Freshman Carrie thrown into action

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 7, 2001

Richard Dark

Friday, September 07, 2001

The Natchez Democrat

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LORMAN – In every sense of the word, it’s definitely a trial

by fire.

That’s possibly the best way to describe the education that

redshirt freshman Donald Carrie is getting as quarterback of the

Alcorn State University Braves.

The 6-2, 210 pounder from New Orleans’ McMain High School has

come a long way from busing tables at the Metairie Country Club

in suburban New Orleans.

Fresh off a 324-yard passing effort in his first collegiate

outing, Carrie may lack some experience, but certainly not confidence.

&uot;Right now, I feel good about myself and the rest of the

team,&uot; Carrie said, following the final practice in Lorman

before the team departs for Montgomery, Ala., to face Alabama


&uot;The first game was kind of a learning experience for

me to get a feel for the college game, but I think I’ll be alright

coming into Saturday’s game.&uot;

That isn’t to say that Carrie feels he has learned all he needs

to know after one game.

&uot;I looked at the game film and thought, ‘I played well,

but I need to consistently play well. But I think it will be there

as I get more experience and see a lot more coverages and defensive


Carrie practiced at the tight end spot during his redshirt

season. Before coming into spring training listed at No. 4 on

the depth chart.

Offensive coordinator John McKenzie it didn’t take him long

to figure out that Carrie was the Braves’ man. McKenzie, who arrived

in Lorman just days before spring drills began, said gradually

Carrie worked his way up. He progressed so much, that two days

before the spring game, McKenzie knew who would be the man.

&uot;He’s been everything that you would like to have in a

quarterback. He’s mentally sharp, eager to learn, he’s a student

of the game and most of all, he has a big arm,&uot; he said.

&uot;He still has some flaws, but being young, you have to

expect that. I think he has a great future here.&uot;

Fighting for a starting job is nothing new to Carrie, who had

to wait his turn to become the field general at McMain. Carrie

took over his junior season and led his team to a 7-4 record and

a playoff berth.

His senior campaign was plagued by attrition, and the squad

only managed three wins.

Still, coming out of high school, Carrie was told by coach

Johnny Thomas to come and walk on with the Braves.

Despite being recruited by Bucknell, Belhaven and Nicholls

State and facing the prospect of getting caught up in a numbers

game; Carrie took the gamble and headed up U.S. 61.

The self-professed pocket passer said he had a feeling things

would fall into place in Lorman.

&uot;Things just kind of worked out the way we planned it.

I knew a little about the quarterback situation, and I felt good

about my chances,&uot; he said.

Carrie faced the prospect of competing with Damon Ford, who

saw significant time last season, but when Ford didn’t return,

it opened the door for the busboy.

That’s what made carrying dirty dishes to the kitchen at the

hometown club all the more easier for him.

&uot;I couldn’t wait for the start of August two-a-days because

I knew from spring practice that I was going to be the starter,&uot;

he said, reminiscing.

Carrie said he feels the days of losing week in and week out

are nearing an end.

&uot;We’re about to turn the corner, we are very close,&uot;

he said. And what exactly will it take to get over the hump of

the streak?

&uot;As long as my teammates remain confident in me, I think

we will be a much better team this year.&uot;