Bulldogs Right on Track in DeRuyter's Eyes

Aug. 9, 2012

By Jason Clay

FRESNO, Calif. - Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter said Thursday that he feels his team is on the course he hoped it would be through the first week of fall camp and he looks to see continued improvement and consistency from the Bulldogs.

"I think we are about where I expected," DeRuyter said. "I think our guys did a nice job of working in the summer, making improvements so that here in day seven our guys have a resemblance of consistency. We're not near where we need to be, but we are much, much more consistent than where we were in the spring.

"We still have work to do, but I'd say we are about on track."

Thursday's practice was yet another warm one in the Valley heat, but the Bulldogs pushed through and went live during the team portion at the end of practice for really the first time of camp.

The 'Dogs had been practicing at full speed, but with little to none tackling all the way to the ground. On Thursday, Fresno State went 100 percent full-go during all three team periods.

Accompanying the live action was a good chunk of work on the run game. Offensively, Fresno State excelled in third-and-short situations during practice.

"I feel like we are getting better each day," senior running back Robbie Rouse said about the offense. "The spring was a little timid for us because we were coming along learning the plays, but now everybody is starting to know the playbook inside and out, so we're getting people to run at a faster pace like [offensive coordinator Dave] Schramm wants us to play at."

The offense was clicking in the short-yardage drill, picking up nine-straight first downs on third downs of two yards or less. Rouse got it started by breaking a tackle in the backfield on the first play for a six-yard run.

Rouse hasn't seen a lot of action in camp, as the coaching staff has been trying to get the other tailbacks a bunch of reps.

Senior Milton Knox had a pair of quality runs in the short-yardage drill, including one where he eluded a defender and then bulled his way through several others to get a first down. Michael Harris broke off a 22-yard run on a third-and-two and Dillon Root and Marteze Waller also picked up first downs.

The defense, which did not do so well in the short-yardage situations, came back in the next team portion and fared much better. The defensive line stood its ground and the linebackers were able to flow and get to the running backs in another run dominated section of practice.

Other Practice Notes from Thursday
• Senior outside linebacker Shawn Plummer returned to practice Thursday after getting 15 stitches in his leg on Wednesday. Plummer got cleated in the shin while trying to block a field goal Wednesday. He was back to his normal self Thursday, blitzing as hard as ever off the edge and he had a tackle for a loss in the first team period of practice.

"He's a football player," DeRuyter said of Plummer. "You look it up in the dictionary, football player, that's him. He's a guy that grinds it out and doesn't let pain stop him."

• The coaching staff let quarterbacks Marcus McDade and Greg Watson split all the reps in the 7-on-7 passing drills. Those two are battling to be the back-up quarterback and DeRuyter said that as they get more reps, he hopes one will separate themself from the other.

• The start of Thursday's practice differed from most sessions. The team went right into a semi-scrimmage working on their tempo. After the high energy start, the Bulldogs hit a low during the 7-on-7 passing drills. DeRuyter sensed it and made the team do up-downs to relight the fire. After the adjustment, the team had a strong finish to practice.

• Former Bulldog Kevin Jordan (1997-00) came out to watch practice on Thursday. At Wednesday's evening session Bernard Berrian (1999-03) and Ryan Colburn (2009-10) were watching the 'Dogs. Head coach Tim DeRuyter has an open door for all former Bulldogs that want to come back and check out the team.

"Discover Fresno State Football" - Fresno State season tickets are now on sale for as low as $140, less than $24 per game, through the Bulldog Ticket Office, online at GoBulldogs.com and can be purchased over the phone at 559-278-DOGS. Remember to vote every day for Fresno State at www.ESPN.com/CollegeColorsDay and wear your Bulldog red on Aug. 31 for College Colors Day.