One-on-one with Vince Carter

OU's sophomore center talks about his newfound muscle, battling Tommie Harris and new offensive line Coach Kevin Wilson

As a true freshman, Vince Carter was talented enough to step in and start for a national contending team. Carter played at around 255 pounds a year ago, but has worked hard in the offseason and has grown to 6-foot-3, 277-pounds.

Already, Carter is being touted by the Sooner coaching staff as one of the top centers in the country and thus far this spring Carter has been outstanding. His skelly one-on-one matchups with Sooner All-American defensive tackle Tommie Harris are incredible to watch. Carter has been the only lineman this spring to block Harris.

After WednesdayÃs scrimmage had a chance to catch up with the talented Carter.

JH: You are playing with a totally different body this spring, you have grown a bunch havenÃt you?

VC: Once thing that Coach (Bob) Stoops and Coach (Jerry) Schmidt stress to me was to improve my upper body strength. That is one thing that kind of held me back last year, because I lacked the upper body strength I need to be totally successful. This spring I am bigger and stronger, and I can tell the difference in my performance when I turn the film on. I hold my own against big guys and we have some great big guys on our defensive line.

JH: You are a confident football player. Most guys donÃt want to go up against Tommie Harris, but you seem to call him out at practice, what gives?

VC: He is my roommate, so I know him off the field as well. Also, remember I played against him in high school. A lot of guys are already intimidated by Tommie before they even get in their stance, so they lose the battle before they even snap the ball. However, he sleeps right next to me and he is just another guy to me.

JH: You have to figure if you can block him you can block any defensive tackle in the country?

VC: We practice against the best D-Line in the country every day, so if we have success against them that just builds our confidence. The same goes for me, when I have success against Tommie that just builds my confidence. I also know that he is a great player and he is going to win some battles, but I try to hold those losing battles to a minimum.

JH: This offensive line is very young. In Wes Sims, you and Jammal Brown you have three sophomores, one true freshman in Kelvin Chaisson and a senior in Mike Skinner currently among the starting lineman. Can this young of an offensive line really get it together and be a dominate group this fall?

VC: Yes, I believe that we can. Coach Kevin Wilson came in and changed our whole attitude about how we approach workouts and how we approach practice. Everybody has come on and they are picking up the pace. I think we are going to be good.

JH: There is more emphasis on the run game, is that something you are happy about?

VC: We have so much fun now at practice. Last year we dreaded practice as it seemed we were always in pass protection and the defense was whipping us everyday. We now have a good attitude and we are looking forward to going to practice. It doesnÃt matter if we are just drilling or scrimmaging, we are having a good time now. On third-and-short we are gong to have a good time this year.

JH: Are you more comfortable this year now that you are going into your second year of football?

VC: I have a much greater comfort zone this year. We have simplified most of the offense, so there is not a lot of pressure on me. I donÃt have to make a lot of calls and stuff, and I am just at the line scrimmage firing off the ball and knocking some heads.

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