Cinderella Story

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September 10, 2001
Cinderella Story

We lamented Michael Vick and Drew Henson’s early departures, tried to get a read on high-celing guys like Chris Simms and Jason Thomas, all the while oblivious to perhaps the nation’s best QB, Fresno State’s David Carr.

We’re oblivious no more.

The senior quarterback has led Fresno State to three straight wins, including upsets of Oregon State and Wisconsin, and claimed early dibs on college football’s Cinderella story. Even the school’s public relations department was caught off guard by Carr’s emergence, throwing together a belated Heisman push this week to take advantage of the tremendous gloss he and his Bulldogs are currently enjoying. But he is worth all the hype?

So far, yes.

Carr’s a prototypical pocket passer with terrific touch on the short and long balls. He has the speed to move outside the pocket (4.67/40), and the skill to make things happen once there. Carr can be flustered, but rarely makes a mistake to hurt his team. He completes a high percentage of his passes and has learned to put balls where only his receivers can get to them. If they can’t, he’s content to let his passes fall incomplete. That’s because he has the confidence to come back and try it again, and again. It’s that determination that has scouts comparing him to another gutty, linebacker-trapped-in-a-quareterback’s-body: Brett Favre.

In three starts this year, Carr has completed 59% of his 106 passes for 763 yards, seven touchdowns and only one interception. He has an NFL arm, a big frame (225 lbs.), strength and athleticism. ‘s Mel Kiper, Jr., thinks that if Carr continues at his current pace, he could be next year’s top QB taken. Others agree, as Carr has now, at the very least, moved into the top 25. And he continues to moves up even further with each stellar performace.

If there’s a red flag with Carr’s game right now it’s that he doesn’t have the most challenging schedule down the stretch. Outside of a road game with Colorado State, Carr’s opponents include such heavyweights as SMU, Boise State and Rice. But Carr showed in his battle with Oregon State, ranked #10 at the time, that he could play with the big boys. He completed 21/34 for 340 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT.

Carr definitely bears watching. And he’s reason #3,145 why we bother to play the games on the field, and not on paper; reason #217 why we shouldn’t have panicked when Vick and Henson opted out of the draft and reason #1 why this is such a fun and exciting time for Texan football fans. Expect many more David Carr’s to emerge as the college football season unfolds.

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