It’s all up in the air

Newly-promoted quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Jeff Grady will be given the task of choosing the next Bulldog quarterback.  Grady said that the average fan has as good of a guess as he does. Junior Ryan Colburn, redshirt freshman Ebahn Feathers and true freshman Derek Carr will all compete.
Photo By Keith Kountz / Courtesy Fresno State Athletics
Coach Grady decides if it will be Colburn, Carr or Feathers leading ’Dogs’ aerial attack in 2009

The Fresno State football program has undergone major surgery in the off-season. If a doctor were examining Pat Hill and the Bulldogs, he might say something like, “we’ll just have to wait and see how it turns out.”

Since the disappointing loss to Colorado State in the New Mexico Bowl, eight coaching changes have been announced, three quarterbacks are in an open competition and the deciding factor in who will be the starting quarterback come opening day is Jeff Grady, who coached tight ends last year. 

“I will take what I have learned as a former quarterback and from the five offensive coordinators before me,” Grady said. “As for who will be the starting quarterback next year, the average fan has just as good of a guess as I do right now.”

Ten years ago, Grady was the man under center throwing passes for Fresno State. Now a decade later, Grady is the man who will call plays on offense, coordinate the passing game and coach the quarterbacks. 

“It’s not exactly how I planned it when I graduated from Fresno State with an economics degree in 2003,” Grady said. “I planned
 to go into the business world, but my passion for football never left 

And with three passionate quarterbacks competing anxiously to see who will get the starting nod next fall, Grady knows he can only break good news to one of them next season.

Carr wants a championship

Four-star recruit Derek Carr is being tagged as the front-runner for the starting position next season as a freshman. However, Ebahn Feathers who will be a sophomore next year is the most mobile of the three. And Ryan Colburn is the most experienced serving as backup to Tom Brandstater for the past three years. 

But all three of them do have one thing in common.

“We all want to start,” Carr said. “No one wants to be the number two or three, but someone will be next year.”

Junior Ryan Colburn has more experience than the freshmen, but the quarterback battle will be open between him, Derek Carr and Ebahn Feathers.
Juan Villa / Collegian File Photo

Derek Carr, younger brother of former Fresno State star quarterback and overall number one draft pick David Carr, says if he gets the chance, he will bring the swagger back to Bulldog football and instill excitement back into the fans.

“I know in time if I’m named the starter we can beat Boise. 
I’m so sick of those guys, and I know we can win conference championships with the talent we have. I came here to give the fans what they truly want: a national championship,” Carr said.

With Carr growing up around Bulldog football, he said he already knows Grady pretty well.

“I used to play catch with Grady when I was like five,” Carr 
said. “I’m glad Pat (Hill) didn’t go out and get someone. Just being around my brother and family, I’ve always followed Fresno State football, and Grady is the perfect guy for the job.”

Feathers would inspire fear

Carr may have the best chance to go to the next level and join his brother in the NFL one day, but Feathers feels he’s ready to have opponents circle the Bulldogs on their schedules.

“After a year of experience, I’m ready to make that next step,” Feathers 
said. “I can’t guarantee a 12-0 season next year, but if I’m quarterback, opponents will fear that Fresno State is on their schedule.” 

Colburn has experience

While Feathers may have the most potential to scare opponent’s defensive coordinators with his running ability, Colburn may be the safest choice for Grady.

Colburn has put in his time for the last three years waiting for his turn. And this year is supposed to be his shot to finally ‘be the man.’ But with talent swarming around him, Colburn could find himself in a familiar place come opening day: on the sidelines.


The story “It’s all up in the air” in the March 11 issue of The Collegian incorrectly attributed two quotes to Fresno State quarterback Ryan Colburn. The Collegian did not speak with Colburn for the story.

“I’m going to give it everything I’ve got,” Colburn said. “If I play to my potential, I feel I could be the starting QB next year. We’re all friends, and competition is healthy for a team. It’s going to be one hell of a ride.”

So will it be Colburn, ‘a Feather’ or ‘a Carr’ that drives Fresno State’s offense next season? 

Only one man will make that decision.

And Grady says it won’t be him.

“I won’t be the reason why two of these guys won’t start,” Grady said. “I am going into this open-minded and this is truly an open competition. Those three individuals will decide who starts with their performances leading up to the decision. Only time will tell.”

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