Matt Weir/Collegian File Photo
After two years of being the quarterback in waiting, the offensive firepower now rests on the right arm of Derek Carr, who was the prize recruit of the 2009 recruiting class.
After committing his college career to Fresno State, Carr graduated early from Bakersfield Christian High School to enroll in school during the spring semester of 2009.
During that spring, Carr began practicing with the football team and began learning the playbook.
This led to a starting quarterback competition between returning quarterback Ryan Colburn and Carr along with Ebahn Feathers, who is no longer with the team.
Colburn would eventually win the competition that fall and with him returning last season as the starter, coaches elected to redshirt Carr to preserve three years of eligibility.
But with Colburn out of eligibility, Carr is finally the No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart this spring.
“It’s awesome,” Carr said. “It’s good to finally be out here running with the ones. I can’t wait to get this thing going.”
His time as the starting quarterback has been destined to happen, with Derek’s brother David helping put Fresno State on the map and rewriting the school’s passing records.
“I’ve been playing [football] since I was little.” Carr said. “And I know how to read defenses. And I know how to throw a ball. I can get out of there and run if I have to. We’ll see [when we play] Cal I guess.”
Carr’s running ability will be key against some of the teams they play next season which include, Cal, Nebraska, Ole Miss and rival Boise State, but this isn’t the only thing that will help Carr prepare for 2011 season.
“I’m up to 205 [pounds] now,” Carr said. “I’ll probably be 210 by the season and still be able to run fast so it will be fun to watch.”
Matt Weir/Collegian File Photo
With the added weight and the same mobility, the Bakersfield Christian graduate should be ready for the first game of the season at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.
One coach who had been working with Carr since he arrived on campus gave some thoughts on how he’s looked so far this spring.
“He’s been very sharp,” passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jeff Grady said. “He’s been good. Obviously, he’s had a couple years in the system so he knows what he’s doing.
He gets the ball out of hands fast.”
With the added experience in the system, knowledge of the playbook won’t be the issue for the redshirt sophomore.
As the most experienced quarterback on the roster, Carr has played in five games completing 10-of-14 passes for 112 yards during the 2009 season. Grady described how the ‘Dogs’ starting quarterback has had to step into another key spot on the team.
“We had a lot of veteran leadership last year,” Grady said. “He’s kind of filled in a little bit. We’ve got a lot of guys that are doing a great job in terms of leadership.”
With the 2011 football season just four months away, Carr talked about what he will need to do to continue improving until then.
“Just hard work everyday,” Carr said. “That’s all it is and that’s all it’s going to continue to be.”