SPRING: Switch Has Been Good For Deshawn Carter

On day one of Florida's spring practice, Deshawn Carter showed he's all about the team. Asked to switch positions from cornerback to free safety, he made the move without complaint. He has become one of the real surprises of the spring, joining the rotation with the safeties. Friday was his best day yet, breaking up several passes and earning the attention of the defensive coaching staff.

Carter is 100 percent Gator. He's got a Gator tattoo and he is willing to do anything he can to help the team, so switching positions was never a problem.

I am just trying to keep going every day. Like Coach said, we only have 15 practices and we can't afford to take one off, so I am just trying to get better.
"It is different because I never played safety in my life," Carter said Friday. "My team came to me and my coaches came to me and that is what they want me to do so I am just doing the best that I can."

One practice isn't enough to prove he's ready to step in and play. Carter is well aware of that. H knows he will have to show improvement the rest of the spring and during the summer, he will have to work extra hard.

"I am just trying to keep going every day," he said. "Like Coach said, we only have 15 practices and we can't afford to take one off, so I am just trying to get better."

Although he's still adapting to his new position, he's learning quickly and getting a chance to use his size and speed to an advantage.

"Well it is really the same because you are still running around," he said comparing the cornerback position to free safety. "Now, the difference is you can look more at the quarterback, where as at corner, you have to key in on your man."


Deshawn Carter defends Tate Casey in practice.

The improvement has come in the last few practices. The crowd started to notice on Friday, but the improvement has been slow and steady for the entire nine practices he has been at the position. His coaches and teammates are helping him get to where he needs to be.

"When I first started playing it, it was odd," he said. "Every day the coaches keep telling me things that I should key on and I am just getting better and better. Another thing is I have Kyle Jackson to help mentor me and tell me the certain times I should do this or that. That is basically how I am getting better."

Coach Doc Holliday is Carter's position coach. He has had a positive influence on Carter, easing the transition considerably. Holliday has been helping prep Carter both on the field and in meetings.

"Every day when we are going into the meeting room he is always saying different things that help," Carter said. "(He says things) like when a quarterback takes his hand off the ball, you should begin to break. They are little things, but they help a lot. It gets you closer to the ball."

Early last season, safety was a position of weakness for Florida but by season's end, it was a position of strength because Jarvis Herring and Kyle Jackson stepped it up. With Deshawn Carter and Tony Joiner coming on strong to fit into the rotation, this appears to be one of the most solid positions on the Gator defense.


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