LB Lorenzo Carter
September 24, 2020
Q: James Bradberry doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who is going to talk much about himself, so I was wondering if you could. What have you seen from him so far in his play the first two games?
A: Just his skill set, his ability to match up with the best receivers on the other team and actually matchup with them pretty well. He’s done a good job just coming in, accepting his role and doing well. We just need more of it. You saw he had that great play. He’s had a couple pass break ups. We just need that type of stuff to get where we want.
Q: The pass rush through two games has been better than it was last season. especially you, it seems like you guys are getting home more, getting more sacks. Is that the different scheme and you guys being comfortable in it? Is that because it’s your third year, not your second, X’s second year not his first? Is that attributable to you guys developing or is this a better fit for the way you guys play?
A: I would say it’s all of us trying to take the coaching and do what we’re coached to do and play ball fast. I wouldn’t say that it’s like any different scheme. All the guys, we’re working together better, we’re getting to know what each other’s weaknesses and strengths are and we just play to that. All of us are out there hungry. Everybody is out there wanting to get the sacks, wanting to get the big plays. We’re really just trying to play cohesive ball, play complementary football for the back end, and they do the same for us.
Q: Is there any more urgency this year? It’s your third year, it’s a contract year for Leonard Williams. It’s B.J. Hill’s third year. All you guys all kind of coming of age? Is there any more urgency this year, like we’re not young anymore?
A: I don’t even think we think about the contract year or the third-year thing. It’s more we know the guys we have in the locker room and we know the abilities we have on tape, we’ve seen it, we’ve seen flashes. It’s more of let’s put this together consistently and all the time. Help out the secondary, help our team get wins.
Q: It seems if you look at your stats, the first half and second half. You’ve given up points in the first half, the second half I don’t know if you’re making adjustments. You’ve given up 10 points all season in the second half. What’s happening?
A: I think it comes down to coaching. Our coaches do a good job coming into halftime and making adjustments. Also, the players, we know we have to start fast and finish strong. That’s one thing we focus on, finishing strong. We try to put ourselves in the best position to win. If the offense can’t score points on the other side, then that helps us win games.
Q: It looks like the coaches have been asking you to do different roles than you were doing in the past. I’m just wondering is what I’m seeing accurate when I say that. Number two, do you feel more comfortable with what they are asking you to do?
A: Yeah, the game plans change by week, coach told us from the jump. One of the main pillars of our defense is putting the team first. That includes doing different things each week. Whatever coach asks me to do. If he wants me to play inside back, wants me to play defensive end, defensive tackle. He has a reason for it, and he lets us know with explanations. I’m comfortable pretty much anywhere he puts me. If I’m not comfortable with it, we can have those conversations. It’s a pretty open relationship with Coach Graham and the defensive players. We have communication, we talk about what works and what doesn’t work. We just go from there.
Q: Have you gone to him going back to early on with suggestions? Has he taken your suggestions into consideration?
A: Oh yeah, we talk about stuff. We talk about what works, what doesn’t work, what we need to do better. I know I spend a lot of time with him just talking ball, talking what we can do better. Whatever works, works. He lets us know also, we’re the players out there on the field. If we feel like we need to do something different, then we can come to him and talk about it. If he feels like we need to do it or there’s a reason we’re doing it, then we have to suck it up and play ball. It’s an open relatiionship, open communication.
Q: In terms of the game plans and stuff, how unique is that for you guys? I know there was so much emphasis on details in the summer. Now that you have gone through a week to week situation, hearing from some guys, it does sound like it is as advertised. That this game plan will change depending on who you’re seeing. I imagine that puts a lot on your plate in terms of what you guys really have to adjust to and what you have to embrace week to week.
A: Yeah, it’s pretty different. But the good thing about it is Coach Graham from the first day of virtual meetings in the spring, we started going over the defense as a whole and we did it conceptually. Everything is pretty much if you understand the defensive shell, then you can play pretty much anywhere on the field. It’s not too hard to grasp once you understand the defense as a whole. Playing a different position is just understanding where you are in the shell.
Q: I think it was Coach Bielema who mentioned the other day that you guys kind of have five or six starting groups based on packages. Whatever packages are called on that day determines who has more snaps, who has less snaps. What do you like about your outside linebacker group that has been able to embrace that from the beginning of the season?
A: We just support each other. We all know that, like you said, it doesn’t matter who starts out there. We’re all going to get a chance to get out there and show what we can do. Each package is different and each package you still rotate. You can be one in one package or a two in another package. You still have a chance to get out there and ball. We all support each other. Our outside backer group is pretty close, and we have some good players, so there’s no drop off.