LB Lorenzo Carter -- August 19, 2020
Q: When you made a self-assessment on your game this offseason and said, ‘Ok, I need to go work on that this offseason and get better at that and be able to come back here and do X’? What was X?
A: I think it’s always just refining your game, trying to become a more powerful player for me. Just making sure I do everything and put myself in the position to be successful with whatever the coaches ask me to do. It was really just refining my game, like I said, working hands, working power, and working the angles really because a lot of times, it comes down to what types of angles you have. That’s one thing I saw a lot last year and then the coaches pointed it out to me when we got into the lab this year.
Q: How much was that rep against Andrew Thomas sort of validation? That’s exactly what you’re talking about with angles and the power, I assume?
A: Yeah, that was one thing that we said when we got the pads on. It’s time to… We actually get to play football now. It’s no more running around in helmets, running around in shorts and t-shirts. It’s just big on asserting what we’ve been working on, like I said, those power angles.
Q: That pass rush room got a lot more crowded this year. They bring in (Kyler) Fackrell, they brought back Markus Golden, drafted Oshane (Ximines) last year. Entering the third year for you, does this feel kind of like a make or break season for you? Do you put a little bit more added pressure on yourself going into this year?
A: I wouldn’t say that. I think it’s great that we have a lot of talent and that we’re a little deeper in that room. Like you said, we have MG, we have X-Man, we have Fack, and even with Cam Brown, we have a lot of guys in the room that have a lot of different skill sets. It comes down to us making sure that we maximize our abilities and trusting the coaches in making sure they put us in the right positions.
Q: You went up against Andrew Thomas yesterday. What have been kind of your first impressions of him as a tackle so far?
A: I knew from day one when he stepped on campus at Athens that he was going to be a top first round pick. It’s nothing new. It’s the same thing he did as a freshman in college. He’s learned, grown and matured. As a rookie, he came in that far advanced too. I know I have to bring it to Andrew because like I said, he’s ready. I have to make sure he’s ready for game one.
Q: Following up on that, so there was no Bulldog on Bulldog, take it a little easy on the rookie on the first time out?
A: Oh no, of course not. I think it’s been a big emphasis that the way we practice and the physicality we play with in practice is going to be big because there are no preseason games. Whatever we do now, whatever foundations we set, is what’s going to show up on game day.
Q: With your fit in the new defense that Patrick Graham’s trying to install here, where do you see your game complementing the other guys that are going to be out there with you?
A: It’s just doing our job. It’s a lot of do your job. Right now, the focus is on fundamentals and making sure that you do your job to the best of your ability. I think if we do that and I do my job setting edges, letting the linebackers do their job filling gaps, and just play together as a team, we’re going to have a great chance to be successful.
Q: You said ‘do your job.’ Do you think there were times last year that maybe you tried to get out of your job to try to get more production, doing things above maybe what you were kind of in position to do?
A: Like I said, this year there’s a lot of emphasis on doing your job and making sure that you don’t try to go outside your responsibilities and give up different things by trying to make a play. That if we do our job and just stay locked in on the moment, locked in on the play, then it’s going to come to you. It’s either going to come to you or you’re going to force it to someone else. That’s just the big thing, staying patient. Being a lot more patient this year than just trying to go do things outside of your responsibilities.
Q: I wanted to go back to what you said about trying to make sure that Andrew is ready for Week One. Is that something you guys are very conscious of? Obviously, you’re working on your own skills and your own moves and everything in these drills, but is part of it also just show him such a wide variety of looks that he’ll get from opponents that he’s ready for everything?
A: Yeah, I think a lot of focus is on ourselves as players getting ready because none of us have had a chance to put on pads for the last seven months, some longer. It’s just focusing on yourself. Like I said, we have a lot of different dynamics in our outside linebacker room. A lot of different rush types, a lot of different types of players. It’s not my job to make sure I give him the look that somebody else is going to give him. I’m working on myself. But I know he’s going to get it changed up from me to X, from MG, he’s going to get different looks from different pass rushers.
Q: Did you add anything to your arsenal? Any specific moves or did you refine anything this offseason?
A: Like I said, just working angles, making sure I stay on the right angles, making sure I just do different things. It’s been a lot of working hands, refining skills, taking things from different players, watching film. But I won’t say it’s been a complete overhaul.
Q: When you get a new coach in, usually the new coach has some different techniques, different philosophies. I’m wondering what Coach (Bret) Bielema has taught you that maybe you didn’t do prior?
A: Like I said, our defense is a little different. We play with more patience and it’s just a lot of emphasis on doing your job and being very fundamentally sound. That’s a lot of what we’ve been working on, not even specifically just pass rush or specifically run. It’s more the coaches are looking at our feet, making sure we’re putting our feet in the right places, having our eyes in the right places. The rest they trust that we have the ability to make plays. But once we get the fundamentals down and make sure we get our eyes on our keys and know what we’re looking at and we’re looking for, everything else will follow.
Q: The drill you guys did, the one on one drill at the goal line, kind of turned some heads last night. I think you had a wreck in that. What do you think of that drill?
A: It’s good. It just feels good to get back playing football. It’s been too long. A lot of guys were getting a little antsy. But now we’re out there with the pads on. It’s time for real football and we get to see what each other has.
Q: Being at your first two camps, I don’t remember seeing a drill like that. When was the last time you’ve had a drill like that where you guys lined up and kind of smashed into a guy from a short distance?
A: It’s been a minute. But that’s the physicality, that’s the difference we’re having to bring this year and the difference we’re trying to bring. We’re trying to be physical, we’re trying to embrace the culture and do what the coaches ask and trust it.