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  1. #1
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    Carriker: A real run-stopper

    By Bill Coats
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    05/03/2007


    Kevin Cosgrove has been around. So his declaration, made without hesitation or qualification, that Adam Carriker is "the best defensive lineman I've ever coached" not only should raise eyebrows, but also raise hopes among Rams fans.

    Cosgrove is the defensive coordinator at Nebraska, where Carriker the Rams' first-round draft pick (No. 13 overall) last weekend was the Big 12 Conference coaches' choice as defensive lineman of the year in 2006.

    Cosgrove has been a college assistant since 1983, including 14 years at Wisconsin and seven at Illinois, and Carriker is the fourth first-round draft choice he has coached. In that time, Cosgrove has seen and developed plenty of talent. He said Carriker separates himself from the others in three ways:

    "One is his character and his ability to upgrade a locker room; it's outstanding," Cosgrove said. "Two is his intelligence; it's tremendous. And three is his athletic ability and size; I've never seen a kid with his kind of combination."



    Carriker, who is 6-foot-6 and 296 pounds and a three-time all-league academic honoree, can dash 40 yards in 4.7 seconds and bench-press 440 pounds. He was an end at Nebraska, but the Rams plan to move him inside.

    "In a crunch, he could probably play every position along the defensive line," Rams coach Scott Linehan said. "The best thing he does is play the run."

    That should be welcome news for Rams fans weary of watching opposing backs piling up yards. In the last three

    seasons, the Rams have finished 29th, 28th and 31st, respectively, in rush defense in the 32-team NFL.

    Linehan already has penciled in Carriker, who will turn 23 on Sunday, as his starter at the "3-technique" spot, next to the nose tackle.

    "I would love to step in and play right away, but I know it won't be handed to me," Carriker said. "I plan on earning that spot."



    From QB to defense

    Dave Carriker grew up in rural Nebraska, where he developed a deep devotion for Cornhuskers football.

    "I had Nebraska-red blood in me," he said.

    He was working in the chemical division of an oil refinery in Hastings, Neb., 20 years ago when the company transferred him to eastern Washington. Dave and wife Nancy, a nurse, raised Adam and his older siblings, sisters Keri and Gina, and brother Darren, in Kennewick, a town of 60,000 on the Columbia River.

    Adam was plenty active as a youngster.

    "He had a little bit of fire in him," Dave said. "But he was never too much of a handful. He was a pretty typical kid."

    Except on a football field. Adam began to lift weights in eighth grade and by the time he reported for spring workouts as a high school freshman, he already had sculpted his body impressively.

    Kennewick High coach Warren Hull took one look at the 6-4, 190-pound Carriker ... and then did a double-take.

    "I asked who that kid was, and they said, 'Coach, that's our quarterback,'" Hull recalled. "I nicknamed him 'Ivan Drago' after the imposing Russian boxer in 'Rocky IV.'"

    Carriker was a three-year starter in high school, and even though Kennewick won just two games in that span none his senior season he had offers from major colleges to play quarterback.

    "I wasn't a big fan of it," Carriker said. "I discovered I liked hitting quarterbacks better than I liked being hit."

    That realization began when his father took him to several summer camps before his senior year to learn to play defense. Dave Carriker believed that was Adam's future. But first, "I had to see whether he had that defensive mentality," Dave said.

    As a teenager, Adam "really changed considerably. He became so mellow and laid-back, I was amazed," Dave said. That hasn't changed, according to Adam's wife of four months, Angie.

    "He's just a sweetheart," she said, "really down to earth and just always willing to do anything to make anybody happy."

    Yet Adam quickly convinced his father that beneath his placid demeanor lurked a fierce competitiveness.

    "At the camps, nobody could block him," Dave said. "They couldn't double (team) him and keep him out of the backfield.

    "Right then, I figured, 'Well, he's probably going to be able to go as far as he wants to go.'"

    Putting on a show

    During his second season at Nebraska, with his badly sprained left ankle encased in an orthopedic boot, Carriker hobbled onto the field before practice. He found quarterback Joe Daley boasting about how far he could zing a football.

    Asked to demonstrate, Daley "took three good steps, crow-hopped, and threw the ball 60 yards," said Jake Peetz, a walk-on long-snapper and one of Carriker's closest friends. Then Carriker picked up the ball.

    "He just kind of looked at Daley," Peetz said. "And then Adam, with a bad foot, all of a sudden just uncorked. It was 80 yards, and the thing never got more than 15 feet off the ground."

    Recalling the episode with a grin, Carriker said, "It wasn't too much of a challenge."

    'Huskers coach Bill Callahan changed Carriker's assignment but not to quarterback after his sophomore season. Callahan asked him to take on a two-gap responsibility. That meant he was charged with tying up two offensive linemen so that the linebackers could swoop in for tackles.

    Callahan explained that his personal statistics would suffer; still, Carriker was eager to make the move.

    "That was fine with me," he said. "I just wanted to win games."

    Nebraska, 5-6 the previous year, improved to 8-4 in 2005 and 9-5 in 2006. Carriker finished his college career with 134 tackles and 20 1/2 sacks the sixth-highest total in school history and two spots behind Grant Wistrom, the Rams' first-round draftee in 1998.

    "He played like someone was after him, like his head was on fire. He just had a motor like I've never seen," Carriker said of Wistrom. "I'd definitely like to model myself after him. I couldn't stand it if we lost a game and I could've gone harder; that would just kill me."

    Cosgrove assured that would never be an issue with Carriker.

    "Just knowing Adam and his work ethic," he said, "nothing is going to stop him from being the best he can possibly be."


  2. #2
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    Re: Carriker: A real run-stopper

    Can't wait to see Carriker in our 1st regular season game.

    I have my alarm set for September 9th!

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    Re: Carriker: A real run-stopper

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Cosgrove
    Carriker is "the best defensive lineman I've ever coached"
    ....says the man who has coached no less than 18 defensive linemen who have been drafted in the NFL. Pretty impressive, if you ask me.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Carriker: A real run-stopper

    everything so far is nothing but positive about carriker

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    Re: Carriker: A real run-stopper

    I'm wondering about the DT rotation. As the article states, Carriker has been penciled in as the starter at the 3-technique. I guess that puts Glover in a back-up role (probably a good thing at this stage of his career), but I was really hoping Wroten would have a break-out year at the 3-tech. All the reports say Wroten is having a great offseason. I wonder if Carriker and Wroten would play at the same time? And does this mean that Kennedy will still be starting at NT?

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    Re: Carriker: A real run-stopper

    Glover playing the passing downs primarily is a good thing. He clearly is not an every-down guy any more, but he can still be an effective inside pass rusher.

    Carriker, on passing downs, could be moved to NT, where he would probably be a better rusher than Kennedy or whoever is starting at that spot.

    Wroten needs to find his role and, quite frankly, I'm not certain where that is going to be. Perhaps he'll start getting some reps at DE. Perhaps he'll add a few pounds of muscle and compete for the NT spot. Really not sure on that one.

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    Re: Carriker: A real run-stopper



    Maineram -
    and out of the ashes rise ...The Breakfast Club !

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    Re: Carriker: A real run-stopper

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan View Post
    everything so far is nothing but positive about carriker
    A ray of hope from TX? Are you feeling ok?
    JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS


    "HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"
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    Re: Carriker: A real run-stopper

    Let's just get past the pre-season games, barring any injuries, Carriker should make an immediate impact.

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    Re: Carriker: A real run-stopper

    Linehan already has penciled in Carriker, who will turn 23 on Sunday, as his starter at the "3-technique" spot, next to the nose tackle.
    I love how these little gems are always buried in the article.
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    Re: Carriker: A real run-stopper

    Which would tell you that coach sees carriker and kennedy as the starters as glover doesnt qualify as a nose tackle. Am i correct about that?

    Ramming speed to all

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    Re: Carriker: A real run-stopper

    Quote Originally Posted by general counsel View Post
    Which would tell you that coach sees carriker and kennedy as the starters as glover doesnt qualify as a nose tackle. Am i correct about that?
    That would be my early prediction based on this information, yes.

    Though I would imagine they're hoping Ryan and Jackson give Kennedy a run for his money at nose tackle. They're probably also crossing their fingers that Carriker himself puts on enough weight to maybe allow them to take Kennedy off the field.

    Realistically the Rams could find themselves in a position where they simply have two well-rounded defensive tackles on the field, neither of which is designated as a true nose tackle or under tackle.
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    Re: Carriker: A real run-stopper

    They're probably also crossing their fingers that Carriker himself puts on enough weight to maybe allow them to take Kennedy off the field.
    That being said lets start send him as much food as we can. Does he like cookies?

    Realistically the Rams could find themselves in a position where they simply have two well-rounded defensive tackles on the field, neither of which is designated as a true nose tackle or under tackle.
    I'm hoping this happens, I have seen enough of Kennedy. Let the hardest working, most active guys play.

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