Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter is a coach on fire with a program on fire. In a time where most of the national news is circling around some high-profile coaching vacancies, DeRuyter is making his rounds to promote the Valley's latest Bulldog squad to gain national prominence.
One of those rounds was on Los Angeles' AM 570 Fox Sports Radio to talk with Matt 'Money' Smith and Petros Papadakis on the Petros and Money Show (PMS) on Monday.
FSBulldogs.com has the interview for you here. We've trimmed down some of the fat and chatter to get straight to the good stuff.
PMS: How are you, coach?
DeRuyter: I'm doing awesome. I tell ya, it's great up here in the Valley and we're trying to make the Valley proud with our team.
PMS: How were you able to turn it around so quickly?
DeRuyter: Well, I tell ya, Pat Hill and his staff recruited some really good kids. We're very fortunate to come in here and not have to totally change culture. We're going some different things offensively and defensively. Tweaked a couple things. But there's some quality guys in here. We're very fortunate to have guys like Derek Carr and Davante Adams, you know, Isaiah Burse. We got some good ball players and so we just have a little different attack with them and we're having some success.
PMS: What do you have in Derek Carr?
For people that haven't seen him play, they outta check us out. He's the real deal. He's got all the physical tools: really strong arm, very, very accurate, really works the game as far as understanding it. He's a gym rat in the meetings rooms. He's like having a coach on the field. And he's a high, high character leader. He's everything you want. Plus he's married and he's got a kid, which is a heck of a lot more responsibility than I had at that time. I don't know how he does it, but he's doing a great job for us.
PMS: He's come a long way as a person. He's a humble kid. It's taken a while to get there.
Well, it's a process for most kids. Since I've been here, he's been extremely impressive. He's very strong-willed. He's got a strong faith. He's a guy that, since we've been here, wanted to kinda beat his brother. You know, he always had that out in front of him and he's driven by that. I'm not saying he's gonna be a number one overall draft pick like his brother, but he's led us to a conference championship a year ago, a share of it, and that's his goal this year.
PMS: How good is Derek Carr?
I think he's a valuable to our team as any quarterback is to their team and that's kinda what I reference. I was around Ryan Tannehill and Johnny Manziel out at Texas A&M. They're both very unique talents. I think he compares very favorably with Ryan Tannehill. Ryan's got larger measurable. He's 6-foot-4. Derek's about 6-foot-3. Not quite as thick as those guys, but I think he's got just about the same arm strength and accuracy. He's a really good athlete and he really studies the game. And he's got a little bit of an 'it-factor' to him. We've had a couple games where's he's had to go down at the end of the game and go win it. He finds ways to win games.
PMS: Before you arrived, this defense was in the hundreds, you got it to the teens. How do you have such a quick turnaround in the defensive rankings?
Well, I tell ya, you're blessed with your players. When we were at Texas A&M we had Von Miller. We had a bunch of other good players. Nick Toth, who was with me at Texas A&M, he's our defensive coordinator here at Fresno State. We've been running this system for a while. I coached him when he played for me at Ohio University. We've coached together a few different places now. When you've got a familiarity with the coaching staff, knowing how they want to coach things, we have a teaching style that can, I think, get across to our players fairly quickly. We make it fun for 'em. Guys like the blitz. I think, by nature defensive players like being disruptive and we run a scheme that gives them some personality, gives them some input on what we do. Our guys take to it.
PMS: How hard is it to get teams to schedule Fresno State?
Well it is difficult. Because of the success that Coach Sweeney and Coach Hill had, a lot of people don't want to come to the Valley, to Bulldog Stadium, and play us. But we have played some people here. Colorado came here last year. We had Rutgers come in this year. I know we're traveling back down to Southern California next year to play USC and we've got Nebraska, actually, coming next year to Bulldog Stadium. We're gonna keep playing national teams. I think it helps us recruit the kind of guys we want to have. We realize it's uphill recruiting against Pac-12 schools, but we're gonna try to give them a top-25 program to come to and a school that's gonna play against the best. To me, there's not a whole lot of better venues to play in than right here in Bulldog Stadium. We've got a great game day environment and a passionate fan base that likes watching us play.
PMS: After the scare in Hawaii, what are the challenges this week? Are you worried about a letdown?
I think we started fairly well going out to Hawaii. I realize, Petros, we were up 42 to 3 in that game and I've gotta do a better job of getting our guys to get their eyes off the scoreboard and keep playing.
PMS: It's hard in Hawaii though. They got the weather, the trade-winds, it happens to teams all the time!
I realize that, but we came out focused and played well. But you know what we did is we turned the ball over five times. You can't beat good teams doing that. We were very, very fortunate to get out of there with the win. But it's one of those things that sometimes when you have a special year, you gotta escape games when you don't play well, and certainly we did that. I think our guys got close to that stove, got close to burning themselves. I'm hoping they can remember that this week as we prepare to go up to Idaho because that's a team, 0-for-3, they're doing a nice job. They got their first win last week. They're definitely energized. It was a totally different team, watching the tape from Temple then the ones we saw earlier in the year, which is to be expected when you have a brand new staff.
Stay tuned to FSBulldogs.com for more updates on the Fresno State 2013 season.
Josh Webb is a special contributor to FSBulldogs.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @BulldogsTwist.