Joseph Edgecomb / The Collegian
Fresno State football team using bye week to recover from injuries, shore up defensive unit
Even with no game this week, there are still some glaring issues the Bulldogs are looking to address on the football field before their next road trip.
The principle concerns involve players coming back from injury, practice time for injured players and limiting points on defense.
Pat Hill believes that a bye this week came at the right time for his team.
â€œIt was a great time [for the bye week],â€ Hill said. â€œThere hasnâ€™t really been a time to take a breath of air yet here. Every game for us is going to be very difficult.â€
The Bulldogs head into their bye week 4-2 overall and 1-1 in Western Athletic Conference play.
Fresno State rebounded from a disappointing home loss to Hawaii with a 45-32 victory over Idaho last Saturday, giving the Bulldogs their first victory at Bulldog Stadium this year.
The victory over the Idaho Vandals was also the first win in WAC play for the Bulldogs this season.
With where the record stands, Hill feels content with where his team is at this point in the year.
â€œWe are what we are, weâ€™re 4-2, and still in control of our season,â€ Hill said. â€œYou canâ€™t ask for anymore than that right now.â€
The Bulldogs have played a very rugged four-game stretch that had two games decided in overtime and one decided on a fourth quarter fumble recovery. Fresno State also held off a late comeback attempt in the fourth quarter against Idaho last weekend to pull away with the win.
Bryan Cole / The Collegian
Injuries affect team
The Bulldogs have had injury concerns at their skill positions on offense, with players like Marlon Moore, Bear Pascoe and Devon Wylie being sidelined for the past few weeks.
Moore, however, has been practicing this week with the team and believes his ankle is nearly healed.
â€œThe ankle so far is pretty good,â€ Moore said. â€œRight now, I wouldnâ€™t say its 100 percent, itâ€™s about, I would say 90 percent.â€
The junior receiver utilized the week off to reclaim his speed and become healthy again.
â€œThe bye week was real important,â€ Moore said. â€œThe players who were injured took the time to heal themselves. It wasnâ€™t just for us to rest but for us to improve ourselves mentally.â€
Time to think
On the other side of the football, sophomore linebacker Ben Jacobs also saw the importance of having a week off, especially from a fundamental standpoint.
â€œWe just got back to what we should be doing,â€ Jacobs said. â€œWe just got out there, clear our heads, and worry about fundamentals.â€
Defensively, the Bulldogs are looking to re-energize a unit that surrendered a combined 20 points against Rutgers and Wisconsin, but has allowed over 30 points in the last four games.
â€œI think the pass rush is one of the biggest things weâ€™re going to need to do,â€ Hill said. â€œWe need to get more takeaways. I would like to see us get into a position where we can get the offense on short fields and do a great job offensively. Weâ€™ve also got to get back at getting off of the field on third downs.â€
Stepping up despite setbacks
The defensive line has been without Jon Monga at defensive tackle. Losing Wilson Ramos for the rest of the season also puts a damper on the Fresno State defensive line.
Jacobs, however, has the belief that no matter who plays along the line, they will make a difference and help the leading tackler shed off opposing blocks.
â€œOur defensive line will be good,â€ Jacobs said. â€œWhatever happens, weâ€™ll have one of the young guys step up.â€
The Bulldogs will use this weekend to continue to rest. Next week the Bulldogs will turn their full attention to the Utah State Aggies.
Moore is already looking forward to the Bulldogs heading to Logan, Utah for the October 25 afternoon game.
â€œIâ€™m just ready for that game,â€ Moore said. â€œIt will be my first game back so it should be exciting.â€