Carter: "I've Made a Big Step"

Sophomore linebacker Reggie Carter talked Tuesday about how he's improved since last season, how the defense is faring against the run and the pass and his goal of being an every-down linebacker...

Reggie Carter talked to us Tueday after practice.

Are you ready to pound the Beavers this week?

"Yeah, man, just another week. Got to stay mentally prepared. We're on a grind now, every game is a big game now. We can't afford to lose. So we're going to go out there and play to the best of our abilities."

Looking at their quarterback, Sean Canfield, he throws a lot of picks. Are you looking to get in there in more passing situations this week?

"Yeah, I would like to be out there and do my job and hope he tosses me one. That's what I'm hoping for, but I still have to work for it. I'm going to try, but if he hands me one, I'll thank him for it."

Talk about how strong as a unit the defense has been against the run this year?

"That was our main thing, to stop the run. If you make teams one-dimensional, it's a lot harder for them to win games. We just looked at it today, from last year to this year, through the first four games teams have thrown 60 more passes against us. Last year, they threw 140 through the first four games, this year 200. So, I mean, teams that really can't run the ball against us, we've made them one-dimensional, so now we have to work on stopping the pass better."

How do you stop the pass better while still maintaining the dominance against the run?

"Just everyone being accountable and doing their job and knowing their technique. Whether it's man coverage or zone coverage, whether it's playing your area in zone or playing your man in man. We get so aggressive with the run, we may lose a guy or stare at the quarterback too long, when really you just have to do your job. There aren't too many things they can do on the field, not too many people they can go to, so they have to come to someone. So you just have to be there and make a play when the opportunity comes."

What do you think of Yvenson Bernard as a back?

"He's a good back. I think he's got a lot of experience and a lot of ability. We're going to play it like we play it every week, and that's trying to stop the run."

Individually, how do you think you've played this year?

"I've done okay. I think compared to my redshirt freshman year and now, I think I've made a big step but I would like to improve a lot more. But I think I've done pretty well."

Where do you think you need to improve most? Pass coverage?

"Yeah, maybe pass coverage. I have a good understanding of the game and I do my job, so it's really just letting my ability make plays now. It's making plays when they're given to me and even going to get plays when they're not given to me. So really just making more plays. I do my job and I know my job, so it's just attacking the ball more maybe."

It seemed like in the Washington game you did a good job of sticking with Jake Locker and knowing where he would be when he scrambled. Are your instincts getting better?

"Yeah, it's really a lot easier. I kind of see things happening. I remember one play, they were really spread out and it looked like a heavy pass set. I was getting ready to open up for the pass, but then I see the guard pull it and right then I knew, 'Oh, he's gonna run.' So as soon as a I see the guard pull, I sat down and he came to me. It's really just doing your job and reading your keys. We had a really good package in. The package was kind of split halfway. Either the d-end was going to be on the quarterback or a linebacker was. Most of the time it was gonna be me on him, so it was just doing your job and knowing your role."

Does this kind of improved instinctual play make it so you don't have to rely on Christian Taylor as much for the defensive calls?

"He still makes the calls. I have to give the d-end a couple of calls. It's just the defensive scheme, knowing that whichever option happens, knowing who goes where and who covers who. Once the play develops, in the first few seconds of the play, you see the action, so you know where the d-end is going and so I know where I need to go. And (in the Washington game) I just happened to be there a few of those times."

Next year, when Chrisitan is gone, can you see yourself switching between outside and middle linebacker?

"Yeah, that'll work out great. I think I can be an every down linebacker. I'd have a lot more tackles then if I played every down. I'm striving for that now, that's my main goal, try to get on the field for every down and rack up as many tackles as I can."

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