Good Sports: Bulldog Football Leadership

August 24, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Fresno State Bulldogs are ready to have a great 2013 season, led by Heisman hopeful Derek Carr, the 'Dogs are poised to do big things in their second season in the Mountain West Conference.

But the last thing many fans remember is a disappointing blowout loss to SMU to end the season. We found out a month later that Carr played most of that game and the season hurt. But he vows to be back better than ever in his final go around.

"There's a lot of guys that could have, or didn't get to play through that injury," said Carr. "So I felt so blessed and now that I'm healthy, the skies the limit. I always put the hard work in, so hard work pays off. And I didn't come up with that so, I'm really looking forward to this year."

Carr this season will be joined by some of best signal callers in the Mountain West. Coaches and players admitted at this summer's media days that this conference is filled with top quarterbacks. The league's preseason offensive player of the year says he's ready for the challenge.

"I am looking forward to it," admitted Carr. "It's going to be fun, there's a lot of great talent but at the same time I'm going out there to be the best. And that's where my mindset has always been. And I'm going to work out there as hard as I can to make sure that happens."

And then there is his teammate Derron Smith, he was voted as the Conferences Preseason Defensive Player of the year. Smith's role is to replace the production and leadership left behind by Phillip Thomas. The All-American graduated after last season.

"So, with Phillip gone it's a lot of pressure on us as defensive back unit," said Smith. "But I think we're ready for the challenge."

The schedule is set up for the 'Dogs to perhaps run the table and bust a BCS Bowl with a perfect season. But Smith says first things first.

"Everybody wants to question about the Boise game, about the conference championship, about BCS and all of that but, we can't reach any of that you know, without the first game," stressed Smith. "We've got to take it one week at a time and that's what we've been doing this whole summer. It's been focusing on the 29th against Rutgers. Preparing for Rutgers and getting ready for Rutgers, so that's our main focus."

And so the focus remains Rutgers next week, and the 'Dogs want the Red Wave to fill Bulldog Stadium Thursday night.

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