If Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr succeeds as an NFL starter, his brother David's struggles in the same position might be the main reason why, as NFL Network's Paul Burmeister relayed to the College Football 24/7 podcast how David began training Derek to read defenses at an early age.
Burmeister, who heard the anecdote first-hand covering a Fresno State game in 2012, picks up the story, quoting Derek Carr:
"He (David) says, 'What's the coverage? How many are coming? Who's coming?' I said, 'I'm 11 years old, I don't know. I don't know who's coming, who's rushing.' He goes, 'All right, you're sacked.' We did this for a half-hour. My brother stops the tape and says you've been sacked 25 times, probably fumbled 15 times. You can't play."
Every summer that followed became a tutoring session using that same approach, with David prepping Derek on how to figure out protections and identify NFL defenses.
The younger Carr relayed to Burmeister the value of that training: "The No. 1 thing I have learned and I know better than everyone else (is) protections, because I have been doing this since I was 12 years old," Carr said.
One of the major knocks against Derek Carr has been the lack of NFL throws featured in the Bulldogs' spread offense, but he fared well in Senior Bowl practices and in the game itself. Strong performances when breaking down film or plays on the whiteboard for NFL scouts and executives can continue that momentum, continuing to assert Carr as the top senior signal-caller, especially for a team that feels it can compete immediately for a playoff berth.
For a team like the Texans, which certainly has the talent for a quick turnaround, Carr's ability to diagnose what defenses are doing might make him a more desirable addition than someone who needs to learn how to do that.
And Burmeister is sold on Carr's attributes off the field.
"He's a hard kid not to like," Burmeister said. "I think his study habits are great, he's in the building early. He has got those skills and traits that you want a quarterback to have."
But Carr's best attribute might be the understanding of what it takes at the next level, having seen and learned from the struggles his brother went through.