Bull­dogs’ young wide­outs fly­ing high at fall camp scrim­mage

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

The Fresno State Bull­dogs went through their first scrim­mage of fall foot­ball camp on Sat­ur­day, work­ing about 30 plays from dif­fer­ent spots on the field, 90 or so plays in all.

The twos and threes got a lot of work and, in­ter­est­ingly, on de­fense, they were mixed in with the ones quite a bit with­out glar­ing drop-off, a pos­i­tive sign.

“We got a lot of guys in,” coach Jeff Ted­ford said. “It’s go­ing to be a great tape to learn from, as typ­i­cal most scrim­mages go. It’s a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, so ex­cited to go in and watch the tape and get bet­ter from it.”

Here are three things from the scrim­mage …

WHO’LL RE­PLACE KEESEAN, WIDE­OUTS? TH­ESE GUYS

The wide­outs in the Bull­dogs’ 2019 re­cruit­ing class at­tracted a lot of at­ten­tion the first week of fall camp, mak­ing plays in 7 on 7s and in team pe­ri­ods. In the first ex­tended live work, it was no dif­fer­ent, and JC trans­fer Keric Wheat­fall and fresh­men Ja­mal Glaspie, Josh Kelly and Jalen Crop­per all could end up in play­ing ro­ta­tions.

In the scrim­mage, they all made plays. Wheat­fall had a rough drop late in the scrim­mage. But he also made one of the first big plays, break­ing free down­field, clear by plenty, and cir­cling back to go up and make a play on a pass that floated a bit.

Kelly made a nice catch on an out route, pulling down an im

prob­a­ble ball against the side­line that was high and away.

Crop­per showed his ex­plo­sive­ness in the open field, mak­ing a deft spin move on a third-and-5 play to avoid a tackle and pick up a first down.

Glaspie was on the re­ceiv­ing end of two explosive pass plays that went for 40-plus yards, the first from No. 2 quar­ter­back Ben Wooldridge and the sec­ond from Nate Lamb, the fresh­man from Tu­lare Union High.

Hav­ing lost KeeSean Johnson, the Bull­dogs' all-time leader in re­cep­tions and re­ceiv­ing yards, as well as Jamire Jor­dan, Michiah Quick, Delvon Har­d­away and a few other se­nior re­ceivers, this is a po­si­tion group that was a ques­tion com­ing into camp.

Not so much, any­more. “I feel very com­fort­able with the tal­ent level, their at­ten­tion to de­tail and the com­pe­ti­tion,” Ted­ford said. “It's a re­ally good young group and they're just go­ing to con­tinue to get bet­ter ev­ery day. (Re­ceivers coach Kirby Moore) is do­ing a great job of coach­ing them and it's a qual­ity group. I like them a lot.”

The of­fense suf­fered from some dropped passes. The ones did not start par­tic­u­larly well, but they made some plays, the best a nice shot from quar­ter­back Jorge Reyna to se­nior wide­out Der­rion Grim.

“I need to work more, get bet­ter,” Reyna said. “There are some plays lin­ger­ing in my mind that I wish I had back, but other than that, just move on, learn from it. As you saw (af­ter the scrim­mage) I was just work­ing on those throws that I could have made.”

RIGHT TACKLE BULL STILL ILL, HAS CATCH­ING UP TO DO

With red­shirt sopho­more Don­tae Bull out the past few days due to an ill­ness, the Bull­dogs had true fresh­man Dante Ad­kins Jr. work­ing at right tackle with the twos.

Bull, who has played tackle and guard, is not ex­pected back un­til the lat­ter part of the week and will have some catch­ing up to do.

“Con­di­tion­ing and get­ting him in the right mind­set, yes,” of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Ryan Grubb said. “It will be a week to get him back and then a week to get him back. It will be a cou­ple of weeks away. He has a lot of work to do, but we'll get there.”

SCRIM­MAGE HELPS SET BACKUP RO­TA­TIONS

The Bull­dogs are re­plac­ing six starters from a de­fen­sive that ranked third in the na­tion in al­low­ing just 14.1 points per game last sea­son, but co­or­di­na­tor Bert Watts and the de­fen­sive staff have ex­pe­ri­ence mov­ing up and into those po­si­tions. Safety Wy­lan Free is in his third year in the pro­gram, as is cor­ner­back Chris Gas­ton and line­backer Ar­ron Mosby; line­backer Justin Rice is in his fourth sea­son.

The fo­cus com­ing out of the scrim­mage will be to work through those backup spots, and they got a chance to work dif­fer­ent play­ers with a lot of ones on the field.

“We're ob­vi­ously com­pet­ing, but that's a pretty good de­pic­tion of where we are with the guys who were out there,” Watts said. “As we grade the tape and see that and con­firm some of the things we're think­ing, the next few weeks will be about who those next guys are, guys that we can roll in there and give those guys a break and use in sub pack­ages.”

De­fen­sive end Leevel Ta­tum III and de­fen­sive tack­les Leonard Payne Jr., Alex Du­mais and Matt Law­son are in that group, but so are some true fresh­men in­clud­ing cor­ner­back De­shawn Ruf­fin and de­fen­sive end Colby Warkentin.

“I credit the as­sis­tant coaches,” Watts said. “They've done a great job work­ing with our guys. It's nice that we're able to get some time with them in the sum­mer­time, es­pe­cially the fresh­men that come in, and you can see that now. You see their grasp of things is higher than tra­di­tion­ally fresh­men are.”

CRAIG KOHLRUSS ck­[email protected]­nobee.com

Fresno State tight end Juan Ro­driguez turns to catch the ball dur­ing drills at fall camp on Sat­ur­day.

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