October 25, 2010

HerdNation Interview with LB Cortez Carter

No one would have blamed Cortez Carter for being upset last night. His Liberty (Bealeton VA) Eagles had just dropped a heartbreaking 27-24 decision to Sherando - a game which saw the Eagles turn the ball over five times. Gone was their undefeated season. Gone was home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Being disappointed, even for a little bit, would have been understandable.

But that's not how Cortez operates. That's not his style. Instead, he took a different approach.

"I try to take the positive out of every situation," said Cortez. "Yes it hurts to lose but all of our goals are still within reach. We can still win our district and we can still get to the playoffs. Nothing's changed. Coach Buzzo told us to remember this feeling and to build off it. I know I'm going to work even harder next. I think this loss is going to help us."

With that type of attitude it's easy to see why Liberty Head Coach Tommy Buzzo thinks so highly of his senior leader. "He's as good of a kid as I've ever coached, and I've had some good ones," Buzzo said. "He studies, he's positive, has tremendous football savvy and he takes responsibility. He's flat-out a great leader."

Even in defeat Cortez was gracious enough to take a few minutes following Friday night's game to discuss all things Marshall with Herdnation.com.

Herdnation: Coach Buzzo said you chipped a bone in your ankle early in the season against Loudon Valley. How's that progressing? And it looked like you got dinged up a bit tonight. You feeling okay?

Cortez: "My ankle is getting better every week so there's no issue there. Tonight I took a helmet straight to the hip and got a pretty good bruise but I went in the locker room about three minutes before halftime, got it heavily wrapped and I felt like a new man."

Herdnation: Coach Buzzo mentioned how tough you were - is that something you take pride in?

Cortez: "I refuse to sit out - that's one thing that's big for me. My motto is "I got your back, you got back." And I can't have my teammate's backs if I'm on the sidelines watching."

Herdnation.com: You did a little bit of everything tonight - offense, defense and special teams. Coach Buzzo said you're a defensive guy at heart, though.

Cortez: "I'm a defensive guy, definitely. Defense wins championships. In my mind offenses just manage games."

Herdnation: I know you had a bunch of offers to play at different schools, including UCONN, so what made you pick Marshall?

Cortez: "People call me crazy for picking Marshall over UCONN but I tell them hey, you didn't make the trips, you don't know what's behind the scenes. Huntington is a great place that I visited over and over. I feel like I can fit in there because it's exactly what I want - just far enough away from home to where I can't come home every weekend but I can still make it home on holidays."

Herdnation: Who is your lead recruiter at Marshall? Has he talked to you about what position you'll play?

Cortez: "Coach Phil Ratliff is my lead recruiter and I talk to him every week. We have a really good relationships and sometimes we don't even talk about football, we just talk about whatever. Right now I could play any linebacker position for them. Coach Ratliff has been telling me they need depth at linebacker so I'm willing to play anywhere. I know Mario Harvey graduates after this year so there will be a chance for some PT if I work hard."

Herdnation.com: As you know, Marshall has struggled a bit this year. Have you waivered at all in your commitment? Do Herd fans have any reason to believe you won't end up in Huntington?

Cortez: "No sir. Nothing to worry about, I'm going to Marshall next year. Coach Ratliff and I talk about that all the time about how tough this season has been.. We have 12 freshmen in 2 deep, new offensive system going from the power system to the spread. Like our loss tonight (Friday) against Sherando, this season is just the Thundering Herd's bump in the road. But I know things will get better real soon."

Herdnation.com: What kind of player can Herd fan expect to see next season?

Cortez Carter: "A guy that never quits. A guy who plays with pride and a passion for the game. Like tonight, no injury is going to keep me out."

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