Fresno State. - The Fresno State football team returned to the field on Tuesday, as the Bulldogs went through their first of 15 spring practices with a two-and-a-half hour session on a sunny afternoon for head coach Tim DeRuyter and his team.
DeRuyter promised to bring a fast-paced, up-tempo approach to Fresno State and the team displayed the new style right out of the gates. Fresno State will continue to install and refine its new offensive and defensive schemes leading up to the annual spring game that is being played on March 25 at noon in Bulldog Stadium.
DeRuyter met with the media following Tuesday's practice. Below is the transcript with his thoughts on how the team performed on day one.
First impressions of spring practice
"We were a little bit sloppy , which is to be expected when you are putting in new systems on both sides of the ball. I was really pleased with the effort and attitude on both sides of the ball. We had some guys making plays offensively, had some guys making plays defensively. We got to learn to chase the ball a little bit better on offense and learn the tempo a little bit better on offense, but overall I was very pleased."
What's your evaluation of these guys from what you saw on film to finally seeing them out on the field?
"We won't know until we put the pads on for real on Saturday. Right now we're just running around learning our systems, but I was pleased with some of the plays we were able to make on defense. I was not surprised but pleased by the way that Derek [Carr] played and the way Robbie [Rouse] ran the ball. We you're not tackling, a lot of things look good, and we got a little bit sloppy as practice went on so we got to get in a little bit better shape. To see our guys come together with our brand-new systems, I was really pleased to see how our coaches coached them."
What's the time frame and process to install your new systems?
"We trying to front-load a lot of stuff so these kids might feel like they are trying to take a sip out of a fire hydrant, but that's kind of what we want. We want them to be inundated a little bit and then we'll reteach things. We got a lot of our base offense in today and we got probably half of our base defense in and we're going to put a little bit more of our base in come Thursday. Then by next week we'll have probably a good 80 percent of our playbook in."
What are the goals when it is all said in done for the spring?
"The big thing we want to teach is how we play football on both sides of the ball and in special teams, and that's playing fast, physical and fanatical. Seeing our guys get to the line of scrimmage, get lined up, communicate quickly, and understand what intensity level we've got to play at will be a big thing. We'll get the techniques down, we'll get them to where they are communicating better, that will come in time. Just teaching the system is the most important thing this spring."
What was your first practice like for you?
"It was a little surreal. I was telling some people coming down the ramp, I kind of shook my head and took it in for a second saying `hey, this is finally it.' You got through recruiting and you go through weight workouts, but you finally get on the field to practice, it was an awesome feeling to finally see it all come together."
OL Austin Wentworth
On the start of spring practice
"It nice to get back to it. We've been away and things have changed a lot, but a new coaching staff, we've all bought in and are ready to go. It's just nice to be back on the field and play Fresno State football again."
Goals and missions for the first week of practice
"First week and first couple of days we're only going to be in helmets so we're going to be focused on hustling around and getting used to the new practice schedule. Then we can start playing fast and getting into the playbook is another big thing too."
Do you feel like you have a clean slate and have to prove yourself again for the new coaching staff?
"What you've done here does give you some headway, but like coach said, everyone's spot is up for grabs. Competition makes everyone get better, so as an older guy I'm excited. I want the young guys to compete for my job and I want to compete to stay on the first team. It will be good for the team I think."
Is there a new feeling of excitement starting with a new coaching staff?
"I think there is definitely a level of excitement around here and everyone is ready to go and excited to get out there and play."
LB Patirck Su'a
What is the team feeling like in the locker room right now with everything brand new?
"I feel that we're more excited and pumped for what the coaches have brought in and the new schemes. I think everybody's hyped to just show what they can do."
What are you trying to accomplish during the first week of practice?
"We got to play physical, we got to play fast and we got to play with a fanatical effort. During the first week we'll put that in, but at the same time we got to make sure we learn the plays that are being taught."
Are you excited about the opportunities to blitz more?
"I'm just juiced about that. That's something that I love doing myself and I've shown it on kickoff and would like to shot it on defense. It's just something I would love to do."
How long do you think it will take you to learn the playbook?
"I'm pretty sure from the way things are going now and the coaches we have and the way they are teaching it, I think we are going to have it down before summer. It's pretty easy the way they teach it."