Bulldog Linebackers Stepping Up

March 13, 2013

By: Matt Burkholder

Post-Practice Interviews
Defensive Coordinator Nick Toth

FRESNO, Calif. - The Fresno State football team, as every other football team across the nation, is working through spring practices searching to fill the gaps left behind from graduation. For the 'Dogs and the progress of solidifying their new linebacking core, Karl Mickelson and Kyrie Wilson are making the most of their opportunity to step up and fill the void after losing some key components from last year's team.

"Every now and then in your coaching career you see a kid when I light bulb goes on and all of a sudden they get something," said defensive coordinator Nick Toth. "That's happened this spring to Karl."

"He's studying the game, he's getting in extra time on his own, he watching video, he's leading and he's not just worried about himself. There aren't many days when Karl walks off the field saying he had a bad day."

As for Wilson, the sophomore linebacker has learned to be more vocal on the field as needed to play the inside linebacker position.

"Kyrie is talking more, which is making him a better player," said Toth. "When guys are forced to talk and verbalize things, they have to think about other people around them. That's a huge thing for an inside linebacker, you cannot be special until you're able to handle the people around you."

Two key returners who are helping set an example for Mickelson and Wilson along the way are seniors Jeremiah Toma and Patrick S'ua. Both who have a combined 29 career starts between the two of them.

"It's great to have those two guys out there for the younger guys," said Toth. "Having S'ua on the field right now is like having an extra coach out there for us. He's knows the playbook as good as anybody."

The Bulldogs finished up its 10th practice of 15 allotted spring sessions on Wednesday and from Toth's eyes, he seen a progression from all of his linebackers as each day unfolds. From the first-team to individuals such as Brock Carmen who converted to linebacker from safety this spring.

Although what impresses Toth as much as the on the field success he enjoys, is the student-athletes' performance off of it.

"What's most impressive about all of them is off the field they're all taking care of business," said Toth. "They go to class and get good grades."

"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).