Dalton Runberg / The Collegian
Bulldog football hit the ground running last week with the kick off of spring practices with a new head coach for the first time since 1997.
New head coach Tim DeRuyter said the team’s focus for the spring’s 15 practices leading up to the annual spring game on March 25 is clear and simple.
“I want our guys to have a basic understanding of our offensive and defensive schemes, but more importantly than that just how we’re going to play — that fast, physical and fanatical on both sides of the ball,” DeRuyter said.
With spring practices open to the public, DeRuyter said fans are already able to get a taste of the team’s new playing style.
“It’s gonna be fast and furious,” DeRuyter said. “Where it may seem like chaos on the sideline, and right now initially it is, eventually that’s just gonna be our MO.”
Senior running back and 2011 team MVP Robbie Rouse said he’s already fairly comfortable with DeRuyter’s style of play. Rouse said it’s the way he learned to play football in San Diego.
“If you’re going to make a mistake, make it full speed,” Rouse said. “I like that he pressures that upon everybody on the team.”
Junior quarterback Derek Carr said the up-tempo style will only help him in leading the offense.
“Us just playing fast will slow the defense down and that makes my job 10 times easier,” Carr said.
Learning the new systems will take his team some time, but DeRuyter said he’s already very pleased with the team’s work.
“Although we’re not anywhere near where we need to be, the concepts are getting through to them,” DeRuyter said.
DeRuyter said he attests the players’ steady development to his fellow coaching staff: “I really am impressed with our staff. They are great teachers.”
Rouse said running backs coach Joe Wade, the lone returning coach from last year, taught him football in a general way so that scheme changes wouldn’t be too difficult. Rouse said this has made transitioning to DeRuyter’s formations easy.
“Football is football,” Rouse said. “It’s just different terminology.”
DeRuyter said he’s enjoying the fresh slate he’s been given as a brand new head coach. He said the energy his players and coaches are showing will give him many options when it comes to securing positions for the spring game.
“They know they have a new chance to write their résumé and you see some guys emerge,” DeRuyter said.
Rouse considers himself one of these players and is ready to take on the challenge.
“I’m a competitor,” said Rouse. “I just come out every day and play as hard as possible to keep that spot certain.”
Aside from his own goals for the boys on the field, DeRuyter wants to see the team’s reputation really take shape over this spring training as well.
“That signature of who we are and what bulldog football is, I want that to be established in the spring,” said DeRuyter.
The annual football spring game is set for March 25 at noon at Bulldog Stadium.