Slimmer Carter Happy With Move

Ohio State defensive lineman Chris Carter feels the move to his new position is exactly what he needed. Having lost roughly 50 pounds, Carter feels he's progressing exponentially quicker now than when he was on the offensive line. Could he contribute in his redshirt freshman season? Find out inside.

As the first week of spring practice under Urban Meyer progressed, Chris Carter couldn't help but feel something was wrong. Carter had just finished his redshirt season as an offensive lineman, yet the dividends of working through his first year hadn't paid off with growth at the position.

The thoughts he was having could have been shoved aside as freshman insecurity. Carter, however, knew there was more to it than that.

"I knew I wasn't really progressing as an offensive lineman," Carter said. "I felt it myself. I was heavy and the first half of spring practice was really hard for me. I wasn't progressing and getting better like I needed to."

The big-bodied lineman wasn't the only one who felt that was the case, which is likely why Meyer gave into Luke Fickell's desire to move Carter to the defensive side of the ball. Sporting a big body like junior defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, Carter fit the mold for a player Fickell thought would make an excellent gap-filler and run-stopper.

Having been a shade less than 400 pounds during his freshman season, Carter struggled to find a place on the offensive line. He moved around from tackle to guard, but Carter never arrived at a place that felt right.

The move to being a defensive lineman gave him new life.

"My first thought process when I moved was more of relief," Carter said. "After the change I felt, just being a D-lineman, that I learned the concepts pretty well and I felt better as a football player having a new position. I actually feel myself getting better now."

Carter saw instant results in his enthusiasm on the defensive line, which even amounted to making plays while the media was permitted to watch the final days of spring practice. If nothing else, Carter felt he was on track to actually achieve something for the first time in his Ohio State career.

Add in a summer of conditioning under Mickey Marotti, and Carter has drastically changed his body. Though he's still one of the most physically imposing players on the team, Carter is down to roughly 350 pounds – 50 lighter than when he arrived at Ohio State.

"He's definitely in better shape and he will continue to get in better shape," Fickell said. "He's down around the 350 range. He's still got a long way to go, but he's got a lot of promise and you see a little bit of energy and fire about him. He's a guy with a lot of football ahead of him."

It wasn't long ago when Carter was an afterthought. Though that's common for freshman undergoing a redshirt year, Carter's physical condition early in his career made it seem like a long shot that he'd ever be a real contributor for the Buckeyes.

Only 12 months later, Carter could actually figure into the plans on the defensive line, unquestionably the deepest position group on the team.

"I think I am can contribute this year," Carter said. "I am technically young – I am a redshirt freshman – but I think I'll be able to contribute on goal line situations and short yardage more than regular play because we have a lot of guys in front of me who have more experience in the defensive line, so I expect them to be ahead of me."

Meyer was initially reluctant to allow Carter to move, especially given the lack of depth Ohio State sported on the offensive line when he first arrive. Meyer, however, was pleased with the progression of Antonio Underwood and Tommy Brown under offensive line coach Ed Warinner, so he allowed Carter to make the move.

"We didn't have any depth on the offensive line, but then we started to develop a little depth," said Meyer, commenting on the development of Brown and Underwood. "Taylor Decker came in, and (Carter) really wasn't producing on offense. He wanted a shot, and he's been pretty good.

"He's not a guy who thinks really well on the run. He's a little bit like Hank, you have your assignment, do your assignment and play with great intensity. We saw glimpses of that towards the end of spring practice."

Carter sports a rather mature point of view about his role on the team. Though he's made strides at defensive line quicker than even he could have anticipated, he understands that he won't be a regular contributor until he's better conditioned.

Acknowledging he can't play 60 snaps a game just yet, Carter is still encouraged about his current shape. He said he's running faster, is less tired in all aspects of his life and "feels a lot healthier all the time."

Feeling as if his work could pay off has made all the difference in his attitude.

"I know I am going to get playing time at some point, but I have to earn that," Carter said. "I feel really good now knowing that what I do will be rewarded in the end."

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