The heat was not winding down as the Bulldogs entered their 20th practice of fall camp in anticipation for Aug. 29’s opening match against Rutgers. Temperatures reached as high as 108 degrees Monday, creating a need for adjustment, Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter said.
“We need this heat,” DeRuyter said. “We have to embrace the discomfort and be comfortable knowing that when it’s hot, we should get used to it.”
Added wide receiver Josh Harper: “Today might have been the hottest practice we’ve had all summer. We’ve been getting spoiled, but we have to get used to this heat being from Fresno.”
“It took them a little bit to get going, but our coaches aren’t going to let them slop around,” DeRuyter said.
Fresno State focused on situational drills and used their scout team in an eight-minute scrimmage against the first-team units. The No. 1 offense dealt with high-pressure situations, such as being down by 10 points and red zone plays. The No. 1 defense tried to stop the scout offense.
The wide receivers continue to produce at practice, despite Isaiah Burse’s absence due to injury. Burse, who suffered a lower leg injury on Aug. 12, continues to condition and rehabilitate.
“I really like our first group. We have to get Isaiah Burse back,” DeRuyter said. “But Greg [Watson]’s done a nice job in his place. Aaron Peck has had a great camp and [Justin Johnson] has flashed.”
“Our freshmen are starting to get better as they are learning things. [Playing time] is still to be determined. One or two of them may get some playing time; maybe not early, but at some time in the season I anticipate they will.”
Watson, who transitioned to wide receiver towards the end of last season, is adjusting to his new position effectively.
“I think he’s feeling more and more comfortable as a receiver,” DeRuyter said. “We’re still going to have package stuff for him to do as a quarterback. I think he gives you a lot of options. He’s a smart football player, he’s very athletic.”
Tuesday’s scrimmage is planned to be a “dress rehearsal” for opening night against Rutgers. On Wednesday, the Bulldogs will begin their weekly routine to prepare for Rutgers.
“We just need to get our Rutgers prep started,” offensive lineman Austin Wentworth said. “It’s been a little here and there, but now we need to get into the thick of it and familiarize ourselves with their defense and blitzes.”