Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Pat Hill left behind some sizable shoes to fill at Fresno State, but the Bulldogs have the man they believe will fill them all the same ... or, where conference titles are concerned, do even better.
Multiple reports (including those from the Fresno Bee) have the Bulldogs introducing former Texas A&M and Air Force defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter as the program's new head coach at 1 p.m. Pacific Wednesday. DeRuyter will continue to serve as the Aggies' interim head coach through their Meineke Car Care Bowl appearance vs. Northwestern.
DeRuyter comes to Fresno with a deserved reputation as one of the college game's best up-and-coming defensive minds. After engineering impressive defensive turnarounds for Ohio and then Troy Calhoun's Falcons, in 2010 DeRuyter took over an A&M defense that had ranked dead last in the Big 12 and 90th nationally in yards per-play allowed in 2009. His first season in College Station those rankings improved to third and an incredible 17th, respectively. Though the 2011 Aggies weren't quite as successful on the scoreboard (going from 34th to 76th in scoring D), they still ranked 25th nationally and second in the conference in yards per-play allowed*.
DeRuyter has yet to coach in the Golden State at any level but is a Long Beach native. He replaces Hill, who went 112-80 at Fresno and took the Bulldogs to 11 bowl games, but never won an outright WAC title.
The Bulldogs' new coach will once again have his work cut out for him, as FSU finished 101st in total defense last year. But if DeRuyter can work his magic there and continue to recruit the strong-armed quarterbacks and explosive playmakers that marked Hill's tenure, there's no reason to think his new team can't contend in the shaken-up Mountain West sooner rather than later.
*Because of the up-tempo, high-scoring nature of most Big 12 games, total scoring and total defense numbers tend to be inflated for conference teams across the board. We like yards per-play a bit better in that situation.