Unless your first name is “Lil,” if you want a cool nickname, your first name should start with the letter “T.”
T-Pain, T-Money, T.I. — you get the idea.
“Oh that’s T-Cool,” said junior cornerback Omar Bolden, who was one of Carr’s teammates to dub the nickname.
“It’s how I carry myself,” Carr said of his “T-cool ” persona. “It’s my little nonchalant attitude, how I walk around here.”
Unlike T.O., which could stand for “Totally Out-of line”, Carr doesn’t scream for attention — quite the opposite.
“When I got here, I would make mistakes on the field … and it seemed [to cornerbacks coach Greg Burns] like I didn’t care,” Carr said. “I did, I would just deal with it internally.”
Burns had to adjust his sights. It’s not that Carr doesn’t care when he gets burned — he just has an instant forgetfulness.
“He has exactly what a corner’s mentality should be,” Burns said.
“Nothing fazes him. Good or bad. If he has a bad play it’s in one ear out the other. I realized at an early stage that he’s going to be a kid who’s not going to be fazed by anything. “
One of four boys raised by a single mother in Tulsa, Okla., Carr’s demeanor fits the profile of a kid who had to keep his emotions in check growing up.
Carr is the type who will carry a load without complaint.
Right out of high school, at the age of 18, Carr packed up his bags and traveled to California in search of a future in football. Without a scholarship in hand, Carr would have to go the hard way.
“I always wanted to end up in D-I school, a Pac-10 school,” Carr said. “I really had to fight through school, academics and football (to get there).”
Carr flip-flopped twice in junior college. First attending Pasadena City College, then to Santa Monica College where he played receiver and returned kicks, then back to Pasadena where he played corner and led the Mission Conference in interceptions, pass breakups and total passes defended as a sophomore.
Carr, who in 2007 chose ASU over West Virginia, Minnesota and South Florida, fell in love with the west coast. The warm feelings continued in Tempe.
“Tulsa is not as fast, not overly populated,” Carr said. “Where I’m from it’s more wholesome. It’s like warm apple pie. Out here it’s like cheesecake to go.”
Carr, who said he got his work ethic from his mother, has been in seemingly perpetual competition for the starting cornerback position on the other side of junior Omar Bolden with fellow senior walk-on Pierre Singfield, since 2008.
Carr did not win the position at the beginning of either season, but started the final nine games last season and may do the same in 2009.
Carr says the competition has brought out the best in him, but desires something else.
“I am looking forward to separating myself so there will be no more competition. I will just be a lock out there,” Carr said.
Carr cares enough that game-film DVDs are always sprawled out on his bedroom floor.
“It’s all football, all the time,” Carr said.
Film study, Carr says, is the biggest reason he feels he’ll be “the guy” the rest of the way.
Carr is the duck on the pond. Furiously paddling underneath, yet quietly calm on the surface.
He wants to be the corner on the island. And it could happen — his coach said he is currently “locked in.”
“I know he is listening and he doesn’t make the same mistake twice,” Burns said.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.