Carter: "Guys Feed Off My Energy"

Reggie Carter, the junior linebacker, talks about taking over the middle spot after the departure of Christian Taylor, how he's trying to step up and be a leader of the defense, his preparation for Tennessee, and more...

Reggie Carter, the junior linebacker, talked to BRO at practice Thursday.

How's the fall going for you so far?

"Pretty good. I'm a little tired but I think the defense is coming along good. We're having fun out there and everyone's getting in their books and we're getting a good grasp of the defense and we're playing together. It's been great."

How have you been dealing with the concussion?

"I'm good now. It was just a little minor headspin. They told me to take it slow because if I got another one before the first game, I wouldn't be able to play. I'm pretty good now. Just about 100 percent. I've had a few head bangs today and I don't feel any problems. I'm all right."

How'd it happen?

"I don't remember. I hit someone on Sunday and it happened. On Monday, I hit Kahlil Bell like three plays in a row and it just kept getting worse and worse. Then the trainer was like ‘No, you're done.' So I just sat down."

How many days did you miss?

"About six days."

How's your transition to middle linebacker?

"It's pretty good. Physically, it's a little easier than Will (weakside). But it's a lot harder mentally, especially when you're tired. You have to give out signals and tell the whole defense what they have to do. Playing Will, I was just huffing and puffing and doing my job. Now I got to huff and puff and still tell everyone else what they gotta do. It's a little tougher mentally but it's fun."

How do you replace a guy like Christian Taylor who was really like a quarterback for the defense?

"You got to study and just know the defense. You got to make sure that you know where everyone's supposed to be so you can help everybody on the field to play as one unit." What does that mean for you personally?

"Just know the whole defense. I pretty much know the whole defense right now. I can tell almost everybody where to go as far as calling defenses. I want to be able to tell what's happening with Tennesssee -- what they're doing, what their tendencies are. I want to be able to call their plays out when we're out on the field. That's what I'm working on now."

How has your role as a leader changed from last year?

"Just more vocal. Guys feed off my energy. I got to try to lead by example. When I'm tired, fight through it because if they see me tired and weak, they get tired and weak, too. But if I'm uplifting, they're uplifting. Just try to lead by example and keep everybody motivated."

What about the younger guys that look up to you and see you as a leader?

"Just try to get them mentally and physically ready. The guys that have to play, tell them to stay in their boots, do their job, communicate out there. Just get them ready for the physical and mental part of the game. They haven't been out here yet, so they have to get adjusted from high school to college."

Was that something the coaches asked you to do?

"Yeah, kind of being a teacher when the young guys get here. The coaches can't be too involved over the summer so we have to take control of the team. Kind of get the young guys acclimated as much as we could without the coaches here so we could move faster when camp started and I think we did a pretty good job."

What needs to happen for the defense between now and the game against Tennessee?

"We just have to play together and trust each other, let everyone know where they're supposed to be. If we play together and everybody does their job, we should be fine."

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