'Dogs Push Forward in Fall Camp
Aug. 13, 2012 By Jason Clay
By Jason Clay
|Head Coach Tim DeRuyter after Monday's first practice
|Defensive Coordinator Nick Toth after Monday's first practice
Monday morning's session went for two-and-a-half hours, splitting time on the practice fields and in Bulldog Stadium. The evening practice, which will be the 13th of fall camp, will be yet another hot one in the Valley heat with the forecast calling for temperatures around 107 degrees.
Head coach Tim DeRuyter said that this is an important week for his team to make strides and he looks for improved consistency from both sides of the ball.
During Saturday's scrimmage, the Bulldog defense looked like a drastically improved unit from the 2011 squad that allowed over 35 points and 435 yards of offense per game. The attacking 3-4 defense installed by DeRuyter and defensive coordinator Nick Toth was swarming the ball during Saturday's scrimmage.
"I liked how we played the run, except for a couple quarterback scrambles, but I think we played the run pretty well," Toth said. "We would have hit the quarterback probably about 14 or 15 times on Saturday and that number is about what we are looking for. So I was happy about those things."
At Monday's first practice, Toth's defense was able to come away with a pair of interceptions. Strong safety Phillip Thomas intercepted Greg Watson and returned it for a touchdown in the very first team session and cornerback Sean Alston intercepted Derek Carr later in practice.
Minus those interceptions, Carr and Watson both had very strong practices leading the offense.
Carr, who was 16-for-20 passing for 136 yards in limited work during Saturday's scrimmage, continues to take what the defense is giving him. In the last 7-on-7 session before going into the team portion of practice Monday morning, Carr was 8-for-8 passing and he hit six different receivers.
The most impressive pass of the day was when he connected with Marcel Jensen up the middle on a throw that split the linebacker and safety while hitting Jensen in stride for a gain of over 25 yards.
Watson's practice was his best of fall camp and he continues his battle with Marcus McDade for the back-up quarterback position. Watson threw the ball well in the 7-on-7 drills and did a good job leading the second team when he was working with them during the team periods.
Fresno State went through a number of various situations during those team sessions Monday morning.
The first and second teams each had two opportunities working on sustaining drives up the field. One session featured Fresno State working out of its own end zone, starting on the one-yard line. Then the Bulldogs even worked on overtime scenarios.
The kicking game is another area DeRuyter wants to see strides from this week. Senior Andrew Shapiro, who has handled the punting duties for the 'Dogs the last two seasons, has also been working on field goals during camp. He connected on field goals of 37 and 42 yards Monday.
"His demeanor, he's been in the games before and he's a senior. He's got a strong leg," DeRuyter explained were some of the characteristics he likes about Shapiro as a kicker. "Watching him kick out there today, he's not fazed by a situation."
After Monday, Fresno State has 16 practices remaining before opening up the season at home on Sept. 1 against Weber State.
"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.