Razorback Q&A: Carlos Ousley
Carlos Ousley's first collegiate reception worked out exactly the way that each young receiver envisions, almost. After struggling with nagging injuries through the first eight games, unable to find the field, the redshirt freshman stepped in against South Carolina, snagged a Matt Jones pass and then raced in untouched for a decisive 47-yard score on his first catch of the year. It seemed like the perfect beginning for the 6-0 177-pound flanker from Jacksonville, Florida until he learned that the Jefferson Pilot announcers had credited his score to Cedric Washington, a true freshman quarterback who is redshirting. Now Ousley is doing everything in his power to make sure that everybody knows his name.
Ousley's path to Fayetteville was a rather unorthodox one. He began his career at Wake Forest but was given an ultimatum by his coach: Lose the hair or pack your bags. Insulted that his individuality meant so little to that coaching staff, Ousley cleaned out his locker and began looking elsewhere. Unfortunately for Carlos, his decision had stirred up some controversy and made many schools shy away from him. Arkansas gave him a chance when no one else would, and Ousley has not forgotten that fact.
As a transfer, Ousley had to sit out the 2001 season, but he wasted no time in turning some heads. In spring scrimmages he hauled in 10 catches for 156 yards and two touchdowns. With the passing game struggling for consistency, Arkansas coaches have been looking for Carlos to make some big contributions. If his first catch is any indication, then Hog fans have a lot to look forward to. We took a few minutes trying to get inside Carlos Ousley's head, unfortunately it took a little longer to make it through all that hair.
HI.com: Did you ever really believe that your first catch would be for a long touchdown?
Carlos Ousley: No. But I knew that when I got my first catch, as long as I've been waiting, it was going to be hell to bring me down. I wanted it bad.
HI.com: How much did it bother you when you found out that the JP announcers were calling you Cedric Washington the whole game?
CO: That kinda bothered me because it was my first catch. Maybe if it was my 2nd or 3rd it wouldn't have bothered me as much, but it kinda made me mad.
HI.com: Did it seem like the ball was taking forever for it to get to you?
CO: Yeah it did. It seemed like it was never going to get there. When I saw him come across my face, I knew that if he didn't tip the ball, it was six. So I just made the best of my opportunity and scored with it.
HI.com: The high five celebration has caught some controversy lately. Is it confusing for you guys to have a ref let it go one time and then flag you for it the next?
CO: Yeah. It's confusing. I think the officials should talk about that together as a group and decide if they're going to call it a flag or not. It's celebrating with your teammates and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. It's nothing compared to what goes on in the NFL.
HI.com: You're a Jacksonville boy. How is this cold weather treating you?
CO: It gets a little cold in Jacksonville since it's in north Florida, especially in November and December. So I'm kinda used to it and it's not too bad.
HI.com: Were you a pretty big Gators fan?
CO: Actually, my 11th grade year, I committed to the Gators, but I couldn't pass the SAT, so they gave my scholarship to another Jacksonville dude. I kept trying and I finally got a passing score and the only one that would take me was Wake Forest and you know what happened there.
HI.com: On that note, I was wondering if you not cutting your hair was at all similar to the biblical story of Samson. Will you lose your speed if you cut your hair?
CO: Back in Florida, this is the trend. It kind of hurt me to my heart when he said you need to cut your hair to play on my team. What does it have to do with it when I put this (taps his helmet) on? Just judge me by my ability, not by how I look.
HI.com: How long has it been since you cut it?
CO: It's been like since my freshman year in highschool.
HI.com: You said that your favorite quote is "Everyone says to remember them when I make it, but I wonder if they will remember me if I don't." What does that mean to you?
CO: There are always those people saying when you make it to the NFL don't forget about me. But if I don't get to the NFL would you still be as friendly as you were when you thought I was going to make it?
HI.com: How frustrating was it after having such a good spring, to struggle with injuries and not be able to contribute?
CO: I think it just made me stronger as a person. I know everything happens for a reason. I just said when I get healthy, just give me a chance and see what I can do. If I'm doing good, then let the best guy play.
HI.com: The first Arkansas game that you experienced was the UNLV game last year. What did you think the first time you heard fans calling the Hogs?
CO: It really caught me off guard. I didn't know what was going on. It was in the dorm and they explained it to me and told me all the Razorback history.
HI.com: Does it get to your heart now?
CO: Yeah. I love it. Every time they call the Hogs it means something to me. I see how everybody loves football out here. It's nice out here and I'm glad I chose Arkansas.
HI.com: You said you were a Gators fan, so who did you hate more; Miami or Florida State?
CO: Miami. I really didn't like them. Maybe it's because in my 10th grade year we went down there for the receivers camp and they really didn't show me much attention. They were concentrating on the guys farther south and that really discouraged me, as far as Miami. I didn't want to go back there unless I was playing against them.
HI.com: Did you even take a visit to Arkansas before you committed to coming here?
CO: No because after the coach at Wake put me through that little dilemma, nobody really wanted to take me. So my last hope was Arkansas, and I sent my film in. Chris Vaughn knew who I was and he got me up. I was like, coach I'm coming. I don't need to visit. Ya'll are the only ones who are going to give me a chance so I'm coming there. I came in blind but I'm happy I did.
HI.com: How much does it mean to you that Arkansas gave you a chance when others wouldn't?
CO: That means a lot. They heard bad things about me that I was doing such and such at Wake when I was only there for two weeks, and it was all lies. They still gave me a chance so I wouldn't let them down on anything. I'm just glad they gave me a chance and I'm going to make the best of it and make them happy all the years that I'm here.
HI.com: How excited do you get when you realize you've still got three more years left here?
CO: I love it. I think things worked out the best for me, even though I wanted to start out playing right after high school. It didn't work out like that. I think I'm in the right place now and I think I'll do fine these next three years. I think I can be a great receiver here.