV

1

2

78

81

2

5

198

192

Fresno State

1

4

89

196

2

6

168

327

Hawaii

0

4

61

141

2

6

136

254

Mountain

W

L

PF

PA

W

L

PF

PA

Boise State

3

1

156

76

6

2

304

138

Air Force

3

1

133

85

4

3

228

160

Utah St.

3

1

155

106

4

3

198

170

New Mexico

2

2

104

121

4

4

239

224

Colorado State

1

2

66

97

3

4

208

191

Wyoming

1

3

87

124

1

7

156

258

This week’s games

FRIDAY

Wyoming at Utah State, 7:15 p.m.

SATURDAY

Boise State at UNLV, 12:30 p.m.

San Diego State at Colorado State, 12:30 p.m.

Air Force at Hawaii, 7:30 p.m.

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