By TIM GAYLE
Special to the Elmore/Autauga News
Tripp Carr had to adjust both on the field and off the field when he arrived in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
“On the field, I’ve seen great athletes, but everybody is faster,” he said. “The game is 100 percent faster. As far as the city, it’s pretty much like Prattville, just 40 degrees colder every day. I’ve never had high school canceled for a blizzard, I can tell you that.”
Carr started for three years at Autauga Academy, helping the Generals to a 2018 Alabama Independent School Association state championship before returning in 2019 to serve as an assistant coach on his father’s team and help bring back another state championship.
“He had a couple of offers, Army and Austin Peay,” Autauga Academy coach Bobby Carr said. “UAB offered him early, then they ended up getting a quarterback they had ranked higher than Tripp and they ended up pulling the offer and it just kind of left a bad taste in his mouth and decided he would sit out last fall. But I knew he’d get the fire and the urge to play again once we got going and he was out there with us.”
The younger Carr served as an offensive coordinator on the junior high team and as quarterbacks coach of the varsity, but decided at the end of the season he wanted to enroll at a school in January and continue his playing career at the collegiate level.
“I sent his film out to every school in the country to see who needed a quarterback that could come in in January and Lamar and Murray State, both of their coaches reached out to me and offered him, then both head coaches got fired in a two-week span,” Bobby Carr said. “So I sent the film out to every junior college in the country and Scott Strohmeyer offered. He went out there and said it was the hardest thing he’s ever done. But I’m proud of him. He had to go 15 hours away and earn the respect of his teammates.”
Iowa Western Community College is just across the Missouri River from Omaha, Neb., and resembles a lot of the smaller college settings you would find in Alabama. (The enrollment, for example, is approximately 6,000, slightly higher than Auburn University Montgomery and Alabama State University and a little less than Jacksonville State).
Of course, living in Council Bluffs – as Carr found out this past winter – is nothing like central Alabama.
“It was a little nerve wracking for a while, but Elijah Elmore played at Autauga with me and he signed with West Georgia but transferred and we actually went up there together in January,” he said.
But Carr had done his homework and knew of Strohmeyer’s reputation with the Reivers and that there would be an opportunity for immediate playing time.
“I had a good connection with the head coach right off the bat and all three of their quarterbacks from last season left,” Carr said. “That was the deal for me, going in January so I could go through the spring (workouts), which obviously we didn’t even have spring. But I got to go through our weight and conditioning, we had a nine-week program and we got to do 7-on-7 two days a week, so I got familiar with the offense. But as soon as we did that, we were coming home for spring break and that’s when corona hit, so I left all my stuff up there.”
He returned with the idea that workouts would resume for the fall season, then the National Junior College Athletic Association announced that the football season would move to the spring. The team can practice for 60 consecutive calendar days beginning Aug. 15, which includes three scrimmages against outside competition. Practice for the season will start on March 1, 2021, with games beginning Mach 25 and the championship will be held on June 3.
That deals a setback to Carr’s plan to transfer to a Football Bowl Subdivision or Football Championship Subdivision team in January. Now, he’ll have to wait until next summer, provided he can beat out four competitors for the starting job.
The hiring of new offensive coordinator Tony Koehling in March may help, but Tripp Carr realizes now he’ll have to be patient with his dream of playing football at a four-year university.
“(Koehling’s offense) is kind of similar to what I ran in high school – let me run around a little bit and make plays,” he said. “I can sit in the pocket and throw, but I’m only 5-foot-10 and they know that. Get me on the edge and give me the decision to run or throw, it kind of fits the style I play and I hope the next (FBS or FCS) school I go to is kind of the same deal.”