Carlson Waiting His Turn

Tight End, John Carlson has enjoyed his first semester at Notre Dame. Carlson says he's been enjoying his freshman season and learning how to play tight end at the college level. Carlson is said to have great athletic ability and many expect that athletic ability will get him on the field soon. We talked to Carlson about his freshman season and what he needs to improve on before becoming a factor at tight end for Notre Dame.

Carlson says he's making the adjustment to college football. "I think just getting comfortable in the system," said Carlson when asked what has been the biggest adjustment he's had to make. "The speed of the game is hard to adjust to, but going through practice every day helps a lot with that."

The Minnesota native is currently on the scout team. He says there's still a lot a player can learn from playing on the scout team. "It's a big change from high school, but everything here is. Playing on the scout team is only going to make me better, putting me in situations that I haven't been in before. I'm hoping that experience pushes me forward."

The change hasn't always been easy for Carlson. He said he was lost when he first reported to Notre Dame. "There was a lot of confusion. I don't think there was ever a time where I questioned why I was here. I knew that if I just kept fighting, it would get easier and easier. It's the same way now. I just need to keep on fighting and my time will come."

One of the most difficult adjustments for most freshmen is adjusting to not having much of a social life, and the schedule a student-athlete has to keep. "It hasn't been too bad. In high school, being an athlete, I'm kind of used to not having a lot of social time. Here I have even less. The game is much more of a commitment than in high school. That's just part of it."

"You get used to it pretty quick," Carlson continued. "Being in a routine like that makes the day go fast. You look back on the day and you think ‘wow, I did all that today.' The day actually goes pretty fast because you're always on to the next thing."

Coach Mike Denbrock has told Irish Eyes that Carlson has a lot of potential. We asked Carlson what Denbrock has told him he needed to improve on to see the field. "I'm not sure if there's one certain area. Overall, you just have to improve everything. Looking at the tight end position, you've got to be strong enough to block, you've got to be quick and explosive to get down the field, and be athletic to make plays. I think overall, I just need to improve every aspect of my game."

Blocking is one area the tight ends have struggled this year. We asked Carlson if he's had a hard time to adjust to blocking as a tight end. "It's a lot different. It's not technically different. It's just the guy you are going up against is bigger, faster, and stronger than the guys I was blocking in high school. It's a challenge and took a lot of adjusting. It's getting better."

Carlson says he's made a lot of friends with the players in his current class—something that has made the adjustment easier. "It was really easy. We've got a great bunch of guys. We care about each other, and we care about the team. It's really easy to get along."

Carlson admits he does miss some things, however. "I miss a lot of things. Just home, basketball is another thing I miss, especially when the weather gets cold, it feels like basketball. I made the choice to come here and play football, it's my job, it's my responsibility, it's also a pleasure to play here."

When all is said and done, Carlson wants to accomplish just one thing on the football field while playing for Notre Dame. "I think every college football team has a goal and that's to win the National Championship. I know that's the goal of our class, and this team. That's also my goal."

Carlson is known to have a lot of athletic ability and great hands. Irish Eyes has heard that Carlson continues to shine on the scout team, and should become a factor soon for the Irish.


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