Spring Ball Primer: Quarterback

Spring Ball Primer: Quarterback

Head coach Tim DeRuyter is set to begin his first spring practice next week, and one position he doesn't need to worry about is quarterback…

The transition to the spread offense and 3-4 defense will be showcased on March 25 for the annual spring scrimmage. Most eyes will be on offense and the abundant of returning talent on that side of the ball led by quarterback Derek Carr.

The Gunslinger

Carr quietly had a spectacular first season as a starting quarterback. Quietly, in that most overlooked his 3,544 passing yards and 26 touchdowns during Fresno State's disappointing 4-9 season. Quietly, as he became the only second Bulldog quarterback to pass for more than 3,500 yards in a single season and the first to top 3,000 yards in his first season as a starter.

Only his brother David passed for more yards in a single season.

Carr is poised to make the transition from the pro-style offense to DeRuyter's spread offense. His brother's 4,839 passing yards single-season record could be broken this season. However, he would have to average 373 yards per game, including a possible bowl game, to accomplish it.

He will get every opportunity in DeRuyter's offense.

Carr played in a spread offense his senior year at Bakersfield Christian High School, where he earned high school All-American honors after passing for over 4,000 yards. Spread elements were implemented in last year's Bulldog offense but nothing like we'll see in 2012.

DeRuyter preaches "tempo." Fresno State has never engaged in "tempo" on either side of the ball. But on offense, the Bulldogs have all the weapons to run an up-tempo offense starting with Carr.

He has all the tools to run a spread offense from his quick release to his ability to make all the throws. While he is the prototypical pocket passer, he can be far more prolific in the spread attack.

Spring ball will be a window for fans to get a glimpse of what is possible this season. From true four, five-receive sets to attacking the middle of the field, the look of the offense will have an entire different look from the last 15 years.

Carr came to Fresno State to accomplish big things. Winning a conference championship may not happen in 2012, but he has the weapons in an offense that will highlight his abilities far more than a year ago.

A season with over 4,000 yards passing and 40 touchdowns is a definite possibility.

The Reserves

Carr spent some time running away from defenders with a makeshift offensive line early in the season. He took some wicked shots. Nonetheless, he showed his toughness and mettle by not missing a down due to injury. Only Greg Watson took another snap at quarterback last season in a mop up time at Idaho.

With Kelly O'Brien and Marcus McDade also returning, the backup role is wide open in a new offense. Watson has earned the backup role the last two years, and is favored to do so again in 2012.

The ‘Dogs recruited O'Brien to be Ryan Colburn's backup in 2010 while Carr redshirted, but Watson beat him out. O'Brien fits the pro-style better than the spread. He lacks the arm strength to fire the ball to all corners of the field. Watson absorbed the pro-style offense, but he is a spread quarterback. Shotgun sets, roll outs, and "tempo" fit the undersized caller with a decent arm.

Regardless, the one to watch is McDade. The rocket-armed redshirt ran the spread at St. Mary's High School. He has the physical tools – size, arm, and athleticism. However, his accuracy and ability to read defense were detractors in the pro-style. In the spread, he can use his strength – finding open receivers with his arm.

DeRuyter can claim every position on the field is open, but quarterback is the most certain not to have a battle outside who is backing up Carr.

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