Carter Taking On Veteran Role

Reggie Carter is starting to sound like a veteran, with a year of starting at weakside linebacker now under his belt. The redshirt sophomore-to-be talked to us after practice Thursday about his role in the defense, his expectations for the defense, linebacker depth, and how the offense is coming along...

Reggie Carter talked to BRO after practice Thursday.

What did the coaches tell you before last year about what you needed to do to win a starting spot?

"Nothing. Nothing at all. When you first come in, I didn't get too much attention or anything. They sit you in there and try to get you to learn the defense but I don't think they had plans on me playing too early because I didn't get too much attention. But you always have to get better. First thing you gotta do when you come in is learn the defense, I didn't know the defense so I guess right then they knew I wasn't ready."

Considering that, were you surprised with how well you progressed during your first year to win a starting spot your second year?

"I wasn't surprised, because I could have done better. But I did pretty good for my first year in college football. I was surprised, when camp first started, I was third on the depth chart, maybe getting one rep per day, so I was kind of surprised that I got to start. Once I got it, I was focused on keeping it, and I just have to keep doing that."

What do you need to improve on to go from one of the best young linebackers in the Pac-10 to one the best overall?

"Just playing better in space, just when I see it, attacking it right away. Quickness. You always have to work on your speed and your footwork and being more aggressive outside of the box. While I'm always aggressive in the box against the run, being aggressive on the pass, too. You gotta catch the ball in college too, in high school it's mostly run, but now you know you gotta drop back, and the Pac-10 is mostly pass so it's just improving on my pass defense."

How much does it help to be a relatively young guy on such an experienced defense?

"It's actually pretty good. I'm not really the young guy anymore because I have played a year, but I'm still the young guy. I go to them, and just try to learn as much as I can. I just soak it up like a sponge. When they're talking, or watch how they use their techniques and stuff like that. Just seeing how I can get better from them. They're kind of where I want to be. They're up there. Most of those seniors are doing pretty good. All Pac-10 players. I'm trying to get to their level."

How has an extra year in this defensive scheme helped you become more comfortable?

"I'm just more aggressive and just knowing that I will be able to play. It's more relaxed, there's a little bit more confidence too. It's really just pinning your ears back and playing football now, the learning process is basically over, except for the new stuff we put in. But everything else is old, so it's really just executing the defense and having fun."

Potential for the linebacking corps this year:

"Our potential is very high, very great, because we've played together for a full year now. We're familiar with the defense, we're familiar with each other. Out there on the field we can communicate more and more and better and better every day."

What's your opinion on the depth at linebacker?

"We have a lot of potential at the linebacking position. Coach mixes us up a lot just to see who fits best where, and he says he's going to try to get the best three out there, so hopefully that happens."

What kind of expectations do you have for the defense next year?

"No. 1 in the Pac-10 and top ten in the country and just dominate each game."

Overall what is this team capable of?

"With the returning starters and returning players and the new coaches, who are great, real aggressive…with their mindset and our mindset we can go all the way to the top because everybody just wants to win."

What are your thoughts on the offense at this point compared to last year?

"They're learning more and more every day. They're putting in a lot of plays every day. It's a lot on them mentally. It's a lot like we were last year. You gotta get comfortable with each other all over again. Once they get the scheme down, with the athletic ability that our offense has, they should be great during the season."

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