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Published: September 7, 2012
Fresno State came into the season with a revamped coaching staff starting with the hire of Tim DeRuyter. DeRuyter decided that the entire staff of coaches needed a fresh start as he hired a new offensive and defensive coordinator. It was a strenuous off-season for the Bulldogs trying to adjust to the new schemes on offense and defense. Today we will go through the positional impact players of the Bulldogs and how the ducks will prepare for the schematic changes on the offense.
On offense, DeRuyter hired former Utah assistant Dave Schramm as the new coordinator. Schramm and the Bulldogs run a fast-paced, multiple-set system in the spread vein. He hopes to take an already successful offense to a new level this season by spreading out the defense, which will allow quarterback Derek Carr more options in the pass game and more wiggling room for running back Robbie Rouse. Most notably, Schramm has added an aggressive nature to the offense by eliminating off-tackle runs and bubble screens, replacing them with draws and more downfield passing.”To me, that’s a statement about being aggressive, going after people and not necessarily playing conservative,” first-year coach Tim DeRuyter said. “We’re going to take our shots when we have them”.
Fresno State – Ground Attack
While restructuring the coaching staff, DeRuyter made sure to keep Joe Wade as the running backs coach. Fresno has landed some of the best running back play in program history over Wade’s three seasons with the team and it is no different this year with Robbie Rouse as their main back.
Last season, the offense depended largely on the play of Rouse. He carried a large load as he ranked 3rd nationally in rushes per game with 25.3 and totaled 1,550 yards on the ground (7th nationally). While his workload is expected to decline a little this season with Schramm’s new offensive schemes, don’t think that will result in a dip of his total rushing yards. Many anticipate that his yards per carry will increase with more space in the multi-set spread. Defenses will be forced adjust to the new attack by either spacing out the linebackers or adding more defensive backs. Both of these reactions will be beneficial to Rouse and the running backs as he noted, “There’s a lot of draws in there (the playbook), and that’s great for me because it leaves me in one-on-one situations.”
The ducks need to make sure not to let Rouse get into space because once he does he is deadly in the open field as his coach has noted, “He’s the kind of guy that if you’re in a phone both with him, you wouldn’t be able to catch him. He’s going to make people miss,” coach DeRuyter said. “I like him in our scheme. He’s dynamic. He’s electric.” And though Rouse is a little guy, he still has the ability grind out yards on the ground and might even run over the defender. He has some similarities to Jacquizz Rodgers in his ability to slip defenders and his tremendous lateral quickness.
It will be key for the duck linebackers to stay disciplined and wrap-up on their tackles. Even though Fresno State has a top-notch passing game, the experienced linebackers Michael Clay, Kiko Alonso, and Boseko Lokombo can’t be caught cheating for the pass or they will get burned by the elusiveness of Rouse.
Fresno State – Passing Attack: QB’s and WR’s
Coming off a season in which Derek Carr threw for 3,544 yards and 26 touchdowns against 9 picks and a 62.9 percent completion rate, Carr and company look to take the passing game to another levels. Unlike last season where it seemed as if the tone of the game was set by the running game, this year Derek Carr and his receivers are taking that responsibility. They showed it in the opening drive against Weber State, which started from their own 3 yard line and saw them drive 97 yards through the air for a touchdown.
The duck cornerbacks will have their hands full with the solid receiving corp of Fresno State. Unfortunately for Fresno State they lost their top receiver and one of the most exciting players in the country after spring practice. Jalen Saunders, who recorded 1,065 yards and 12 touchdowns, transferred to Oklahoma leaving the void for someone to step up as the go-to-guy for the Bulldogs. Thus-far, redshirt freshman DeVante Adams has stepped up to the challenge as he went for 118 yards and two scores in the season opener. Coaches have noticed something different in Adams in his second season, “He had shown last spring and in fall camp that he was capable of doing special things,” DeRuyter said. “He’s got a lot of ability.” Isaish Burse (436 yards), Josh Harper (475 yards), and Rashad Evans round out a solid the starting unit. Last week, the receiving unit was tested as Evans and Harper were unavailable, but that didn’t slow down them down as they saw big games from both Burse and Adams.”It just shows our great depth at receiver,” Carr said. “We had certain circumstances we had to deal with, and other guys stepped into some key roles.”
The offensive coordinator has made it clear that they want to be aggressive in the passing game. In response to their success through the air against Weber State coach DeRuyter stated, “To me, that’s a statement about being aggressive, going after people and not necessarily playing conservative, We’re going to take our shots when we have them.”
There is no doubt that the Bulldogs with their new offense are going to take a lot of shots down the field. This is going to present many opportunities for the Oregon defensive line to get to the quarterback. Dion Jordan, Lokombo, and the entire defensive front have a chance to have a big night. If they are unable to get the adequate amount pressure against Carr it will be a long night for the duck defense.
Prediction: Oregon 51 Fresno State 31