Carter Plays Big

Cornerback Tony Carter is playing above his size, and exceeding most expectations. He's worked on adding size and refining his tackling ability, and its shown in the first three games this season.

The message from defensive coach Mickey Andrews was simple, but effective.

"The one thing that (he) told me was that you're small, but you can still play big," said graduate assistant James Colzie, who played cornerback for Florida State from 1993-96 and now works with the defensive backs.

Those words of encouragement are being passed down. Starting CB Tony Carter looks like he may have been cut from the same mold as Colzie, so it's easy for Colzie to relate and offer advice.

"I was a small corner," said Colzie. "We've talked about that a lot."

Carter has found ways to play beyond his compact frame.

In the first two games of the season, Carter had given up only three pass yards and graded out in the upper 80's, a mark considered high for a corner. But he wasn't getting tested often, especially for an inexperienced cornerback with the kind of stature (5'9" 167 lbs.) that would make him an easy target to attack.

"At first, I was thinking I've got to get back on my horse," Carter said. "After a while it was like back to high school. I was getting much action."

Boston College put Carter to work early. The Eagles called five consecutive plays on Carter's side of the field.

"I'm surprised a little bit. I expect that being a freshman they would through at me a lot," Carter said. "I expect it a little more, but I'll take it all day."

Occasionally, as is the case with most first-year players, Carter finds himself having to improvise when teams use unexpected plays, or make adjustments that he's not used to seeing.

"That happened in the first half of the Boston College game," Carter said.

Eagles' coaches noticed Carter favoring the outside, so they implemented more curl routes and cuts towards the center of the field.

"I had to adjust the second half and play man-to-man press," said Carter.

Perfecting his tackling technique has always been a high priority for Carter. It's one of the easiest and most effective things that had can do to compensate against bigger receivers.

"Most of the other guys can just go hit them and they can fall," said Carter. "I have to use my hands and hit them low most of the time."


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