Kicking Game Shows Improvement

Aug. 15, 2012

By Jason Clay
jaclay@csufresno.edu
GoBulldogs.com

FRESNO, Calif. - The Fresno State football team completed its 15 practice of the season on Wednesday and is now past the halfway point of fall camp. The Bulldogs have 14 practices remaining before opening up the season on Sept. 1 at home against Weber State.

Wednesday's practice was highlighted by the Bulldog kicking crew, as head coach Tim DeRuyter says he's seen the group start to exhibit confidence.

Senior Andrew Shapiro, junior Blake Dunn, redshirt freshman Quentin Breshears and walk-on freshman Garrett Swanson are all competing to be the Bulldogs' kicker on field goals and PATs this season.

"Our kicking game was coming around a little bit better today - that was good to see," DeRuyter said. "We put our guys in a walk-off field goal situation where they win it or lose it and Quentin hit a 45-yarder to win the game. That was really, really good to see."

Breshears' 45-yard field goal ended practice on a high note for the team. It capped off the final team period where the Bulldogs were in a third-and-11 with 23 seconds on the clock. The second team offense was unable to pick up a first down, but Breshears came in and made the winning kick in that situation.

DeRuyter attributed the improvement in the kicking game to the hard work that they've put in.

"It takes a little while to get in a rhythm and I think we are finally getting there," he said. "We want to put guys in situations where they can have success and so mentally they start getting confidence when they are put in those situations."

Breshears and Dunn handled all the kicks on Wednesday, but Shapiro and Swanson have been getting their opportunities as well. Shapiro has shown to be the most consistent kicker with the strongest leg, but both Dunn and Breshears had good days Wednesday.

Dunn was 3-for-4 on his live field goal attempts during the special teams period of practice. His long was from 42 yards out and he missed on a 45-yard attempt.

Breshears was also 3-for-4 during the special teams period, also drilling a long of 42 and missing from 45. However, he redeemed that 45-yarder at the end of practice in the situation where his kick was to win the game.

Outside of the kicking game, DeRuyter thought both the offense and defense made plays in Wednesday's practice.

"I thought we had pretty good focus today," DeRuyter said. "Offensively, we moved the ball pretty well. Defensively at times we came up with some big stops, so it was a good back and forth overall practice."

Derek Carr had two TD passes during 7-on-7 drills to Josh Harper and Rashad Evans and Marcus McDade connected with Ryan O'Leary for a TD.

In the team portion, Carr connected with Davante Adams for a 29-yard score on a third-and-7. Cornerback L.J. Jones was in perfect position with tight coverage on the play, Adams was just able to out-leap Jones to come down with the ball for the TD.

Defensively, Fresno State had a strong day utilizing its blitzes. In the first team period of the day, the front seven of the defense dominated the offense. Nat Harrison batted down a ball at the line of scrimmage and Donovan Lewis had both a tackle in a backfield and a quarterback hurry that forced an incompletion.

In the second team drill, Lewis and Travis Brown shared a sack on quarterback Greg Watson.

"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.