Bulldogs to Begin Spring Football on Monday

Feb. 22, 2013

By Jason Clay

FRESNO, Calif. - The Fresno State football team begins spring football on Monday with its first of 15 allotted practices.

Coming off a 9-4 season in which the Bulldogs won the Mountain West championship and earned a berth in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl, this spring much like every spring will be key in the development of the program.

"Spring ball is a time for guys to come and earn a position," said head coach Tim DeRuyter, who is entering his second season with the Bulldogs. "We've got quite a few guys that played a lot last year, but we got some guys that redshirted last year and this is going to be their time to earn a position.

"That's the exciting thing about spring football. You don't have to worry about games; you don't have to worry about the offense beating the defense or the defense beating the offense. It's about developing a team and finding out who can play."

Fresno State returns seven starters on offense and eight on defense, but DeRuyter feels that there are some crucial positions on both sides of the ball where holes need to be filled.

"We really have to shore up our offensive line and feel better about our depth there," DeRuyter said. "We're still looking for a back-up quarterback that we can depend on and obviously with Phillip Thomas leaving, a safety spot is going to be critical to come in and we got some good, young talent that I think has a chance to compete for a spot there.

"Then at the running back, replacing Robbie Rouse is going to be tough, but we got a couple of really good, young candidates that are going to have the chance to prove in scrimmages this spring if they are worthy of being the next guy."

Quarterback Derek Carr, the 2012 Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year, returns to lead the offense. The coaching staff will be looking to see how sophomore-to-be Marcus McDade and redshirt freshman Myles Carr develop. Fresno State also added junior college transfer Brian Burrell, who will compete with the others for the back-up spot behind Carr this spring.

Competition will be the name of the game and for the Bulldogs. After losing two starters on the offensive line, the 'Dogs added two junior college transfers in Patrick Kim and Josh Tremblay into the mix with the likes of Lars Bramer, Mike Saenz, James Le'au, Alex Fifita and a host of other lineman who look to establish themselves heading into fall camp.

Defensively, Fresno State has to fill two starting linebacker spots - one on the inside and one outside - along with filling the shoes left by unanimous All-America safety Phillip Thomas. Rodney Mathews, a safety from Citrus College, will be vying for playing time with a group of younger players.

Again, the key there as it is all across the team is competing to earn a spot.

"Spring's always fun, it's just a chance to see who has grown in the last year," DeRuyter said. "Let's put the balls out and see how it goes."

Fresno State will practice on Monday's, Wednesday's, Friday's and Saturday's for the first three weeks of spring ball. Practices will be held from 8:10-10:30 a.m. and are closed to the public.

During the fourth and final week of spring football, the 'Dogs will go on Monday, Friday and then The Real California Milk Spring Game is set for Saturday, March 23 at noon inside Bulldog Stadium.

The spring game is free and open to the public and there will be a host of events held that day in connection with the game, beginning at 10:30 a.m.

Season tickets for the 2013 season are now on sale for as low as $140 and be ordered over the phone at 278-DOGS, online at gobulldogs.com or by stopping by the Bulldog Ticket Office located at the South gate of Bulldog Stadium.

"Discover Fresno State Football" - 2013 Fresno State football season tickets are now on sale and can be ordered online at gobulldogs.com or over the phone at 559-278-DOGS (3647).