Bull­dogs fin­ish up spring, call on start­ing QB could come soon

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Sports - BY ROBERT KUWADA [email protected]­nobee.com

Fresno State wrapped up its 15 spring prac­tices on Satur­day with its quar­ter­back com­pe­ti­tion still in de­vel­op­ment. But coach Jeff Ted­ford said a call on a starter could come sooner rather than later, which would give a Bull­dogs of­fense that loses eight of 11 starters a chance to go into sum­mer work­outs with a clear di­rec­tion and leader.

“It’d be good to have some­one who can as­sume that lead­er­ship role in work­outs and so on and so forth,” Ted­ford said.

Three play­ers are vy­ing to re­place Mar­cus McMaryion.

Se­nior Jorge Reyna started the spring at the head of a com­pe­ti­tion with red­shirt fresh­men Ben Wooldridge and Steven Com­stock, based on lim­ited ex­pe­ri­ence in 2018.

Reyna played in 10 games last sea­son be­hind starter Mar­cus McMaryion and com­pleted 8 of 12 passes for 111 yards and one touch­down, the score a per­fect 33-yard strike to Der­rion Grim in an open­ing rout of Idaho.

All three quar­ter­backs had a shaky first spring scrim­mage work­ing be­hind a banged-up of­fen­sive line, and as the Bull­dogs worked through the spring Reyna and Wooldridge were get­ting No. 1 and No. 2 reps with Com­stock mostly with the sec­ond unit. Hunter Ra­quet, a sopho­more, also was in the com­pe­ti­tion at the start of the spring, but left the pro­gram af­ter the first prac­tice.

“Ben, Steven and I, we’re all go­ing at it,” Reyna said. “They all un­der­stand the play­book. They all bring dif­fer­ent el­e­ments to the game and it’s fun. No one is com­fort­able with the job yet. Ev­ery­body is fight­ing. Each day we’re go­ing af­ter it. We see the num­bers. They’re all the same, but we’re all con­stantly try­ing to one-up each other.”

ROOM FOR ONE MORE?

Reyna, who was the first player to com­mit to Fresno State af­ter Ted­ford was hired, said he is not tak­ing any­thing for granted – es­pe­cially since the Bull­dogs landed McMaryion in 2017 as a trans­fer from Ore­gon State when al­ready well into fall camp.

Most FBS pro­grams carry four or five schol­ar­ship quar­ter­backs. The Bull­dogs, with just the three quar­ter­backs on schol­ar­ship, could dip into the NCAA trans­fer por­tal this sum­mer if an­other player with the upside of a McMaryion pops up as pro­grams fin­ish their spring

prac­tices. Or, Fresno State could bring in an FBS or ju­nior col­lege trans­fer.

“You never know,” Ted­ford said. “These days with the por­tal and things like that, things come up all the time, but it’s not some­thing that we’re look­ing at ev­ery day.”

Reyna said, “Just like Coach Ted­ford said, ev­ery­thing is open un­til he makes the fi­nal call. There’s no, ‘Well, this guy is tak­ing one reps …’ There’s noth­ing like that. It’s un­til Coach Ted­ford says, ‘Hey, this is who we’re go­ing with,’ then we have a depth chart. Ev­ery­thing is open un­til he says it.”

RE­CEIVER AS­SESS­MENT

It will be a crit­i­cal sum­mer for the Bull­dogs’ next quar­ter­back work­ing to­ward the 2019 sea­son with an in­ex­pe­ri­enced set of re­ceivers and learn­ing when and how to ad­just routes, how they come out of breaks.

Grim has played in 27 games and has 20 ca­reer re­cep­tions and two touch­downs, mod­est num­bers but also the most in that re­ceivers’ room. The oth­ers in the group are sopho­mores Pa­trick Elima-Je­une, Chris Cole­man and Zane Pope, red­shirt fresh­men Emoryie Ed­wards and Ri­cardo Arias and fresh­man Rod­ney Wright III along with se­nior walk-on Frank Dalena, ju­nior Kevin Parker and red­shirt fresh­man Erik Brooks.

Cole­man played in nine games last sea­son and caught four passes, but none of the Bull­dogs’ other re­ceivers has caught a pass at the FBS level.

Reyna said the Bull­dogs re­ceivers had a pro­duc­tive spring and hit their spring break in good shape.

“They’re un­der­stand­ing the sit­u­a­tions, how we want to route, the dif­fer­ence be­tween a zone and a man, what we’re look­ing for, what we’re ex­pect­ing in a cer­tain look.

“They un­der­stand, ‘Hey, when we get a dif­fer­ent look we’re go­ing to have to look at the quar­ter­back be­cause we are go­ing to change the play.’ They’re un­der­stand­ing that a whole lot quicker than last year and it al­lows us to ad­just against a de­fense a whole lot quicker and re­ally ex­ploit matchups.”

IN­JURY UP­DATE

Red­shirt fresh­man Marc-David Bien-Amie, one of three of­fen­sive line­men to miss the spring due to in­jury, will likely miss the 2019 sea­son.

Bien-Amie had knee surgery and is not ex­pected back un­til Novem­ber at the ear­li­est.

CRAIG KOHLRUSS ck­[email protected]­nobee.com

Fresno State quar­ter­back Jorge Reyna throws dur­ing the fi­nal spring prac­tice at Bull­dog Sta­dium on Satur­day. Coach Jeff Ted­ford said a de­ci­sion on a start­ing quar­ter­back could come sooner rather than later.

CRAIG KOHLRUSS ck­[email protected]­nobee.com

Fresno State head coach Jeff Ted­ford throws to wide re­ceiver Zane Pope dur­ing the fi­nal spring prac­tice at Bull­dog Sta­dium on Satur­day.

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