Logan Carter part of Wolf Pack’s defensive scheme
RENO — The University of Nevada football program has long been known for its offense.
Nate Burleson led the nation in receiving in 2002. Chance Kretschmer led the nation in rushing in 2001. But if the the Wolf Pack hopes to contend for a Western Athletic Conference championship in 2003, a defensive unit buoyed by 10 returning starters is going to have to come to the front.
And Logan Carter is excited about being a part of that.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it,” Carter said. “Our defense is real together, real experienced. I think it’s time for the defense to shine. It’s time to be a defensive school.”
Carter, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound inside linebacker, was an impact player as a redshirt freshman and was named by The Sporting News last year as Western Athletic Conference Freshman Defensive Player of the Year. The award was nice, but he’s looking for more down the road.
“I’m happy about that,” Carter said. “Hopefully, I can build on last year.”
Nevada opens its season Aug. 30 under the lights at home against Southern Utah. The game at Mackay Stadium is scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. kickoff.
Carter started eight games and finished third in tackles for the Wolf Pack during their 5-7 (4-4 WAC) season in 2002. He had seven tackles against San Jose State and SMU and he had five tackles (all solos) against Hawaii. He was credited with three sacks on the season. His eight tackles for losses tied Carl LaGrone for the team lead in that category.
“Logan had an outstanding freshman season,” Nevada coach Chris Tormey said. “He’s a very smart player who has a nose for the ball. He’s definitely going to be one of the guys we look to for some big things this year.”
That probably won’t surprise the fans who followed him at Nevada Union High School in Grass Valley, Calif., where he was twice honored as an all-league linebacker, in addition to being named to the Sacramento Bee’s All-Metro first-team as a senior in 2000. Nevada Union won its league championship in both 1999 and 2000.
Now, he’d love nothing more than to be part of a WAC championship team at Nevada. Among other things, that would mean a trip to the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise.
“I would definitely look forward to that. Everybody dreams of playing in a bowl game,” Carter said. “There’s three things on my head: WAC championships, UNLV and playing in a bowl game.”
The defense stands as a key to those dreams.
“We were improved on defense last year, but we’ve got to be more consistent this year,” Tormey said. “When you look at our conference, there are a lot of teams that can move the football so you’ve got to be able to at least slow them down.”
One of the strengths of the Wolf Pack defensive unit is a linebacker group that includes middle linebacker Daryl Towns and LaGrone on the outside. Both are fourth-year veterans. Towns was second on the team in tackles and earned honorable mention All-WAC recognition last year.
Defensive end Jorge Cordova, a fourth-year senior veteran in the program, has been touted as the preseason WAC Defensive Player of the Year.
“I’ve learned a lot since I’ve been here; these seniors have taught me a lot,” Carter said. “LaGrone is really a genius out there. He really knows the whole package when it comes to defense.”
Carter is pretty smart himself, according to Tormey.
“He’s an engineering major. So is Keone Kauo, who went to Placer (Auburn, Calif.). Those are rival schools, but I like it when you have two players with that kind of intelligence making the calls.”
Today will be the first day for full pads by the players. The practice is at 7:45 a.m. Two-a-day workouts will be held Monday, Wednesday and Friday with 7:45 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. sessions. The team’s first scrimmage will be held Saturday, Aug. 16, will feature the first scrimmage at 6:30 p.m. at Mackay Stadium.