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Conference loaded at QB

Published July 22, 2013 11:55 pm

Mountain West • Fresno State's Carr ranks at top of list.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Las Vegas • Who has the best arm of them all? Everyone's got an opinion.

Derek Carr, the Fresno State star and little brother of former NFLer David Carr, got the nod from the media in a poll released Monday morning.

But San Jose State linebacker Keith Smith will swear teammate David Fales is the best. And Boise State lineman Charles Leno would put Bronco Joe Southwick against any of them. Nevada's Cody Fajardo is known for his running ability, but his arm talent got him an invite to Peyton Manning's camp.

At Utah State, Chuckie Keeton is just glad to see the deck so stacked in his new conference home.

"We're jam-packed at quarterback this year," he said. "No matter what team it is, I like seeing a good offense. Hopefully we can be at the top of the chart."

That will be a tall order even for a team that returns Keeton and his entire offensive line. Fajardo, Carr, Fales and Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith all ranked ahead of Keeton in total offense per game last season — even though Keeton was No. 17 in the nation in that category.

On Monday's media day, the quarterbacks were very cordial to each other, but Carr in particular was outspoken about outshining his peers.

"My thing is I don't want to be the best in our conference, I want to be the best in the nation," Carr said. "It's my competitive drive, and it will never change, no matter how many people tell me I'm crazy. And trust me a lot of them have since my freshman year."

"A lot of people get caught up in 'Do you think you're as good as this guy?'" he said. "The only person I really compare to myself is myself."Others were a little softer spoken about the perceived quarterback rankings. Smith, for example, said he'd check at the end of the year.

Fresno State leads Mountain West teams

The Bulldogs may lead the conference in individual talent. A conference-high seven players were named to the preseason all-Mountain West team while also taking offensive (Carr) and defensive (Derron Smith) player of the year.

The team was excited, but what it's really craving is an outright conference championship."It's exciting, but I look at it as we're on the attack," Smith said. "We're going after every other team like we did last year when we were coming off a 4-9 year."