“So far it’s been pretty good, a little rough at the start,” said Carey of his spring ball thus far. “It’s coming along a little better; I’m starting to read the offensive line a little better.”
After thinking it out throughout last season, the Elder grad made up his mind on the switch during the off season, during which strength and conditioning coach Paul Longo talked to him repeatedly, suggesting the move.
“I’m just hoping to get on the field, just help out wherever I can,” said Carey after practice Tuesday.
While not taking a single snap at quarterback, Carey still appeared in all 13 of the Bearcat’s games last season. As a member of the special teams unit, Carey collected 11 tackles, five of them single handedly. With that being his only playing experience in the last year, it’s no surprise the physicality level demanded at defensive end has been tough for Carey.
“Fighting in the trenches,” said Carey definitively when asked what was the hardest thing for him to adapt to at the new position. “The physicality level, just trying to fight off blocks and get my hands on the offensive line before they get theirs on me.”
Coming from an athletic past, the 6’-4” 233-pound Carey does think he’s got one thing going for him.
“I think being able to run, run down plays and being more athletic than the person across from me,” said Carey of what’s been able to help him the most in going up against offensive linemen.
Carey is one of two former offensive players to be joining the Bearcats’ defensive line starting this spring. After catching 31 passes for 399 yards and two touchdowns in 2007, former tight end Connor Barwin has made a new home for himself on the defensive side of the ball. Much has been made on the Barwin news, with the senior being more of a big name than Carey had been for Cincinnati football prior to this year. Carey however, doesn’t mind having to share the spotlight one bit.
“I’m not worried about the spotlight. He can have all the spotlight,” said Carey of Barwin, who he doesn’t see as stealing any thunder. “We’re going to work together, try to make this defense a lot better.”
When asked who has taken to the new position better between the two of them, Carey responded with a smile and by saying, “He might be doing better, but I look a lot better out there, so he can have that,” as Barwin got a laugh out of the comment in the background.
Regardless of who plays, or looks better, Carey and Barwin should be a dangerous addition to an already dangerous Cincinnati defense.