Fresno State coach Pat Hill said the next two weeks will be critical to the Bulldogs' development.
After back-to-back losses
to nationally ranked teams, including a 52-21 beatdown at Oregon on Saturday, Fresno State (1-2) must figure out how to translate the tough competition and lessons into Western Athletic Conference play.
Fresno State has a bye this week then hosts Louisiana Tech (1-2) on Sept. 29.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
"I know this -- this team knows what playing fast looks like, because that's what Oregon did," Hill said at Sunday's evening practice.
"It's still a growing process we're going through. And it's going to be like that all year.
"Biggest thing we take from Oregon -- we can't panic and we've got to start off better. We helped them score points. That game was a feeding frenzy."
Fresno State also will have
to adjust to the loss of defensive end Jason Roberts. The junior from Central High underwent surgery for a broken leg Sunday.
He will be out the rest of the season, adding to the lack of speed and depth on defense.
"One thing we thought we could do, and we did was get
to the outside on them," Oregon running back Jonathan Stewart said after Saturday's game.
Roberts, who redshirted a season at Washington State before transferring, was involved in 13 tackles on the season (two solo). He had yet
to make a significant impact as expected. But at the least, he provided the Bulldogs with a quick pass rush on one edge.
Junior Ikenna Ike now moves into a starting role. True freshmen Chris Carter and Kenny Borg are expected to see their workload increase.
"Losing Jason hurts us," defensive end Tyler Clutts said. "Having that third defensive end gave us a chance to rotate us three for rest.
"New guys will have to step up."
Fresno State police confirmed they are investigating an incident involving Bulldogs linebacker Mike Cheese, but would not provide any details.
Cheese, a sophomore from Sunnyside High, was suspended from Saturday's game against Oregon because he violated team policy, team spokesman Steve Weakland said. It is unclear if Cheese will miss any other games.
After three games, Fresno State still owns the nation's top pass defense at 97.67 yards per game.
Of course, the stat is a bit skewed since the Bulldogs opened the year against offensive-inept Sacramento State, pass-struggling Texas A&M, and an Oregon team that had its way that it had little need to pass.