Carey Wouldn't Have Missed This For Anything

Before it was cool to be a Cincinnati Bearcat several players made a choice to stay in their hometown and play for the hometown team. One of these players was Craig Carey who is now entering his final season in the Red & Black. We spoke with Carey about his career and his latest position move.

When Craig Carey became a member of the University of Cincinnati football program many felt the former Elder High School quarterback would be the next local gunslinger to lead the Bearcats.

But Carey has always walked to his own beat and before anyone knew it the former signal caller was running down and knocking heads on special teams and making the move to the defensive side of the football.

We started our interview with Craig with one simple question.

Does it seem like this should be your fifth spring session?

"Last one, hard to believe it. I feel like I've only been here for a year and time has flown by. Right now I'm just trying to make the most of this final run."

Last year there was much talk about Carey and Connor Barwin becoming main members of the Bearcats defense, while Barwin will soon hear his name called as a top NFL draft selection Carey will look to come close to what Barwin did on the field last season.

"I hope I can live up to that type of hype. Connor is a great athlete and such a great player and I hope I can do what he's done on and off the field next season."

As Brian Kelly has proven no player is safe when it comes to a position. Why have the Bearcats seen such success when players have been moved?

"I think Coach Kelly sees the bigger picture and many players don't want to see it at first. When you come here you come in wanting to play the position you played in high school. But Coach Kelly just knows what is best for you and the team and makes these changes. It's hard to buy into it at first but once you do it's better for the team and better for everyone. It's really hard mentally because you're leaving playing a position that you love but you have to do what you can to help the team."

One player who is seeing this happen this spring is Marcus Barnett. How does Carey see the move of the former wide receiver?

"Marcus brings a lot to the defensive side of the ball. He's an unbelievable athlete with such great skills. He's working hard on his footwork and hips but you can see he's going to be a great player for this defense."

While staying home has never been a problem for the former Elder product he knows now it's the right thing for any local prospect to do.

"We're trying to get all the local players to stay here and with the way our coaches are doing things it's making it easy for them to do it."

Having watched his brother during his Bearcat career, Carey knows how much has changed since he's been on campus playing in Nippert Stadium.

"It's great to play in front of a hometown crowd with your family getting the chance to come to all the home games. Once you get out here on the field it's an amazing feeling to have and Nippert Stadium is an amazing stadium to play in. I don't know if the fans realize how much they give us when their loud in this stadium but it gives us a lot of energy."

Back a few years ago Carey was sure to here many questioning his decision.

"Yea people are always saying why you stayed here when you could have been the starting quarterback at Pitt. But I love it here and I love Cincinnati and would never change my decision looking back on it now."

With the change in the Bearcats defensive scheme the former quarterback is feeling like a quarterback again.

"As a linebacker it's almost like being a quarterback except you're on the defensive side of the ball. I feel being a quarterback has helped me on defense because there is so much you need to know. Mentally having played quarterback has helped because it transfers over to the defensive side of the ball. The main thing is you've got to be physical and hard headed looking to hit people."

One area Carey is excited about is how the Bearcats new defensive coordinator reacts on the field.

"Coach Diaco brings a lot of energy to the defense and he's not going to allow us to play on our heels. We're going to be an "In-Your-Face" type of defense this season."

While the jury is still out on how Craig Carey's final season will end there is no mistaking his pure joy of football and being a Bearcat.

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