Now entering his second year, McCarthy enters spring practice poised to fight for a starting spot on the outside of Miami's linebacking corps. McCarthy has been very involved in spring practice, being utilized both on defense and special teams, something that he takes great pride in. Last week, McCarthy even lined up on the punt team and practiced receiving the snaps for fake punts.
"I enjoyed last year and playing and making plays on special teams. I plan on playing that until I'm a senior. I'm just in there and they have that play for me, but wherever they need me, I'll play"
This spring, practices have been intense for the ‘Canes, especially at the linebacker position. The linebackers always stay after the last whistle has blown and work on extra drills. With no positions or depth chart defined, competition is fierce, and McCarthy is aware of that and is doing all he can to get an edge.
"Everybody's working hard. There are no real positions right now. I'm kind of rotating around between Will and Sam. I just have to keep working hard and keep playing."
"There's still no depth charts. Once you get depth charts, you might start feeling comfortable. We just have to go out there and play. As far as depth charts and all of that, we'll worry about that when game time comes."
The coaches, including new linebacker coach Micheal Barrow, have been instilling a new work ethic during practices. The pace of the practices are quicker, and the players are compelled to move faster and expend more energy. The goal, in theory, is to help keep them alert and focused on the task at hand.
"I like him alot, he's real intense as far as making plays and chasing the ball," McCarthy said about Barrow. "Sometimes coming out here, you get tired, but he does a good job of pushing us to our limits."
It doesn't end on the practice field for McCarthy, however. McCarthy has been taking a page from the ‘Canes of old and working out by himself after-hours. He spends some nights working out at the University Rec Center.
"I try to work out extra whenever I can. Everybody's doing something to get better. As far as taking my game to the next level by improving my strength and conditioning, I just try to go there to get some extra work in."
The things we're doing now in the weight room, we're all doing. It's mandatory. But the extra stuff that I'm doing is the kind of stuff that separates the starters from the second teamers and third teamers. I feel that putting in the extra effort is going to work out for me.
The work has paid off so far, as McCarthy is 20 lbs. heavier than he was when he first stepped into campus. He claims to be weighing 228 lbs, up from 210 a year ago.
McCarthy's strong work ethic, along with his abilities to make plays on special teams during his freshman year, has given way to a growing fanbase that compares his game to that of past ‘Canes greats. McCarthy, who is most often compared to Dan Morgan, humbly acknowledges that he hasn't done enough on the field to merit comparisons to greats like Morgan. Fame and recognition come with playing time, however, and McCarthy is certainly putting in the work necessary to achieve his goals.
"I really haven't done anything yet," he said of his career so far. "But as far as the comparisons, I hope that my next two or three years here, I can make a name for myself and just be put in the same category as other Miami greats."