Carter Prepares While Watching

UCLA's veteran middle linebacker, Reggie Carter, nursing a knee injury and illness, sat out practice Tuesday, and he talked about preparing for Cal without getting the reps. Grad assistant Christian Taylor also spoke about how to prepare when injured...

Reggie Carter, who sat out practice Monday. talked afterward.

So you were told to kind of lay low today?

‘'Oh, they just told me to relax a little bit because my stomach was hurting. But, you know, my knee feels great.''

What kind of treatment are you getting?

‘'I mean, just you know, ice and stim, some ultrasound, a lot of soft tissue massage, stuff like that.''

Are you just itching to get out there?

‘'Yeah, it's kind of irritating. I don't like watching. It's like, I feel like a spectator. But, I mean, it's OK. We have great players so I still get the mental reps and things like that. But I'm more anxious for Saturday than I am for Tuesday, so I'm not complaining.''

So you see yourself playing?

‘'Yes, definitely.''

How many days to you need to be out here to prepare for Saturday?

‘'One good day, for me. The only thing I would really like to work on is the technique stuff. As far as the other team, I just need to see them schematically and I've watched a lot of film already. I watched them today and without me practicing, I'll go watch a lot more later on, so as long as I know their formations and the plays they like to run, I know how we're supposed to fit it so I just like to work on some techniques and things like that. But as far as practice for the opponent, as long as I see it and it's in my head mentally, the game is 90 percent mental so as long as I know it, I'll be OK.''   

How insistent were you the other day to get back into the game?

‘'Very. I think I missed, what, two plays? I was upset about that because … The doctors want to examine you and poke on you, then another doctor comes … I said, look, give me some Flexall and a sleeve and let me go. But they want to examine, then give me the Flexall, then the sleeve, then it's ‘Walk around a little …' I'm like, what? Then come here, let me do this, let me do that, and I'm like, just let me go, I'm missing plays here. But, I mean, it was good. They do their jobs. They have to protect me and themselves. They let me get back out there when they thought it was right.''

This is the third week in a row facing a pretty good back. How do you compare Best to the guys you faced the last two weeks?

‘'The two guys?''

Gerhart and James …

‘'Not to knock them, but he's probably the better of the three. I know early in the year they said he's probably the best back in college football. The last couple weeks he hasn't had, I guess, great games, you haven't heard too much about him, but I still know he's one of the best in the country if not the best in the conference so I'm not going to take any of that away from him just because the last two games weren't great. Everybody has their lumps, but I know he's going to come ready to play.''

Christian Taylor, former UCLA middle linebacker, is working as a graduate assistant with the team. We spoke to him Tuesday

In your time here, you missed a lot of practice during a week because of an injury, still come out on Saturday and had it down. What does Reggie have to do this week to get there?

‘'I think the most important thing is just his film study. You're unable to have the actual reps in practice, seeing it yourself, so you have to figure out ways to do it … how to make things up. Watching film, one thing I did when I was playing, I would watch film and I would clear out the defensive (meeting) room, move all the tables, and I would stand there and let the games run of the opponent we were playing and walk through my fits. All of my fits, that would do it. They'd be there on a giant screen, the end zone view so it's what you're looking at in an actual game.

‘'I told Reggie about that, so maybe he'll do that. But just watching film, you run through the calls that you have for this week, especially as the Mike backer, you know, he's got to set the front and get everybody lined up and just be on top of that, but also his fit as well. And then also on the (practice) field, standing behind, he was back there watching the plays go on.

‘'I think those are the most important things. I mean, it's not like something he hasn't done. He's a real smart guy and he's been doing it for four years now. He knows the defense. He's played Cal before, three other times. It's the same offense. New coordinator, but still the same stuff. I think he's going to be fine. He knows what he has to do and he's a good studier. He studies hard and this week, he'll get more time in.''

From a physical standpoint, how much do you miss not practicing in preparing for a game?

‘'The reason you practice, that's the best look you can get … actually doing it. But when you're hurt like that, that's all you've got. You've got to do what you've got to do. It's better for him to rest, so something has got to give. You've just got to find ways to make it work. There's no excuse to be made. You know, he's just got to be prepared and he will be. There's no question. So, yeah, I would have loved to get the reps in practice when I was in that situation, but it's unfortunate when you're that hurt you can't.''

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