April 3, 2009

Carter glad to be back on the field

MADISON, Wis. - As a sophomore, Shane Carter was a starter in the Wisconsin secondary and received Big Ten accolades with his team leading seven interceptions. However, an inconsistent year in 2008 led him to play in only certain packages before off-field issues prevented him from playing in the bowl game.

Now, entering his senior year, Carter looks to be poised to make up for lost time through his play on the field.

Following Thursday's practice, BadgerBlitz.com caught up with Carter. The following is a question and answer with the senior safety.

We are a pretty decent chunk into spring ball, how does it feel to get the football juices going again?

Carter: It feels real good. I'm just glad to be out here with the team and just to be playing ball again.

At the end of the year last year you kind of went through some off-the-field issues which kept you out of the bowl game. Does that make it even better to get back out here?

Carter: I don't know if it makes it better. Obviously, I wish that situation would never have occurred, but at the same time, it's exciting to be out here for my last year and compete and play ball.

What is your mindset coming into the spring as you come back from the off-field issue? Do you have a chip on your shoulder or are you just going to come in and play?

Carter: Yeah, just not taking anything for granted and just be thankful for the opportunity to play at a university like Wisconsin. You know, just try to make my senior year my best year.

What were the coaches telling you during the time when you found out you wouldn't be going to the bowl game?

Carter: They were just kind of like, 'just keep your head high.' At the same time, they were just like, 'learn from it and be stronger from it.'

Do you have to instill some trust back into the coaches now?

Carter: Yeah, I'd say so. Definitely instill some trust back into them and just come out and show them that I'm eager to get back out on the field.

Have they told you the spot is yours if you show them you are capable of performing at that level?

Carter: Oh not necessarily. They told us that we were competing, me and Chris Maragos in particular. We have about four good safeties back there so it's a competition throughout the spring.

Just in general, how deep is this unit? Last spring it seemed a lot of people were banged up, is that benefiting you guys now?

Carter: Yeah, we got some real good players. Some good safeties and a lot of good young corners.

Does that competition make it better for you guys?

Carter: Oh yeah, definitely. It makes it fun, it makes it challenging to compete with each other and go out and make plays every day.

So far, through six practices, has anyone on the offensive side of the ball stood out to you?

Carter: Good question. I think Nick Toon is playing at a pretty high level. He plays with a lot of confidence as well as David Gilreath, so I'm excited to see both those receivers make a lot of plays.

As a safety, you're not so much up there and being physical off the line with the receivers, but do you see Toon being a physical receiver?

Carter: I do. I see him being a physical receiver. He's a bigger guy and he plays physical so I think he's going to be a good player.

You and Aubrey Pleasant were starting a couple of seasons ago. Now, depending on how Jay Valai comes back from his injury you guys are coming in Nickel. I guess, what does that say to you?

Carter: I mean, me, myself, I can't really speak for Aubrey, but I know Aubrey is eager to go out there and that he deserves to play. Then me, myself, I'm just excited to come back out here and compete and try to give me a spot and make plays.

The format of spring ball is a little bit different this year. There are more practices per week than years past and you had that seven-week strength and conditioning program. How did you like that?

Carter: I liked that a lot, it's kind of like the winter where we can make a lot of gains in the weight room. Just get stronger, bigger and faster, so I think that will help us a lot this spring. It will help us prevent injuries and things like that.

How do you like practicing more in a given week than last year?

Carter: I like it. Obviously spring is going to be here and gone before we know, but at the same time it gives us a chance to practice later in the day which is better than early in the morning.

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