Fresno State did not have a junior college quarterback high on its list of recruiting priorities early on. The Bulldogs had Derek Carr, who was still a junior. Greg Watson was the backup, followed by Marcus McDade and Myles Carr. It was not a pressing need – certainly not as pressing as the offensive and defensive lines, the linebacker and defensive backs positions.
But with Watson moving to receiver and questions about the progress McDade and Myles Carr made during the season, the Bulldogs went out and signed Brian Burrell, who last season led Bakersfield City College to a CCCAA state championship with a victory over City College of San Francisco.
The 6-foot-4 Burrell is enrolled in school and will participate in spring practices, competing with McDade and Myles Carr to be the backup quarterback.
Here is Coach Tim DeRuyter on Burrell:
‘’Right now, with the younger guys that we have, nobody has established themselves as a No. 2 to where we would feel good about it. It was kind of an insurance policy. Obviously, with Derek coming back, we feel good about him. But we were thinking about maybe (taking a JC transfer) and then we saw the tape on Brian – he’s a heck of a quarterback. He’s going to come in and compete and it will be good competition for everybody.’’
Kuwada: What does he do well that translates to what you guys are running?
‘’I think he’s very athletic. He’s very accurate throwing the ball. He doesn’t run a ton, but when he does he can move the chains. I think his leadership and his accuracy are probably his high points. He took a team to the state championship game a year ago. All those things I think are key to a quarterback and that’s what he’s going to bring us.’’
You look at the measurables also …
‘’He’s got a definite advantage over, say, Greg would throwing the ball over the line of scrimmage. Obviously, if Greg would have been our quarterback we would have done some different things with our package. But he’s somebody that we can run our entire offense with, including some quarterback run game, so we’re excited about it.’’
The quarterback run game, you could use that more than you might with Derek?
‘’Yeah, with Derek hurt the back half of the year we really limited that. Derek obviously athletically can do it, but with our fear of putting the ball in his hands too many times and not feeling really good about our backup, we didn’t want to put him in that position and the fact that he was dinged up, he had that groin injury, he wasn’t at top speed. We just wanted to avoid that and get through.
‘’Ideally, we’re going to get mobile quarterbacks that can not only throw the ball but can hurt people with their feet and extend the play. That’s when you get a chance to make big, explosive plays.’’
So, take Derek at full health. Brian would be a better in quarterback run game?
‘’If Derek is healthy, they’re both about the same, because Derek can run. We just didn’t want to put him in that position a year ago. As we get more competition and we feel better about our No. 2 quarterback, we’ll probably be more inclined to run Derek, especially if he’s healthy with that groin and he’ll be ready for spring ball.’’