Q&A With Senior Wide Receiver Tim Carter

Auburn's fastest football player talks about the 2001 Tigers and his final collegiate season.

Editor's Note: This week's Tiger Ticket Question & Answer session features senior wide receiver Tim Carter from St. Petersburg, Fla.

Mark Murphy: I guess this has been a fun week for you after finally beating the Gators?

Tim Carter: "Definitely. I could tell, going into the game, that everybody was confident. That was just something that I felt like we were missing in the years before vs. Florida. Everybody was really confident. It started from the coaches. You know, Coach Tuberville turned to us and told us, ‘We have got to believe first before anything else can take place.' I'd say he did a great job, instilled that in everybody, including all the younger players, and we got it done."

Mark Murphy: It has to be extra special for you, being from Florida.

Tim Carter: "Ever since my freshman year I wanted to beat them because I'm from Florida. My brother came back after the game and was telling me what people were saying, you know, the jokes people had about the game or whatever. It just feels good to know that we pulled it off."

Mark Murphy: I talked to Mike Pucillo after the game and he was the happiest I've ever seen him. He said he didn't want to play four years against the Gators and not have a win and he said last week's game was special to him and all the seniors from Florida. Is it a game you will always remember?

Tim Carter: "That is definitely the case. You know, you don't want to lose to anybody for four years. That's just something you don't want to do. Them being from Florida just made it even better."

Tim Carter returns a kickoff vs. Mississippi.

Mark Murphy: Talk about the offense and what you see as its potential as you are getting ready to start the second half of the season.

Tim Carter: "We're really going to have to play better. We have some new leadership with Cobb at quarterback. Cobb is showing more confidence, more leadership, more effective leadership in practice. The quarterbacks are doing a great job. The practices are getting better. The tempo has picked up, as far as the offense goes. We just know we have got to get better. We are going to have to keep the younger players focused on that goal."

Mark Murphy: You guys are scoring 22 points a game. How important is it to try to improve on that the second half of the season?

Tim Carter: "The offense has so much potential, but we've got to take advantage of that potential. We just have to put up more points. We haven't done what we are capable of doing yet. I mean, against Florida, those two turnovers hurt. When Cobb was running into the end zone, and another time, we had a chance to score. There were at least 14 more points against Florida that we should have had. The smaller penalties, the motion penalties, stuff like that, can really kill a drive. So we just need to get rid of all those little penalties and take care of the little things and our offense will come together and will produce more points."

Mark Murphy: How close have you come to playing up to your potential as a team this year?

Tim Carter: "There is a lot of room for improvement. In one game we threw pretty well, but we didn't run the ball that well. The latest games, we were running the ball well, but we haven't been throwing as much as the offense usually does. We have got to bring it together where we're running and we're throwing successfully every game. The running game is coming along and if we get that done it is a sure thing for us. We've had a lot of close games, a lot of situations where we needed ball control and the running has helped us do that."

Tim Carter makes a catch vs. Wyoming.

Mark Murphy: It seems like every week you guys have done something big in the kicking game. Last week, Damon's field goals and your kickoff return were huge. How important is it to this team that the kicking game delivers every week?

Tim Carter: "It is definitely important. Coach (Eddie) Gran has really done a good job instilling that in all the players. Some people may not take it seriously, but it's a crucial part of the game. It gives us a lot of field position. So, we'll have a lot of goals as far as special teams go that we try to accomplish every week. We go out there and play hard just like we do offense or defense."

Carter excels in special teams action and has become a weapon on the punt block unit. Here he barely misses a Florida punt last week.

Mark Murphy: Against Mississippi State you blocked a punt that helped win the game. Against Florida, you had the long kickoff return that set up Auburn's first field goal to match Florida's first field goal. How important was it for the team's confidence to come back and score immediately after falling behind last week?

Tim Carter: "The fact that our defense stopped them, for three points, also gave us some momentum because Florida started with great field position. The whole night, I was waiting on them to kick me the ball. I knew they were going to try me and I wanted to make sure I made them pay for it. They gave me a couple of chances and I got one good return and I know I should have capitalized on the other one, too."

Mark Murphy: Do you expect to see the offense pass the ball more this week or in other games in the second half of the season?

Tim Carter: "Last season we were balanced--50 percent passing, 50 percent rushing. We had Rudi Johnson so we went into every game to establish the run. It's kind of hard to tell, going into the game, to tell how much we will pass it. It depends on how the other team is playing defense and what is working. Every week in practice we work on running and passing so we will be ready for whatever is available in the game."

Mark Murphy: As a receiver, what, if any, adjustments do you have to make depending on which quarterback is playing?

Tim Carter: "To me there is really no big difference. I just tell them that if they throw the ball to me I will get it, especially with the deep balls. Cobb may be more confident than Jason right now and will release the ball earlier before we make a break. Both of them throw pretty good balls."

Mark Murphy: Are you looking forward to having a strong finish to your senior season, personally, to improve your stock in the NFL draft for next year?

Tim Carter: "Oh, definitely, but not just for me, for the team, too. I just want to help the team and make the big plays everytime I get my hands on the ball. That's a given. I'm running for Auburn first. And I'm doing what it takes. That is playing my special teams role to gain that field position. On offense, I'm run blocking, I'm running good routes and I am doing what I can to make big plays."

Mark Murphy: Coach Tuberville has mentioned to me that the coaches really like you and they are highly recommending you to the pro scouts. He also said the pro scouts like the fact that you play hard. Is playing hard something you think about a lot?

Tim Carter: "I feel like I've been coached like that. Yes, I do play hard. I'd rather go out there and put up my A game against the other team every week. That is how I approach the game. I want to win so I take it to heart. I want to win."

Mark Murphy: Tim, how much better are you now as a senior than you were as a freshman?

Tim Carter:"As a receiver I'm a whole lot better. I've learned all the fundamental techniques that our coaches have been stressing and it has become natural. It's not something I have to think about anymore, I just go out there and do it. As a senior, I am still trying to gain more knowledge of the game by doing the little things better like watching film of our opponents and other things so I will be ready to play my best each week."


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