FRESNO, Calif. – Right after Fresno State fell 35-28 at San Diego State on Dec. 3 to end the Bulldogs’ 2011 season with a 4-9 record, quarterback Derek Carr vowed to turn things around.
“This loss is definitely going to weight on my shoulders this offseason,” Carr said in the post-game press conference following the loss at SDSU. “I’m going to go out there this offseason and work as hard as I can. I’m going to outwork everybody and get ready for next year. I’m going to come out 10 times better than I was this year.”
|CAST YOUR VOTE|
How will Fresno State fare in 2012?
Better than last season
86% (176 votes)
About the same as last season
9% (18 votes)
Not as well as last season
5% (10 votes)
Total votes: 204
The sting from a 4-9 season has fueled the highly-competitive Carr all offseason – through a coaching change, through spring practices and the implementation of a new offense and through the summer workouts in the San Joaquin Valley heat.
“As a team and as a leader of our team, my main goal is to bring Fresno a championship,” Carr said. “We have the team to do it and I’m really proud of how hard our guys are working and that’s what it takes.
“I really think the city of Fresno deserves that. It has been our main emphasis and we are just taking it one day at a time like you take it one game at a time and getting better that day.”
All summer, Carr and running back Robbie Rouse have been leading player-run practices. Per NCAA rules, players can’t receive coaching from anyone other than the strength staff, so Carr and Rouse put it on their shoulders to get the team out on the field all summer.
With the installation of new offensive coordinator Dave Schramm’s spread offense in spring practice, Carr, Rouse and the Bulldogs have been working hard all summer fine-tuning the system. Carr says that the team has developed good chemistry and is ready to hit the ground running come fall camp.
“Once we hit fall camp, we have already run the offense, so it’s not going to be a brand new,” he said. “It’s going to be night and day from [where we were at] in the spring.”
The spread offense is what Carr ran his senior year in high school at Bakersfield Christian when he threw for 4,067 yards and 46 touchdowns. He predicts that this year’s team will have the ability to put up big numbers as well.
“Coach Schramm does a good job of spreading the ball out to everybody and making sure that our best guys have the ball in their hands,” Carr said. “I expect to see Robbie [Rouse] do a lot of good things. Davante [Adams], Rashad [Evans], [Isaiah] Burse, all those guys who make me look a lot better than I am.”
Another change for Carr this offseason came in his personal life. Carr, 21, and his wife Heather got married in late June and were able to experience a little honeymoon when the team was off from workouts for the Fourth of July break.
So with the summer all but over, Carr and his teammates are ready to get out on the field during fall camp to officially begin preparations for Fresno State’s first season in the Mountain West. Carr, Rouse and head coach Tim DeRuyter will be traveling to Las Vegas, Nev. for the 2012 Mountain West Football Media Days, July 24-25. Players report for fall camp on Aug. 2 and the Bulldogs hold their first practice on Friday, Aug. 3.
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