July 1, 2013

TCU safety Carter displays leadership skills on, off field

Q&A: A visit to a local hospital helps keep things in perspective for Sam Carter, a cornerstone in the Frogs’ secondary.

TCU strong safety Sam Carter is one of those athletes coaches crave.

He’s a born leader, who demands his teammates’ respect not only for his prowess on the football field, but also for his demeanor off of it.

The former high school quarterback still commands any room, including a few weeks back when he and a group of Big 12 athletes visited Cook Children’s Medical Center.

Chucky Hunter, a sophomore defensive lineman, also visited the hospital. He watched Carter organize a group activity in the hospital’s lobby before they visited with patients.

“He’s one of the leaders on the team,” Hunter said. “It feels good to have him here with me because I know he leads by example and I’m trying to do the same thing.”

Carter leads a Horned Frogs secondary that returns all five starters.

You took part in the Big 12 Leadership Council. What else does a natural leader such as yourself need to learn? You can learn something each and every day. Everybody is different. There’s different ways to become a better leader. Some people say you have to lead on the field, some say you have to lead off the field. If you can talk to people, you can be a leader. Some of these guys from Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Kansas have shown me different ways to be a better leader and I appreciate it.

What have you learned that you didn’t already know about leading? Different opinions and learning different ways of communicating with people because if you can’t communicate you can’t expect anybody to follow you.

What do you learn by visiting kids in a hospital? These kids are going through so much and we complain about the littlest things. They’re just in here struggling each and every day trying to survive.

Some people get a little nervous in hospitals. Has that ever been an issue for you? I’m kind of that way but I understand if it’s tough for me to go see them then how do they feel? Being in bed, not able to do what we’re doing every day? So I just thank God every day for giving me the opportunity because a lot people, these kids, wish they were in our shoes, but they’re going through something in life. It’s hard, but nothing in life is easy so I don’t mind coming and speaking and seeing these kids smiling when I leave.

Does talking with these young kids and seeing what they’re battling put things in perspective? That’s the key, it’s [about] not taking anything for granted because these kids are struggling every day. Just being patient. For these kids to get up to see us it takes a lot of energy out of them. So when I’m going through practice and I’m feeling exhausted I’m going to think about these kids and just keep going.

You’re one of the team’s top leaders going back to your sophomore year in 2012. Chucky, like other teammates, said he looks up to you. What does that mean to you? That’s an honor. I came in looking up to Andy Dalton, Tank Carder and Greg McCoy. For Chucky to say that feels pretty good. Chuck could become a great leader. It just takes time and seeing older guys do it because you learn from them. For him to look up to me I feel honored.

You’ve got the entire secondary coming back. How does that change things for 2013? It’s exciting. It makes it easier going to practice knowing all the faces are going to be back, knowing the same system we ran last year. We’re going to keep it in there and try to achieve more of our goals.

TCU had the No. 1 defense in the Big 12 and was 16th nationally despite playing so many top-shelf offenses. Any of those goals include getting back into the top 10 nationally? It’s tough, but our goal at the end of the day is to win by one. So if that’s being the No. 1 defense or that’s being the last defense, as long as we win the game we don’t care how it happened.

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