It didn’t rain at all during the Bulldogs’ spring practice Friday, but football coach Tim DeRuyter was hoping that it would to see his team compete and perform in some adverse conditions.
Because it wasn’t wet enough, during 7 on 7 he stood there pouring water on the footballs as they were about to be snapped to the quarterbacks. DeRuyter, at least, seemed to be enjoying himself immensely. Not so sure about the quarterbacks, though Derek Carr made some really nice throws with the wet footballs. The other quarterbacks, not so much. The wet ball apparently wasn’t enough, because DeRuyter took to squirting water at the quarterbacks from behind the play.
“We had to artificially create some situations,” DeRuyter said. “But our offense took care of the ball much better. Having to hold and kick and snap with a wet ball, it was decent today. We’ve got to do a better job actually kicking field goals — we’re not consistent enough there.
“But I liked our situational stuff. We had some live periods. We saw guys like Myles Carr make some guys miss and make a play. We know Isaiah (Burse) can makes plays and he got an opportunity to do that. Defensively, we’ve got to look at the tape and see who is missing tackles in space and work on that.”
Myles Carr did stand out among the backup quarterbacks with his ability to run — and the quarterbacks were live in everything this time, not just outside the pocket. Carr came through the line on one play and made a nice cut to the outside to elude two tacklers, kind of an eye-opener.
Burse scored on a reverse, working his way about 40 yards through a slew of defenders. Don’t think a single one of them got so much as a hand on him …
Backup nose guard Maurice Poyadue, who tweaked his left ankle in practice on Wednesday, was held out of practice. He had a protective boot on the foot and ankle.
Cornerback Sean Alston (stinger) and running back Marteze Waller (quad) also were held out. Alston still has his right arm in a sling.
DeRuyter mentioned Burse, but as a group the receivers have really taken some steps forward physically. Davante Adams stands out — he did last year, as well. But he is much stronger than he was a year ago. Receivers coach Ron Antonie said Adams is repping on the bench press at 300 pounds these days.
Antoine wants them fast, first. But he had nothing but good things to say about the work the wide out have done with strength and conditioning coach Joey Boese.
“When we first got here, (Burse) was probably the strongest guy and probably the only strong guy as a wide receiver,” Antonie said. “Now, Davante is in there getting it in the weight room and so is (Aaron) Peck. It kind of amazed me, how much they’re lifting for reps. Davante put 300 hundred-something on the bar and he was repping and I was like, ‘whoa …’ They’ve done some real work in the weight room.”
Peck has leaned up his body and also is much stronger than he was a year ago.
“Peck is a big dude and the whole time he’s been here we’ve been trying to get him to use that size and play like a big guy,” Antoine said. “Today, he did some of that. Wednesday, he did some of that, too, where he ran two guys over and dragged them 7 yards into the end zone.
“You can do that — your body is big enough and says you can do it, now you have to get your mind set to where you can do it over and over again.”
The Bulldogs are practicing Saturday – red zone and 2-minute situations mostly. They will scrimmage Monday.
Offensive line coach Cameron Norcross on the progress of JC transfers Patrick Kim and Josh Tremblay: “They’re improving every single day. I see glimpses. With our insertion schedule, we’re front-loading everything and we’re throwing everything in the playbook at them these first eight days, so every day they’ve come in they’ve had three, four, five new plays, so part of the digestion is taking a minute.
“But I saw today, Kim more than Tremblay, because Kim has a base having started at USC, but they’re both starting to understand, ‘OK, this is what I do on this play’ and they don’t have to think, and now they can look at what’s going on in front of them. They’re starting to progress and when we’re in drills, where they don’t really have to think, they’re playing faster.”
Kim could get some time with the No. 1 line at center, but right now Lars Bramer is taking all of those reps. Norcross said they are not that far apart, but there are other considerations in play. There is a lot to learn, for one. It is a lot harder to learn when a first-team All-Mountain West Conference nose guard in Tyeler Davison is lined up inches away and ready to pounce on any mistake, for another.
“We’re going to start mixing them,” Norcross said. “Until Patrick is comfortable setting the fronts, setting all our runs, setting all our protections, I don’t want to throw him in there with that first group and effect everyone else. You need (James) Le’au, he’s still coming along, so you start mixing a brand new guy in with him and it might regress his learning a little bit.
“Until I look at (Kim) and say he’s comfortable, here’s where he’s at … the competition from a skill standpoint is pretty close right now — Lars just knows what he’s doing right now and sometimes it takes Patrick a minute. Sometimes he sets it opposite or things like that. We’re working on that with him and he’s a sharp kid, so he’ll be just fine.”
The backup quarterbacks didn’t throw a lot of good balls in 7 on 7, when DeRuyter was squirting the football with water before every snap.
Myles Carr threw one pass that looked a little lost — not sure where it was going. Brian Burrell missed every throw in the first period, but came back and hit a couple in the second, including a nice deep ball to Adams, who pushed off cornerback L.J. Jones just a bit to make room to make the catch. The only turnover in the two 7 on 7s was an interception by Jones, who beat his receiver to the inside and picked off a pass from McDade.
Derek Carr was really sharp, his best throw over the top to Burse, dropping it in there perfectly.