"Personally, I didn't do a good job in that game. They kept running the same play to my side, and I didn't do a good job defending it," Carter told PW after Wednesday's practice. "My focus this week is to work on that blocking scheme they put on me. I know Wisconsin will do the same thing."
The junior defensive tackle refers to the inside zone gap scheme, which Ohio State executed to perfection Saturday. Injury fill-in Carlos Hyde went off for 168 yards and three touchdowns, banging up a front seven that had previously fared well against the run.
The Buckeyes' zone gap scheme emphasizes north-south rushers, using an offensive line that takes an aggressive half step to the side of the play. A staple of Urban Meyer offenses, the inside zone has blockers double-teaming opposing D-linemen before bouncing up to take the uncovered linebackers. Northwestern's interior defense failed to crack it all night.
Things don't get any easier in Madison. Wisconsin's averaging 8.1 yards per carry from its trio of running backs and the Badgers' sixth-ranked rushing attack has 15 touchdowns through five games.
"They've got three good running backs and a big offensive line. It's going to be just like Ohio State, a lot of downhill stuff," Carter said. "It's going to be another grinder this Saturday."
Carter admits that the Buckeyes run more spread formations, whereas Wisconsin has a more traditional ground game. They'll be relying on brute strength up front, something that Carter and the rest of the Wildcat D-tackles will have to be ready for. Adding to the challenge is the loss of Sean McEvilly, who again will be shelved Saturday with an undisclosed lower-body injury.
"It's tough missing Sean. We've got to go without him, it's killing him not to be out there," Carter said. "He's got one of the quickest twitches on the D-line. He's got great hand placement and he's really fast, the fastest D-tackle we have on this team."
The return of Venric Mark and another game on primetime TV is exciting, but without a better push from the interior line, Saturday's outcome could look a lot like last weekend's. "No peaks and valleys," Carter noted; consistency is key.
"I have to play better up front, it comes down to that. Everyone else has to play a little better up front too," Carter said. "But me mostly, I have to play better."