Fresno State spring practice report: Smith out, Dean back in doghouse

Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter talks with receiver Victor Dean during a game last season. (ERIC PAUL ZAMORA/THE FRESNO BEE)

The Bulldogs went through their final football practice of the spring Friday, a short workout in helmets and shorts. With the spring game on Saturday, they were on the field for about 75 minutes.

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Wide out Victor Dean, who has had some maturity issues in his time at Fresno State, has done a little backsliding over the past week or so. He was held out of practice and afterward had to barrel-roll the length of the field, which can’t be a whole lot of fun.

‘’Victor has got some things he has to take care of,’’ coach Tim DeRuyter said. ‘’Right now he’s not being very accountable, so he has to earn his trust back. He’s slipping right now.’’

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Free safety Derron Smith also did not practice. He was out with a sprained right ankle, suffered playing pickup basketball on Thursday night. He had the foot and ankle in a protective boot.

Smith will not participate in the spring game.

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Fresno State senior Nat Harrison makes an impression on first day of spring practices

On the first day of spring practices at Fresno State, senior Nat Harrison made a quick impression playing at the SAM linebacker spot the Bulldogs are looking fill.

Jamaal Rose, perhaps the frontrunner for the position, did mostly conditioning work on the side as he continues his comeback from a knee injury in the ‘Dogs victory over Colorado. But Harrison, noticeably bigger in his upper body, ran with the No. 1 defense and made some very nice plays, including an interception in 7 on 7 on a pass thrown by redshirt freshman Myles Carr.

Carr was trying to fit the ball inside to Josh Harper, but the Edison High grad beat him to the ball and made a nice catch snaring it out of the air.

The physical improvement – and work in practice – didn’t go unnoticed.

‘’He’s really done some good things in the offseason and it was really good to see him move around out there today,’’ Coach Tim DeRuyter said. ‘’He’s working with the one-huddle and our challenge to him is to see if he can stay in that one-huddle, because he has the raw material, he has the physical ability to do it, it’s just a matter of being consistent and hopefully he’ll get there being that this is his last year.

‘’He looks good, and with that (added) weight, he’s still moving around pretty well. If he can continue to do that and learn our defense to where he’s playing fast I think we’ll have something with he and (Donavon Lewis) being our edge guys.’’

Bulldogs spring practice report: interceptions will hurt QBs more than usual

Marcus McDade stepped in to take his first rep in a team period during the Fresno State Bulldogs’ first spring practice on Monday, and threw a pick. His throw was high and behind tight end Marcus Jensen, the intended receiver, and linebacker Kyrie Wilson made a nice play on the ball, picked it off and took it back for a defensive score.

McDade was yanked.

Brian Burrell, the JC transfer from Bakersfield City College, dropped back to throw on his first rep, looking for Taylor Stewart on the sideline and that pass also was picked off. Safety Dalen Jones undercut the route on the sideline and made a great diving play on the ball to come up with the turnover.

That was it for Burrell – he, too, went to the back of the line.

The Bulldogs’ competition to be the backup to quarterback Derek Carr took an interesting turn there. The three candidates – McDade, Burrell and Myles Carr – all need to reps to make an impression and win the job and they are going to lose them for game-changing errors. They can’t count on taking five or six consecutive reps, then rotating.

‘’I like it here,’’ offensive coordinator Dave Schramm said. ‘’If you turn the ball over a lot and you’re the offensive coordinator, then you have to go find another job somewhere.”

That is one way to crank up the competition within that position group – and perhaps fix an issue from a year ago.

‘’We have to do a better job,” Schramm said. ”We turned the ball over 18 times and gave up five touchdowns on offense last year. We can’t allow that to happen.

‘’If you want to play, then don’t give the football to the other team. We’re a better football team if we punt than we are turning the ball over and offensively, we’d like to end every drive with some sort of kick. We don’t want to punt, but that’s a lot better than throwing an interception or fumbling.’’

The Bulldogs’ quarterbacks all got back into the rotation after the interceptions. But the message there was perfectly clear – those types of mistakes will hurt.

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