Carter Ready To Play Ball

Kenneth Carter will have a big role on defense for the Auburn Tigers in 2011.

Auburn, Ala.—It's hard to imagine that a player who has played in just eight college football games and who has only six tackles is one of the most experienced defensive tackles for the Auburn Tigers, but that's exactly what true sophomore Kenneth Carter brings to the table as the 2011 season gets closer to beginning.

A 6-4, 290-pounder, Carter is expected to be the starter for Coach Mike Pelton at defensive tackle along with fellow true sophomore Jeffrey Whitaker. Taking on more of a leadership role in the preseason this year while also trying to learn more himself, Carter said it has been difficult, but beneficial at the same time.

"It has been challenging, but I'm in a bigger role right now," he said. "I just have to pick it up and I have to grind. It has been pretty good.

"I haven't played that much, but I have played more than them," he said of the defensive tackles who will be the backups. "Whatever I do good at I'm trying to teach them. I still mess up though and we're learning together. It's just a team. There is no such thing as I."

Tentative on the field last season playing behind seniors Zach Clayton and Mike Blanc as well as All-American Nick Fairley, Carter said watching big number 90 gave him a feel for what it takes to be a dominant player in the SEC.

"It's effort to the ball," Carter said. "He's got incredible speed to the ball. He goes like nobody is going to stop him. He's going to get to the ball no matter what."

While he's busy trying to get his game up to par as the Tigers get ready to face Utah State this Saturday in the season opener, Carter said he's also trying to help out the young players working alongside him at defensive tackle. With freshmen Gabe Wright, Angelo Blackson, Jabrian Niles, and Devaunte Sigler in the mix there along with junior Jamar Travis, Carter said he's seen some good things out of the group.

"They are coming along," Carter said. "They are freshmen, babies. I was there last year so I know how it feels. They are coming along well. We need a lot of help from them this year and I think they'll provide that."

Focusing on using his hands more and getting a better first step at the snap of the football, Carter will have to hit the ground running this fall for a defense that will have loads of new faces in key positions. That means taking on more of a leadership role on and off the field, not the easiest thing to do for a quiet and humble kid. Carter said however that once you get on the field you have to let to turn it loose and that's what he plans on doing.

"It's a whole different personality," Carter said. "When you're out there on the field you have a helmet and it's time to play. When the lights come on you have to ball."
Kickoff for Saturday's game is scheduled for 11 a.m. and can be seen on ESPN2.

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