Devils Hire Mark Carrier as Cornerbacks Coach

11-year NFL career. Three time Pro Bowler. Thorpe Award winner. USC and Long Beach Poly graduate. Those accolades and more were enough to convince ASU Coach Dirk Koetter to add Mark Carrier to his staff as his new cornerbacks coach.

This wasn't a slam-dunk decision for Carrier. "I didn't know if I should do this," he said," and after talking with people I trust in the business they said that I need to do this. That's why I'm here." He did admit that his better half was all for this career move. "When Coach Koetter told my wife about the time commitment," recalled Carrier. "She got a smile on her face and said ‘it's time to go back to work.' I'm a gym rat. I know the reward of the time spent is seeing these young guys succeed."

Carrier's mantra is quite simple. "I'm a throwback," the ASU cornerbacks coach exclaimed. "I was trained by guys that made you earn it to play on Saturday and Sunday. You earned that right in practice. Nothing is ever guaranteed."

"I need the players to help me learn," Carrier continued. "I thought I knew it all, but Richard Dent and Mike Singleterry (his former Chicago Bears teammates) showed me I didn't know jack squat (smile). I can always learn. These kids can always learn and be better too. I can't make players make plays. But I can help them get in position to make plays."

Excellence on and off the field by his players is what Carrier hopes for the most. "My short term goal is to come here and make these kids better people," remarked Carrier. "You got to be a good person. It's not just about football. It's about life. When you work hard and pay your dues it means you earned it. It's OK to work hard. How can you trust a guy on Saturday that doesn't work hard (during the week in practice)? The players I have will go out and compete and get better because that's what it's all about."

When asked about coaching and recruiting against his alma mater, the fiery spirit in Carrier was overflowing. "You know what's gonna be funny?" he asked. "When I come to L.A. and steal their recruits. I will do that. I promise you that. Pete Carroll is doing a great job at USC but they're going to be wondering because I'm going to go in there and get some of their recruits. USC is my alma mater. I love them to death. But this (ASU) is what I'm about. Before I leave home, I need to go to the store and bring a ton of ASU stuff home. My kids want it. I want it."

Defensive Coordinator Brent Guy was naturally involved in the hiring process. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Carrier and Guy share the same notions about cornerback play, and defensive schemes in general. "Coach Guy and I believe you need diversity," stated Carrier. "You need to mix it up on defense. Coach Koetter gives you so many variations, and on defense you have to do the same. I think you need to get into their face, back off, bump ‘n run…you have to give the receiver something to think about, because he's giving you something to think about on their side."

"There's mo more shut down corners," Carrier continued. "Because of the variation in offense. Everybody spreads you out, and you get isolations. I think corners like giving different looks. You need to have ammunition to go against wide receivers."

Playing cornerback in a pass happy Pac-10 can be daunting task in itself. Does Carrier see coaching that position in the Pac-10, rather than other conferences, as being a challenge he thrives on? "I think the Pac-10 is the best conference in the country," he said. "For guys who want to play in the next level this is the conference you want to be in. The talent pool from top to bottom is great. That's why I like the challenge, especially working with cornerbacks. You can't take everything away in football. Good teams dictate what you want them to do. That's the challenge you'd like to have."

Carrier's press conference followed Andrew Walter's announcement about staying for his senior year. The newly appointed cornerbacks coach said the ASU signal caller had a "Role model effect staying in the school." But he also challenged Walter, and said that now that he's staying in school "It's on! I can't wait to go out on the field with you. We're gonna go one on one, and go after each other. When I step on the field it's competition at its best!" And the Sun Devils appear to better themselves with the addition of Mark Carrier.

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