Trading places

When Greg Carothers stepped into the starting lineup at strong safety during his freshmen year for the late Curtis Williams, he felt that it would be the position he would be at for the next four years. But after three years of putting on brutal licks from the secondary, Carothers will be moved up about 15 feet and be featured as the SAM linebacker this spring in the new-look Husky defense of 2003.

It was not a move that was easy to accept at first for the Helena, Montana native. After playing one position for three years, switching to a new position for his senior season kind of took Carothers by surprise, but understands that the move was done for the benefit of the team.

"I was a little bit surprised, and probably a little angered," Carothers said about the switch. "I've been playing one position for three years and then getting switched for my senior year but everything has been working out so far."

"I'm adjusting pretty well. The move up makes a lot of things that I've been doing simpler but there are some parts of the game that I haven't seen yet that probably will be a little bit tougher than I have seen before."

With the departure of Jafar Williams and Ben Mahdavi from the starting lineup, coaches were looking for some depth at the linebacker position and turned to Carothers to provide that depth and leadership. So far this spring, they like what they have seen.

"He looks very natural (at linebacker), but those assessments are difficult when you're in shorts," said Huskies head coach Rick Neuheisel. After just two practices without any pads and contact, it is hard to accurately assess and predict how well Carothers will do at the new position.

"We've got to wait and see how he takes on tight ends and so forth when the pads are on." He's our SAM linebacker but in some of our fronts he will be in the middle."

Co-Defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Tim Hundley agrees.

"I think he is a natural for the position," said Hundley. "There are a lot of things to learn but he's a smart guy and a football player so he and Tyler Krambrink for that spot and if they both turn out to be one of the better three linebackers then we'll be moving some people around. He's a good leader and a very competitive guy so he'll help us."

With the addition of a new co-defensive coordinator as well as some mixing-up of the defensive coaching assignments for the upcoming season, the Huskies defense in 2003 will no doubt have a new look and feel to it and Carothers hopes that it will be the key in making his senior year a memorable one.

"They're splitting up the jobs real well and all the coachers are doing very well with what they are doing," said Carothers.

"This next season is going to be huge. Every senior that I've talked to told me, ‘Don't go out like I did,' so I can see what's coming from that. Senior year is big. If you don't put out all your effort and you don't get it done then it's going to hurt later."

One thing that this year's team has going for them is the level of enthusiasm is much higher than Carothers has seen before. Carothers feels that this team is showing more signs of unity and excitements towards the next season and that can only help the team achieve the on-field success that everyone so desires.

"With Ohio State on the horizon, our enthusiasm better be good," Carothers said. "There's not a bigger game that you can play for your first game. It's going to e huge to play the national champions in their big stadium with a lot of tradition."

After all is said and done, it is the hope of every member of the team that this next chapter in the Husky history book will have a happy ending. Carothers hopes to go out with a bang as well as deliver some bangs.

He sure will, but this time, he'll be a little bit closer. Top Stories