Logan • It takes a certain level of familiarity to call this year's winningest coach in the Mountain West by his nickname: "Timmy."
Coach Matt Wells had no problem throwing it around at his Monday press conference. He spoke about his one-time colleague Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter with warmth and fondness that has built for more than a dozen years.
Wells mentioned the two have been in a lot of contact this year because they each figured chances were slim they'd play each other.
"We always teased each other that for the next two years we were okay, we could share secrets because we weren't going to play each other," Wells said. "I guess we both never thought it would really happen just because of the odds."
The two started coaching together at Navy in 1999. Wells coached an array of different offensive groups, while DeRuyter stayed on the defensive side of the ball. A professional respect grew into friendship. Wells said the DeRuyters are friends of the family.
Still, Wells said not much will hold back DeRuyter's defense on Saturday, certainly not their history.
"Tim DeRuyter will not sit and watch," he said. "He will force the issue on defense and be calculated aggressive. I've gone against his defenses and have a lot of respect for him. They do a nice job."
In a Monday conference call, the Bulldogs' head coach was similarly complementary. After competing for conference championships each of the last two years, he understands how challenging it is to do, especially with a rash of injuries.
"I've always been really impressed with Matt, and I congratulated him last year when he was named the head coach," he said. "I'm really impressed with what Matt has done this year, and I wish him all the best except for against us this Saturday."
- Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon