August 23, 2011

Mario Carter is moving forward

Whenever the subject of his previous knee injuries are brought up to tight end Mario Carter, he politefully declines to talk about them. The redshirt junior, who checks in at 6-foot-4 and 262 pounds, has suffered two major injuries during his career on the gridiron - the first in a preseason scrimmage while playing at Charlotte (N.C.) Independence and the second during his redshirt freshman campaign in Raleigh - and both forced him to miss the entire season.

"That was tough, but I'd prefer to keep it in the past," he said.

After a full season on the field in 2010, Carter is fully confident and ready to contribute this fall. Last season, he appeared in 12 games and hauled in a trio of passes for 25 yards during his first collegiate game action.

"Playing last year helps me a lot," he said. "I always knew that I could play, it just wasn't my turn. When Coach called my name last year, I was right there, ready to play and contribute, do anything to help the team win.

"It wasn't a confidence builder, though, I've been around this game for a long time. I still get nervous before every game, every play, but that's football, that's life and that's being human. I'm pretty sure if you don't get nervous, you don't love the game of football."

Carter doesn't see himself or anybody else in his position group as a backup, he said the Pack has a talented stable of tight ends and everybody just needs to contribute to the team by finding their niche and being ready when the coaches call upon them.

"We got a great tight end corps with George Bryan, Asa Watson, Anthony Talbert and me," he said. "We've also got Benson Browne as a freshman and we're teaching him how to move, how to contribute to the team and how to help us win.

"I'm always happy to contribute to the team. Anytime you can help the team, whether it's on the scout team or on the game field, is great. I just love the game."

The tight end's mindset helps to keep the environment competitive, which ensures everybody is performing at their peak, according to Carter. He also contends that each member of the group has different strengths, but they are always willing to help others with what they are strongest at.

"I've been under George since my freshman year so we've got a bond like brothers," Carter said. "He teaches me some things, I teach him some things. We're a totally different kind of player but we both contribute and allow the team to win."

The imposing offensive weapon said he focused on building strength this offseason and he is especially elated to see classmate Mike Glennon ascend to the top of the depth chart at quarterback. In addition to arriving on campus at the same time, the duo also roomed together up until their junior year, which has made an impact that carries over onto the field.

"Mike Glennon and I came in together back in 2008," he said. "We've been playing on the twos since then so we've always had a tight bond. He was also my roommate so we've got that chemistry. Sometimes when we were roommates, we would sit there and talk about what we did, what we could do better and how we could improve ourselves. We still do that today, we talk about how we can get open more and we make sure we're on the same page.

Never one to look back, the big man is focused on opening the season at Carter-Finley Stadium on Sept. 3 against Liberty.

"I'm very excited about it, I can't wait for Liberty," Carter said. "It seems like football took a long time to come back around. When football is gone, I get real bored but I work even harder while waiting for it to come back. I'm real anxious for the season to start so we can showcase what we've been working on all camp."

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