Ohio's Carrie benefits from 6th year
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- On an team chock-full of fifth-year seniors, Travis Carrie's Ohio career goes back to 2008.
The Stone Age, as far as that locker room goes.
"I get a lot of 'old' jokes these days," the cornerback said, with a laugh.
Carrie, a 5-foot-111/2 native of Antioch, Calif., was granted a sixth year by the NCAA. He redshirted in 2009, in what would have been his sophomore season, and took a medical redshirt last year when he reinjured his right shoulder just before the start of the season.
He had his labrum repaired by doctors associated with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he made the most of his rehabilitation period. He cranked up his class load, picked up his bachelor's degree in sports administration and went far enough in graduate school to be able to finish that this fall. He will earn his master's in coaching education.
And he got another chance to play college football.
"It was another year to play under the lights, get more experience, more maturity and learn a lot more," he said. "So I think the sixth year will benefit me more than I would have thought."
He isn't a bit player in an experienced secondary, either. He was an All-Mid-American Conference selection by Phil Steele in 2010, and won second-team honors by Steele and by league coaches in 2011. Among his accomplishments that year was a two-interception night against Marshall.
He gets his third and final chance at the Thundering Herd on Saturday at Peden Stadium, with kickoff at 8 p.m.
Ohio's other starting cornerback, Jamil Shaw, is a fifth-year senior, as is one of the strong safeties, Xavier Hughes. Hughes has picked off passes in the Bobcats' first two games, at Louisville and at home against North Texas. Nickel back Nathan Carpenter, brother of former MU linebacker George, helped stymie the Herd with his long fumble return that set up the Bobcats' go-ahead field goal last year.
Weak-side linebacker Javon Johnson is the reigning defensive player of the week in the MAC's East Division. In his first collegiate start, he had two solo tackles, a fumble recovery and a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Johnson is just a sophomore, and the front seven is generally younger but not necessarily lacking in talent. Nose guard Antwan Crutcher, a 6-2, 300-pound load, has everyone's attention, but the Bobcats will comfortably roll two lines.
While the names and numbers change on the Ohio defense, MU offensive coordinator Bill Legg says many things remain the same.
"They're the same today as they were yesterday, as they will be tomorrow," Legg said. "There are no tricks, no tricks. They pride themselves on being a physical team, pride themselves in swarming to the football, they pride themselves in being sound fundamentally and executing their plan understanding the strengths and weaknesses of every call they make.
"They don't get misaligned, they don't get out of position. If you beat them, it's because you beat them. It's not because they beat themselves."
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5140, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.