Sean Carter makes smooth transition to fullback for Liberty football team
Thursday, Oct. 10
Sean Carter helped fill a void for Liberty by moving from the offensive line to fullback. --Photo By Rick Wasser
Sean Carter is strong. He can squat 500 pounds and bench 355.
Carter is also a leader who does everything he can to help the Liberty Eagles football team – leading him to ask coach Sean Finnerty to switch to fullback this season from his old spot on the offensive line.
Carter said Finnerty laughed at the idea at first.
“He kind of looked at me and said ‘Sean, you’re a lineman,’ but after trying it out, the offense came so easily to me,” said Carter.
“We needed a fullback, it was simple as that," said Finnerty. "We needed a kid that was quick and agile enough but also strong enough to be a lead blocker. Sean fit that mold.
“He can catch out of the backfield and he has good footwork," said Finnerty. "He isn’t the fastest kid but he is quick."
A nimble 6-foot, 210-pounder, Carter already has the first two touchdowns of his career in 2013. While he has not run the ball much, he did carry a season-high six times in last week's 52-24 loss to Broad Run, gaining 10 yards. For the year he has 32 yards on eight carries and a 25-yard TD on a shovel pass.
More importantly he is powering into open space to create lanes for running backs Jaquan Sinclair, Martin Parker and T.J. Hogan. Carter is also a vocal leader keeping Liberty unified during a tough 1-3 start.
"Being a fullback is awesome,’ said Carter. “It's great to be the lead block for the running backs and I get to run over some people.”
Carter says there has been a learning curve.
"I’ve been getting better with every practice, but I hope things click soon so I can be a load for defenses,” said Carter. “Our line is amazing and if I can get my blocking better we will be unstoppable.”
A starting center for two years and defensive end for one, the biggest change has been blocking.
“It is a lot more running. At offensive line the guy you are blocking is right in front of you. But at fullback he is ten yards away so it is more getting to your guy and run blocking,” said Carter. “At the line it is one-on-one and get under your guy but this is more of chasing down your man.”
Carter has handled the transition because of his strong work ethic, which was on display all offseason in spring and summer workouts.
After last year’s playoff loss at Briar Woods, Carter's goal was to get better for his final year. He spent hours in the weight room and on the field.
"I would stay after school because I wanted to lift. It was cold but it was better than staying home and doing nothing,” said Carter. “I would flip tires, run sprints, and hit the sled to work on my blocking, so it was a lot of pushing myself.”
He worked at Harris Teeter over the summer, but still kept lifting at Liberty.
“If I didn’t work I was at the field. There was nothing else for me to do. Every one of my friends were at work or on vacation so I told myself I wasn’t going to sit around at home, so I spent time at the field,” said Carter.
A soccer player for most of his childhood, Carter gave football a chance in eighth grade after being asked by a coach at Taylor Middle School. Carter started at guard in every middle school game.
Liberty coaches were immediately drawn to Carter’s willingness to help the program.
“He is a real tough kid. He loves Liberty football and wants to do whatever it takes to help the team,” said Finnerty.
Carter has also become an emotional and vocal Eagle. In last week lopsided loss to Broad Run, he met his teammates at the locker room entrance and slapped their hands, telling them "Ain't over. Let's go," as a rallying cry.
Liberty struggled in the middle of the 2012 season before a strong surge that resulted in an upset of Kettle Run and eventual strong playoff run.
Carter wants to be at the center of his team's resurgence this year, starting with Friday's home game with Sherando.
“Sean is a real strong guy and a great leader,” said sophomore Aaron Walters. “He sets an example for the younger guys and it pushes us to work just as hard, if not harder.”
“Sean really tries and succeeds to take control of the team,” said senior Lee Robinson.
“He is usually the first to practice and he is always giving one hundred percent. He leads by example a lot of the younger guys look up to him and even I look up to him as a teammate.”
- - - - -
The Carter File
Family: Dad Steven is a superintendent for a gas company that turns natural gas into fuel. Mom Michele works as a daycare provider. Brother Troy is in the Navy and stationed in Washington state.
Favorite sports team: Cincinnati Bengals.
Favorite pro athlete: Ray Lewis.
Pregame ritual: Before every game Carter goes into the weight room and sits on the first bench and says a prayer.
Favorite food: Steak and cheese. “You can smother it in ketchup and mayonnaise and it still tastes amazing.”
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.
Get Headlines Every Tuesday and Thursday By Email