By Chadd Cripe
© 2011 Idaho Statesman
Ten years ago, Boise State spoiled Fresno State star quarterback David Carr’s senior season. The upstart Broncos stunned the undefeated and No. 8 Bulldogs 35-30 in Fresno — shortly after the Bulldogs had made the cover of Sports Illustrated.
The Carr family hasn’t forgotten.
In fact, David Carr placed a Boise State flag in his little brother Derek’s living room when Derek arrived at Fresno State in 2009. Carr, a redshirt sophomore, will get his first shot at the Broncos on Friday night.
“That was my brother’s little moment to mess with me,” Carr said of the flag. “He said I can’t take it down till we beat them.”
The flag is not popular with teammates.
“It’s definitely come down a lot,” Carr said. “I have to keep putting it back up.”
Carr was in the stands, near the ramp where players enter Bulldog Stadium, for that 2001 game.
“I remember that game like it was yesterday,” he said. “It made me feel for my brother, and it really made me want to come to Fresno State.”
Here are some other highlights from my conversation with Carr:
— On why he chose Fresno State: “I just wanted to help coach (Pat) Hill win a championship. I really feel like he deserves one and I really want to fight for him. He’s like my family. And he has been since I was little. I really wanted to come here and play hard for him.”
— On hanging out with Boise State defensive end Tyrone Crawford last summer: “We played 2-on-2 basketball. Me and Tyrone won — not because of me, though. It was all because of Tyrone.”
— The Carr family moved to Houston when David was drafted by the Texans. They moved back to Bakersfield, Calif., for Derek’s senior year. “My grandfather was real sick, my junior year, and I wanted to move back my senior year so I could spend some time with him,” Carr said.
— On his relationship with David, a backup quarterback with the New York Giants: “I text him every day. Every night when I get off of practice I call him. … We try to play one (Madden video game) a week — just relax, take a little time and mess with each other a little bit.”
— On similarities to his brother: “If you sat around and hung around us both and got us talking, you’d be like, ‘Man, these guys are the exact same person.’ If you didn’t know us, you’d think, ‘Derek is the guy who talks too much and David doesn’t talk enough.’ But if you get us around a comfortable environment, we’re identical.”
— On whether they play with similar styles: “I don’t even know. When I watch me play, I resemble him a lot in our mannerisms, just how we move. I grew up watching him and I do a lot of things just like him.”
— On what he’s learned from David: “Everything. From the best advice he ever gave me, which was just don’t be an idiot — that goes for life, nothing good happens after midnight, and for football, don’t force throws. He watches every one of my games. If I force a throw, out of all the good things I do, I expect him to call and ask me about that one. I appreciate him doing that. I’m his biggest fan and he’s mine. I’d rather see him succeed than myself and he feels the same way.”
— On handling the burden of being a “Carr” at Fresno State: “I knew coming here would do that. And some good things come from it and some bad things come from it. … There is a really good argument that he’s probably the best player that ever came through here and he just happens to be my brother. I don’t really look at anything that comes with that in a bad way. My hero is my brother and not a lot of people can say that.”
— On what he learned from his brother’s struggles in Houston, where David started for five years and was sacked 249 times: “He never blamed one person when he could have pointed the finger at a lot of people. That was not his fault. It was just a rough deal for him. He’s a great football player. … It takes a whole team to be good at quarterback. When he has time, he’s unbelievable, like he showed this preseason. He had three touchdowns in one half of football.”
— On whether he’s faster than David: “We raced in his back yard one time and neither one of us would stop. We ran into the wall. We saw the wall coming, but we didn’t want to stop. … But based on 40 time, I’m a little faster.”
— On his season so far: “I feel great. Coach (Jeff) Grady has done a great job getting me prepared every day. It’s truly a blessing that God has given me the vision that I haven’t been confused out there. … Cal tried to throw some crazy stuff at us.”
Here’s a note on Carr’s relationship with three Boise State defensive starters that ran in today’s paper:
When Fresno State sophomore quarterback Derek Carr looks across the line of scrimmage Friday night, he’ll see three old friends — one trying to sack him and two hoping to intercept him.
Carr competed in high school sporting events in the Houston area with Boise State senior safety George Iloka and sophomore cornerback Quaylon Ewing-Burton. He moved to Bakersfield, Calif., for his senior year of high school and works out at the same facility as Boise State defensive end Tyrone Crawford, who transferred from Bakersfield College.
The friends hung out last year when Fresno State played in the Humanitarian Bowl, Crawford and Carr played 2-on-2 basketball together last summer and Ewing-Burton plans to visit Carr next year.
Ewing-Burton is making his second career start and talked to Carr earlier this week.
“That’s so funny that he’s getting the start this game,” Carr said. “It’s perfect. I get to play against three of my best friends from days in the past. It’s going to be awesome.”
Iloka’s last showdown with Carr was when Iloka was a senior at Kempner High and Carr was a junior at Clements. Iloka already had his scholarship offer, but several members of the Broncos’ coaching staff were scouting that game.
Clements won in a blowout.
“I thought they were going to pull my scholarship,” Iloka said.
Said Carr: “He made every tackle it seemed like in that game.”