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September 18, 2013

Bulldogs are getting ready for Boise

As Coach Tim DeRuyter and quarterback Derek Carr prepare for what they call "just another game," the rest of the nation is anxious to find out of the Bulldogs can finally overcome the Broncos to become the class of the conference.

Carr, however, is taking the Joe-cool approach to this game. He and the coaching staff believe he's been up inside his own head about these matters far too many times before. Now is the time to slow things down and treat it like any other day.

"I think last year I thought about those things way too much," Carr said. "I think that the past two years I think about those things way too much. I think I'm more mature now, talking with the coaches and stuff, preparing for this game. I'm treating it like another game. You know, being older-this being my almost 30th start now-I learned how to prepare more mentally for games now than I did last year. I got caught up in all that stuff.

"Now, it just doesn't matter. If I just continue to prepare like it's just another game, when you go out there-when I went out to the Boise game last year-once I got out there, it's just another game. I think I just got caught up in my head way too much. So, I'm definitely more mature this year. I'm not trying to think about those things. It's just knowing, hey, I'm gonna prepare the best I can, go out and do my very best, and we'll see what happens."

DeRuyter shares a similar sentiment about the Bulldogs' recent move into the USA Today/Coaches Poll as the nation's No. 25 team.

"Well, it's a nice feeling, but not sure it's totally deserved yet," DeRuyter said. "The great thing about football is you get opportunities to play, but we have to go earn it. We are excited that we're finally in a conference play game this weekend, with Boise coming to town on Friday. It's a nationally televised game on ESPN, which always elevates our school's profile and our program's profile. It's the Red Wave takeover, so we're excited about that."

There are, of course, the other looming storylines that are hanging around this game. For many, the winner of this game would have the inside track to hosting the Mountain West Championship game in their home stadium. Grounded as ever, DeRuyter and Carr refused to focus on such matters ahead of a formidable opponent

"Well, there's no doubt that we would want it here," Carr said of hosting the MWC title game. "We know what we need to do in order to do those things, but for us to be successful, all we have to do is worry about our job. Worry about what our coaches are telling us. If we can get both sides of the ball, special teams, focused on our job and preparing one-hundred percent of the way, then we don't have to worry about those things. Then the game will take care of itself.

"That's one thing, like I said earlier, where I'm more mature," Carr said. "I'm just going to worry about my job, prepare the best that I can, and I'm going to go out and play as hard as I can, like I always do. That way, at the end of the game, when we look up, it will all take care of itself."

Like Carr, DeRuyter wasn't focused on petty matters like national rankings. Choosing to focus on the matter at hand instead, DeRuyter actually had some not-so-kind words for the system as a whole.

"To be honest with you," DeRuyter said, "when you move up after you didn't play over the weekend, it's kind of indicative of national rankings after only a few weeks. If we're having this conversation in December, I'd be very happy. But right now, it's just a nice feather in your cap and it's nice for fans to talk about, but it's something our players aren't really concerned about."

While the Broncos are a daunting challenge, Carr welcomes it with open arms. He actually prefers it.

"It's nice playing against them," Carr said. "Where with Rutgers, you prepare for a game and you don't have any clue as to what's going to happen. You don't have any clue what's going to happen Friday, but you have more of a feeling. You have more of a knowledge as to what they're going to try and do schematically. I have played against their players, so I know how they move. I know what kind of stuff they do. I know who likes to talk trash, all those things. Whereas Rutgers came out and I knew nothing about them, except what I saw on film. I think that, schematically, you know what they kind of want to do, but you never know.

"They could come out and do something totally different, especially once we started getting hot last year. Whatever we saw on film, we'd come out and they would not do one, single thing that they showed on film. But Boise State, the way they are-good teams don't change. I think they've been great at what they've done forever."

But Carr realizes that this is a pendulum that swings both ways. Fortunately, Carr has a secret weapon who has been getting him ready for this moment since before Boise State even thought about this game.

""They know me very well. They've played against me two years now. This will be the third time. But I'm definitely a different player this year than I have been the past two years. I mean, turning on the film last year makes me sick when I look at myself. I like how I'm playing this year and I gotta continue to grow and be better. Coach Schramm is doing a great job of pushing me and I love that about him. He doesn't let me get comfortable, ever. He continues to push me. He lets me know what I need to get better at and I love it."

DeRuyter also made mention of a couple storylines that he didn't want to get lost in all the hype. Storylines that would have a more lasting impact on people.

"We're also opening our Meyer's Family Medical Center this weekend," DeRuyter said. "It's really going to be a big-time improvement for our athletic training and for our student-athletes to have a great athletic facility. We're also going to do something because of our situation with Colorado last week. Our student-athletes are raising money for the disaster relief."

You can contact the school for more information or bring your donations to the stadium before the game.

Stay tuned to FSBulldogs.com for more updates on the Fresno State 2014 recruiting class.

Josh Webb is a special contributor to FSBulldogs.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @BulldogsTwist.


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