by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff
The UCLA all-conference linebacker first caught PD’s eye with his early-season performance at Tennessee (14 tackles). He further intrigued us with his play at the East West Shrine Game.
Though snubbed from the NFL combine, Carter doesn’t mind working with a chip on his shoulder. He took some time between workouts to talk to PD this past week.
Why don’t you take us through your typical day now?
Okay, so I get up around 6:30, 7 o’clock, eat breakfast. I go to the gym and do a yoga class from around 8 to 9, and after that yoga class I lift from about 9, 9:15 to about 10:45, 11. Then at 11 I go to a little private field where I do drills, football-related work until about 12:30. Then I get to go home, take a nap, eat lunch. Then I come back and work with my speed guy around 3 o’clock, 3 to 5. And then after that, I go home and eat dinner. I try to stay up long enough to eat my snack before I go to sleep, but most nights I’m kind of asleep before I make it to the snack.
That’s a really full day. Are you doing that just about every day?
Yeah, about every day. Except for Saturday and Sunday.
How long have you been doing yoga? That seems a little unusual.
Yeah, I know, right? As soon as I started training when we got back from that (Eaglebank) Bowl game, we were playing in D.C…. It’s good for flexibility.
(On to) the East West Shrine Bowl. I was really impressed with how well you played. How did you feel, and what was the general feedback you were getting from it?
I think I did pretty good. I had fun. They voted me defensive captain so I think I did a good job of trying to lead the defense that happened to be a group of my peers who I hadn’t been playing with for the past four or five years. My best feedback was from our coaches, Coach (Marty) Schottenheimer and his staff. There were a few NFL guys, NFL scouts, but not too many. I didn’t get to talk to too many, not too many talked to me. But I think I did pretty good. Nobody told me I played bad. I mean, I enjoyed the experience overall.
And how was that on a day-to-day basis? Do you think you picked up some things during that week of practice that will help you?
Oh, definitely. I mean, as far as how the coaches work and how football – I mean, football is the same, regardless. You know: cover three is cover three, cover one is cover one, cover two is cover two. It just changes a little bit how each coach may scheme it up. So it’s really just being coached for it and taking coaching well, being able to adjust on the run. That’s all it is. Football changes. Every day you add stuff, you’re taking stuff out. Man, if you know how to play football, then you can play, because you’re going to be able to mentally adjust and make the changes that you need to make to continue to play at a high level.
How involved were you in terms of defensive play-calling at UCLA?
Oh, I did everything. I made the calls, I made the adjustments, I made the checks. I made sure that the defensive line was where they were supposed to be, that the linebackers were where they needed to be, and the defensive backs were where they should be. So I was basically like a coach on the field. I knew the defense probably just as well as the coaches did.
In terms of writing for a Patriots blog, I’m always looking for players who might fit into a 3-4 defense. At UCLA you (ran) a 4-3, is that right?
Yeah, that’s what we ran at UCLA.
And what do you think would be the transition from that to a 3-4?
Well, we ran something like a 3-4 in high school, so it’s not really that big of a difference to me. I think, just because the guards aren’t covered, I can get reads better, but I don’t think it would be that hard of an adjustment. Linebacker is linebacker. You get the same keys, the same reads, and things like that. It’s just one less defensive lineman.
Do you think you’re prepared to take on linemen one-on-one?
Yeah, definitely. Definitely. I’m strong. They may not think so because I’m not tall, but I never knew there was a size requirement to play football. I think that probably would have stopped a lot of people from playing a long time ago. But regardless, 6-5, 6-6, I’ll hit anybody and anything in the mouth as hard as I can, so that doesn’t bother me at all.
I believe you.
I’m not worried about that part at all. I’m pretty strong myself.
Speaking of that, what kind of numbers are you thinking about putting up at the combine? What are you looking at?
Actually, you know, I didn’t get invited to the combine.
Oh, you didn’t? I’m sorry, I thought I saw your name on the list. That surprises me. How do you feel about that?
Yeah, that surprises me, too. But you know, I always tell them, I say, they can’t love everybody. You know, they talked bad about Jesus, too, so what can I expect? So I didn’t get an invite so I’ve got to wait for my pro day. I don’t understand why. If I could figure out why, I’d like to know why. Maybe they don’t think I performed well enough during the year or in the bowl game, but you know, regardless, if I get a pro day, people are going to come watch me and I’m going to try and perform at my highest level, regardless if it’s in Indianapolis or back at UCLA.
Do you know when the UCLA pro day is?
March 30. And how are you going to prepare for it until then? Is it going to be stacked, in terms of working out hard and then taking a break at a certain point, or are you going to be working out all the way through?
That’s probably up to the trainer. He’s the professional. But the way we are, I’m pretty sure we’re going to be running all the way through. Just keep going ’til they tell us to stop. That’s the plan.
You’re an L.A. guy, is that right?
Yeah, born and raised. I’m actually on my way to my high school (Crenshaw) right now, to talk to some of the guys that are going to college, just to work out with them real quick. I’m born and raised in South Central, and home is where my heart is.
So what teams did you follow growing up?
When I was younger, the Forty-niners. My mom had me: Joe Montana, Steve Young, Jerry Rice. But as I got older and started playing football and watching football, I became a Ray Lewis junkie. I would follow the Baltimore Ravens since maybe 2000, 2001, the year before they won the Super Bowl. I’ve been talking about Ray Lewis ever since then.
What is it about Ray Lewis that attracts you?
His passion. I mean, if you listen to him talk about the game and the way he plays it, he talks about it like he’s married to it. He’s just truly in love and committed, and he just shows that every time he plays. I mean, he plays it and he gets paid, but you can just tell it’s not all about the money. He enjoys it, he loves football and has fun doing it. I play it that exact same way. I would love to get out there and try to match his intensity at one point and time, or just pick his brain and learn from him.
What do you think has been the most important thing that you’ve learned from playing in college?
Just the mental aspect of the game. Because when we went to this All-Star game, the East West Shrine, they were running offensive plays, and I was calling out the plays and things like that. And guys on our defense (were asking), “How do you know that?” I was like, it’s crazy, because it’s just formation tendencies: you can only do so much out of certain formations. Once you get the grasp of what teams usually do in certain formations, you can really understand the game, and it slows down for you. So really studying and mentally understanding football. Because I’ve seen plenty of guys with plenty of ability at the wrong place at the wrong time, and other guys that aren’t that athletic standing and waiting for the play to come to them. So I definitely realized that if you’re a great athlete, if you study you really end up on top where you want to be, so I try to make sure I always continue to stay positive when it comes to studying, and stay hungry.
In terms of your speed, what are you looking at now (for) 40 times?
I’m not even sure. I’m actually trying to get down to a 4.5-something. I’m not sure. I think I’m projected to run a 4.7 or 4.8. So, okay, I’ll let them keep that for now and I’m going to shock the world when I step out there on that deck.
I think you will. I believe you.
Yeah. I like being the underdog. I hope they talk bad about me so I can shock everybody, and then maybe they’ll talk good about me.
You said a couple people talked to you at the East West Shrine Game. Any scouts from NFL teams?
Yeah, I talked to the Baltimore scout, Green Bay and Carolina. Those are the guys I had in-depth conversations with. I spoke and got introduced to a few other people.
Sounds good. Well, Reggie, thanks a lot for talking to us today.
No problem, I appreciate it. Thanks for having me.
Email Chris Warner at firstname.lastname@example.org