When Tim DeRuyter stepped up to the podium just 10 days after former head coach Pat Hill was fired, he talked about what a great day for the Valley it was and what a great day it was to be a Bulldog.
DeRuyter was hired on Wednesday to replace Hill, who was the face of the program for 15 years. In the past two seasons, DeRuyter has been at Texas A&M coordinating he Aggie defense and he talked about how it felt to be the new face of the program.
“Couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity,” DeRuyter said. “To take over the program here at Fresno State is a dream for me and I really look forward to building champions.”
DeRuyter will try and build a championship pedigree with Fresno State moving to the Mountain West Conference next season. The 17th head coach in Bulldog history inherits a team that had an up-and-down season, finishing the year with a 4-9 overall record.
DeRuyter won’t be able to get started right away with his obligation to the Aggies as their interim head coach for the Meineke Car Care Bowl where Texas A&M will face Northwestern.
DeRuyter became the interim head coach after Mike Sherman was fired just a couple weeks ago.
After the bowl game, he will need to act fast to get his new staff hired and get on the road so he can lock in his very first Fresno State recruiting class.
National signing day is quickly approaching on Feb. 1. This time is important with DeRuyter wanting to bring players that can fit his schemes on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. He gave some thoughts on what his recruiting philosophy will be.
“We will aggressively recruit the Valley,” DeRuyter. “California has tons of talent here, but we have to own from Bakersfield and Sacramento. We have to own this Valley. This 99 corridor is going to be Bulldog country.”
DeRuyter is known for his pressure-filled defensive packages out of the 3-4 base alignment that incorporates three defensive linemen and four linebackers.
With this new defensive scheme, he will look to turn around a unit that finished in the bottom tier of the Western Athletic Conference in total defense this year.
Fresno State gave up the most passing yards in the WAC and that could be the first area where DeRuyter will look to shore up with so many offenses in college football now spreading out defenses and letting the quarterbacks find the open man. DeRuyter talked about how Fresno State will defend against opposing offenses.
“We’re going to pressure and when we get done with that we’re going to pressure,” DeRuyter said. “When we get done with that we are going to pressure some more.”
DeRuyter has had some experience with turning defenses around in his previous stops at Texas A&M and Air Force.
Before DeRuyter was in charge of the defense in College Station, the Aggies were ranked No. 105 in the country and allowed 33.5 points per game. Then, in DeRuyter’s first year taking over the defense, the Aggies allowed a much-improved 21.9 points per game.
He also faced a similar task at Air Force where he inherited the 79th-ranked defense in the nation and transformed the unit into the 11th-ranked defense in the country. DeRuyter talked briefly about who his new defensive coordinator will be and he indicated it would be someone he coached before and has worked with.
Although the Bulldog defense gave up an abundance of yards this season, the offense put up a bunch of yards as well with sophomore quarterback Derek Carr having one of the best single seasons in Bulldog history with his 3,544 yards and 26 touchdowns with only nine interceptions in his first year under center.
Running back Robbie Rouse also contributed to the offensive explosion with his 1,607 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. On the outside, the ‘Dogs will return everybody aside from senior Devon Wylie, a Sports Illustrated honorable mention All-American punt returner.
With all the returning talent, DeRuyter talked about how his brand of offense will look.
“Offensively, we are going to spread the field,” DeRuyter said. “We are going to spread it vertically and horizontally. And most importantly we are going to play with tempo.”