The 6-4, 263 junior missed the first three games of the season and has made 10 tackles with a sack in his four appearances this season. Five of those tackles came Saturday night in Auburn's 21-14 loss to Kentucky.
"It was my first game actually working with the ones," Carter points out. "I think I did pretty good coming back off an injury."
Carter's position coach, Tracy Rocker, says the junior is still working to get back to 100 percent and Carter agrees. "I got a little tired in the fourth quarter--not physically, just my knee got a little tired. It is getting stronger and stronger every week."
Carter opened the Kentucky game at defensive end opposite Antonio Coleman in the spot normally played by Michael Goggans, who worked with the twos vs. the Wildcats. "Mike had a little minor injury in practice," says Carter, explaining why he moved to the top of the depth charter for last week's game.
This week the challenge is a bigger one for the Tigers as they hit the road for the third time this year. Awaiting is ninth-ranked LSU, a team that is looking to bounce back from a 13-3 loss to top-ranked Florida on Oct. 10th. LSU was off last week while Auburn was suffering its disappointing loss to Kentucky.
Carter says the Tigers are looking ahead and aren't going to dwell on their second loss of the season. "Like Coach says, you can't let your opponents see you sweat, you can't hang your head, you have just got to move on to the next week."
Last year the Tigers got into a midseason tailspin and never were able to pull out of it. The junior notes that the 2008 and 2009 teams are not the same. "It is different from last year," he says. "The team is not dividing, everybody going their separate ways. It is just bringing us together as one team. It is a stronger family this year, a stronger bond...Win or lose, you have got to stay together as a team."
Kickoff for Saturday's game is set for 6:30 p.m. CDT and it will be televised on ESPN2. Auburn and LSU have played just one common foe this year. Auburn defeated Mississippi State 49-24 on Sept. 12th and LSU defeated the Bulldogs 30-26 on Sept. 26th.
Auburn, 5-2 overall and 2-2 in the SEC, led 14-7 going into the fourth quarter of its loss to a Kentucky team that scored two late touchdowns to win 21-14.
Commenting on what the defense needs to do to improve, Carter says, "We played three hard quarters of football. We just need to find that extra quarter, go out to practice this week and work hard to have that fourth quarter Auburn defense."