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October 9, 2013

Controversy in Idaho

As Fresno State entered their game with the Idaho Vandals, most of the attention was on the previous weeks' efforts by the defense and last week's effort by receiver Isaiah Burse. Oddly enough, those things were barely touched on when the game was over because of some in-game controversy surrounding Vandal head coach Paul Petrino and Derek Carr.

Petrino allegedly told his players to hit Carr late and often. As one might imagine, Bulldog head coach Tim DeRuyter was pretty heated. It ticked DeRuyter off enough that his halftime comments became somewhat of a national story. First reported by the Bulldog flagship 940 ESPN, DeRuyter's comments soon found their way into stories and social media almost immediately.

"We're gonna score 100," ESPN reported at halftime. "That's how we keep our guys interested. They keep playin' that way... They're being instructed by their head coach to hit our guys late. He's yelling on the sideline to hit our QB late. He's going to get what he deserves."

So, naturally, any story leading into the game took a backseat to whether or not players were being instructed to intentionally hurt Carr. DeRuyter wasn't overly chatty about the subject after the game, but he did address the topic with the media.

"There were some words from their sideline toward our quarterback and we didn't appreciate it," DeRuyter said. "It's over now. There was someone on their staff that was yelling at us, but no players. You'd have to ask them what was said."

While DeRuyter also wouldn't come out and said that he wanted to hand Petrino his head on a platter, he did say that Petrino fired him up in a way that nobody has before. Asked point blank if he's ever been so fired up that he told a team to go and score 100 points, DeRuyter responded with all the intensity you would expect of a former linebacker turned military man turned coach.

"No," DeRuyter said. "But from what we were told that was said, I was fired up. We're fine. His kids played hard and our kids played hard. I think we had some good matchups against them."

As for whether or not the words from the Idaho sideline led to an aggressive nature in the second half, DeRuyter wouldn't say outright.

"I don't know," DeRuyter said. "Our kids played hard. I think our guys have a lot of pride. When you challenge them to play hard for 60 minutes, they're gonna play hard for 60 minutes. I was really happy with our guys' effort today."

Despite the fact that Carr put up video game-like numbers in the first half, completing 31-of-37 for 390 yards and five touchdowns, DeRuyter kept Carr in the game through the third quarter. For his part, Carr didn't necessarily notice anything out of whack with the way Idaho played after the whistle had blow.

"Honestly, I don't even know when the whistle was blown," Carr said. "My job is just to continue to work hard. Just don't worry about that stuff. Things that we can't handle, I don't pay any attention to. I just go out and just play hard."

Carr honestly didn't think he had been hit at all. Instead of directing the blame at Petrino, he took the chance to praise the efforts of his offensive line. Carr told the media he didn't think he had been hit even once. As a matter of fact, Carr thinks they did a good enough job to earn some home-cooking from his wife.

"No. I think the offensive line kept me clean. I gotta be honest, there are some times when I get hit in games and I don't even know 'cause my eyes are down field. I don't think so, without seeing the film. I think the offensive line, again, is doing a phenomenal job. They'll definitely get some brownies from Heather here on Monday."

Despite the fact that some may cry foul over the way DeRuyter handled the offense in the second half, perhaps there was another explanation that makes a bit more sense than petty revenge. An explanation so simple that it's nothing more than an object most people use for nothing more than dirty mop water.

""We reminded them of guys like Sean Alston, who can't play this year," DeRuyter said. "Sean's charge to our team this summer was 'empty the bucket.' So we brought a bucket out here, had everybody sign that bucket, and commit to playing hard, emptying the bucket every, single snap they're out there and I thought our guys approached that."

DeRuyter went on further to state that they had actually intended to pull the offense much earlier. Once again, revenge had little to do with his motivations for leaving his guys. For DeRuyter, execution and finishing drives was the litmus test by which he was going to measure his starts. As for why he specifically left in Carr, DeRuyter had another simple explanation.

"You talk to the coaches on the sideline about 'is the game in hand? Have we done what we need to do to win the football game? And are the other guys behind them ready to take the torch and keep playing well?' We've gotta develop our team and we wouldn't want to get Derek hurt. We talked about it in the third quarter. If we'd have finished some of those drives early in the third quarter, we probably would have pulled him out earlier. But we didn't, so we stuck with him."

As things normally are in college football, it would seem that DeRuyter handled the situation professionally and as a coach should, even if Petrino was playing a little dirty. As for the offensive line, those brownies are going to make them work even harder. If there's something we know at FSBulldogs.com, it's how something like sweets can motivate players to work their asses off.

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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