Eastern Arizona College offensive lineman Josh Carter is a strapping 6-foot-5-inch, 305-pound bruiser at the junior college level. To ensure that he will continue to perform at a high level once he starts Division I football, he’s immersed himself in the workout program provided to him by the BYU coaching staff.
“We’re doing a lot of running,” Carter said. “Then we do more running and we do a lot of obviously core lifts in there, but they got us doing a lot of things to get us mobile. They want us to be long-winded and in shape and ready to run when we get there.”
The workout program for the big boys on the line focuses more on speed than size gain at this point.
“They want us to establish that endurance but don’t want us to sacrifice speed for size,” said Carter. “They want to make sure that when we can run when we get there to BYU, that they can then mold us to what we can do well. They don’t want us to lose our size but don’t sacrifice our speed in order to get bigger. They don’t want us to put on 15-to-20 pounds if we are going to be slow. They can put good weight on us when we get there where our speed won’t be sacrificed.”
To aid the players by giving them a head start, a booklet was issued that outlines a workout regimen.
“Yeah, [I’ve been] running my butt off doing lots of sprints, running uphill and in sand,” said Carter. “You know, those kind of things. They gave us a workout booklet that’s pretty cool. It’s a day-by-day schedule and workout program. I'm trying to eat as good as I can and then make sure that I get the necessary amount of sleep. Then after that it’s run, run, run. I do everything the book tells me.”
Following the strict workout program has yielded notable results.
“I feel a lot stronger, obviously, than I did last semester,” Carter said. “Last semester I was pretty fresh off my mission. I'm much bigger and a lot stronger than I was last semester. I’ve increased my agility from the workout program the coaches have given me. It’s very versatile and it keeps my body guessing. I'm surprised when I look at the workout. I'm like, ‘Really? I don’t do the same thing as I did the past two days, huh?’ It’s interesting and they’ve got us doing a lot of different stuff.”
Along with preparing himself physically, Carter has also been preparing to graduate this week with an associate degree from Eastern Arizona.
“I’ve been doing lots and lots of studying,” Carter said. “I’ve had a pretty heavy load here and I’ve just been studying a lot. I'm just getting ready to graduate next week. Then the real party begins. I can just dedicate fulltime to physical preparation and then a month and a half after that I’ll be up in Provo for a summer term. All that’s going on with me right now is school and exercise until I graduate, and then my focus will change a little towards a more of a BYU focus.”
Of course there has always been some focus on BYU, and the Cougar coaches have done a good job in making sure their junior college players stay on track.
“Yeah, we’ve got the text messages going on and phone calls and stuff like that happening all the time,” said Carter. “We stay in touch and in pretty good contact with the BYU coaches over there.”
And that, of course, means staying in close contact with his future position coach, Coach Tujague. Although Carter has yet to execute a single block for his future coach, he already has a mountain-sized pile of respect for him.
“I love Coach Tujague and he’s a pretty stellar guy,” said Carter with a slight laugh. “He’s down to earth, realistic, and when he talks about the up-and-coming season he doesn’t blow a lot of smoke. He’s like, ‘You know, you’re going to come here and you’re going to compete and this is what we expect of you. But, there are no guarantees and everything is based on your performance.’
“That’s something that I highly agree with and it sounds like everything is about football. We’re going to play football and whoever is the best at playing football will be the guy. You know, obviously you have the character and the student aspect of it all. That’s just a natural product of being associated [with] and playing football at BYU, but when we get there we are to be ready to play and go to work.”
So for the time being, Carter is looking ahead to when he’ll enroll at BYU.
“I’ll be up there in June,” he said. “June 24th is when it starts and I’ll be up there the weekend before that, around June 21st I believe. I’ll be moving in that weekend, so late June is where I’ll be there.
“As far as I know that’s what all the junior college guys are doing. I'm not 100 percent sure obviously but this is what I'm doing. I know the housing coordinator talked about other junior college guys coming in because we have to live on campus for the first semester. So for the summer all the junior college guys are going to live on campus for the summer term and then after that we’ll have the option of getting off campus and doing whatever. I know most of them, if not all of us, are supposed to be there so we can get the program under our belt.”
Coming in early and participating in offseason workouts and summer classes helps the new players acclimate more easily to the demands of college life at BYU.
“Yeah, we need a buffer zone. I mean, obviously we’re junior college students, and many coming in are high school students, and we’re highly athletic players from our junior colleges, but it’s not BYU,” said Carter. “BYU is a whole different level. Coach Anae, like he had been saying in the press, wants us to hit harder and run faster than we’ve ever done before.
“He especially wants that to be the case for us as offensive linemen, and he wants the line to be the hardest-working position on the field. That’s what I’ve heard and watched him say, so having us come early and enroll in a summer term is a way in which we can get acclimated to those higher expectations and demands of college life prior to the season.”