Three weeks ago, Doug Marrone suspended freshman linebacker E.J. Carter for the dreaded "violation of team rules." And so he has waited. And waited. And waited for a chance to play again. He gets that chance this weekend as he has been officially reinstated and will be in the line-up against Cincinnati.
Carter will return to Syracuse for Saturday’s game against No. 5 Cincinnati. While not pinpointing exactly why he was suspended, Carter did say he needed to improve academically. In general, the balancing act with school and football became "frustrating."
"I looked at my time off as an opportunity for me to get ahead," Carter said. "Now I’m ahead in some classes and feel like I’m better prepared…I guess I needed that growing pain."
Carter was not allowed to practice with the team and that will likely affect the way he's used this weekend. Though if Derrell Smith continues to have issues with his undisclosed injury, that could move Carter back into the spotlight.
Whether he plays one down or all of them, Carter has a goal in mind for the game. The kind of goal that lets you know you probably shouldn't sneak up on him for the remainder of the week.
"I’m ready to hit," Carter said. "That’s all I want to do. I want to hit somebody else."
If E.J. is fortunate enough to achieve his goal, he might even get rewarded for it with The Bone, Scott Shafer's weekly award for the hardest hit each game. Someone will walk away with it after the Cincy game but until then, the Bone belongs to Chandler Jones for his work against Akron:
"It was a quarterback lead play and the quarterback pulled the ball out and I came off the line and just threw my whole body into him. We watched the film. We kept rewinding it. I was the bone winner. I still walk around, bragging about it. I've got it in my locker right now. I wish I would have brought it."
I really think that "I was the bone winner" could catch on in some capacity. I'd like to be the bone winner. We all would.
Oh and, in case you were wondering why Andrew Robinson is wearing a cast on his right hand, it's because he broke his thumb. As such, he can no longer perform the duties of holder, of which he was 2nd string. Just one of those years for Andrew...