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Q&A with SU linebacker Malcolm Cater By Brett LoGiurato Asst. Sports Editor
Though most of the attention has been focused on freshman linebacker Marquis Spruill, a fellow freshman has made noise at the same position. Malcolm Cater has played a key role on special teams while occasionally fitting into the linebacker rotation on defense. Cater, a 6-foot1, 212-pound linebacker from Riverhead, N.Y., has 11 total tackles and a sack this season. The Daily Orange caught up with Cater this week to discuss his freshman season thus far and look ahead to Saturday’s contest with Louisville and beyond.
The Daily Orange: Going back to the game against Maine when you had five tackles and a big hit on a kickoff return, was that your coming out party? Cater: Yeah, it was exciting just going out there as a freshman and showing my team that I’m ready to be on the field and be ready to just play ball. I’m out here to play ball and show what I can do.
Have you heard the nickname “Clothesline Cater” off that big hit? Yeah, that was pretty funny. I saw it online and everything. It’s a pretty cool nickname to have. In my recent game I played against Cincinnati, I just played all right. I have to work a little more now, wrap up a little more. But I took some shots out there that I’m a little upset about, and I should have made those tackles. I’ll make it better.
We need to stay in the “camera club.” Everybody just has to fly to the ball, just run to the ball and keep tackling. Just keep going for shots and make things happen. We have a great defense on the field. Everything needs to flow on defense. I’m not really worried about defense. I think our defense is going to keep going hard and fly to the ball like we usually do.
As a freshman linebacker, what have you learned from Doug Hogue and Derrell Smith? Just hard work. How they study film and how they’re so focused on film. They want to learn more and more every day. Even though they’re good players, they work on the small, small details. How they “dip and rip,” how they burst through the hole, how fast they close to the ball, how they take the right angle to the ball-carrier. Just small things like that, they stress so much. And being seniors, they show us as freshmen how to be more focused. It’s really good working behind Doug and Derrell.
Along the same lines, what have you learned from fellow freshman starting linebacker Marquis Spruill? What’s your relationship like, and what do you see from you guys going forward?
That’s very important. I’m a very physical person. I like to be a hard-hitter. I like to make big plays. It’s just being a middle linebacker. That’s what you have to do. You have to come between those tackles, and you have to fill the gaps. You just have to keep playing hard and keep doing it.
Me and Marquis are roommates. We just talk about the future and everything. We talk about how he could make better plays and how he could focus up a little more on small details and just how he slow-plays sometimes and could speed it up. Seeing him play, everybody wants to be in that position. But just seeing him and how he works so hard, he makes me work hard. He’s a hard-working kid. Next year, it’ll be me and him. I’ll be middle linebacker, he’ll be outside linebacker. It’ll be a great duet.
SU head coach Doug Marrone was talking
How important is the hard-hitting, physical aspect for you as a linebacker?
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matthew ziegler | staff photographer malcolm cater (4) has made 11 tackles and one sack this year as a backup linebacker for the Orange. The freshman has played mostly on special teams this season.
Monday about how some of the matchups with Louisville worried him. What are some of the matchups you guys are worried about on defense and are looking at as keys to come out on top?
know our roles out there. And we’ve been doing that each week ever since. “We had some miscues against Pitt. But it ultimately helped us become an even better defense. That game helped us mature.” And after holding WVU and Cincy scoreless in the second half of each of the last two games, the defensive unit only appears to be getting better with each week. That’s the only thing that interests Hogue and his teammates right now. The numbers and past accomplishments are virtually meaningless to this group. The defense has evolved from the trash-talking unit that had that “swag” at the beginning of the season.
Now, after each win, it’s simply on to the next one. “Every week we just try to forget about what we’ve accomplished the previous game,” defensive end Mikhail Marinovich said. “This week it’s a new challenge. We face a good offense, and despite what is behind us or ahead of us, this is our focus.” Perhaps that’s why Hogue and the rest of his unit aren’t paying attention to the numbers. Despite what this defense has done in previous weeks, the biggest challenge for the Orange is the one just around the corner. Regardless of whether or not Powell is lining up in the backfield. Andrew L. John is the sports editor at The Daily Orange, where his column appears occasionally. He can be reached at email@example.com.