Sioux set to take on wild lineman

GRAND FORKS -- On game day, no one can miss Texas Tech offensive lineman Brandon Carter. He's noticed for his size (6-foot-7, 344 pounds) and for his appearance.

GRAND FORKS -- On game day, no one can miss Texas Tech offensive lineman Brandon Carter. He's noticed for his size (6-foot-7, 344 pounds) and for his appearance.

The gargantuan guard, who did not allow a sack last season in Tech's pass-minded offense, has a two-toned Mohawk haircut that's spiked. He paints his face on game days to rival that of Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker.

Then there are the multiple tattoos and piercings, all adding up to an unforgettable looking football player, one that likely will be playing on Sundays next season.

On Saturday, University of North Dakota nose guard Ty Boyle will line up against Carter when the Sioux meet Texas Tech in Lubbock, where 50,000 fans anxiously await the performance of Carter and the Red Raiders -- a team that reached No. 2 in the AP poll last season.

Boyle is from International Falls, Minn., about as far removed from face paint, tattoos and body piercings as any place.


"We usually don't wear makeup in northern Minnesota," Boyle quietly said during Tuesday's media session at Memorial Stadium.

Hefty out front

Carter is the leader of Tech's offensive line that averages 314 pounds per player. The line is designed to provide protection for Tech's passing game. It's big, agile and physical -- nothing out of the ordinary for Tech or other teams in the Big 12.

Carter's appearance adds some flair to the matchup between the Tech line and UND's defensive front, which averages 263 pounds per player.

"Obviously, he's listed as one of the best offensive linemen in the country," Boyle said of the Outland Trophy candidate. "But it will be a fun challenge to go against him and see where we measure up and where I measure up.

"He's probably the best offensive lineman we've watched on film. He's huge and he moves well."

Carter's appearance, likely designed for intimidation, doesn't really bother Boyle.

"You ask yourself why someone has to do that to get excited for the game, but that's his own thing," Boyle said. "Once the football helmets are one, it really doesn't matter what his face looks like."


Flicking the switch

Carter's soft-spoken demeanor doesn't match his game-day appearance.

"He's a little bit intimidating," Tech senior defensive end Ra'Jon Henley said. "But he's a pretty cool guy. His whole attitude changes once he gets on the field."

Carter is asked constantly about his appearance and whether it's designed for intimidation.

His tattoos, he said, have a purpose.

"I'm kind of an artistic guy," Carter said. "This is the only art I can carry with me. I draw up my own tattoos. Every time I look in the mirror, I see my art, which I enjoy."

Tech's offensive line will have to protect a new quarterback this season. Taylor Potts, a junior, takes over for Graham Harrell, a Hesiman Trophy candidate last year.

Carter said Potts has as much ability as any of the previous quarterbacks in Tech's spread offense.


"Last year, there were occasions where we had to protect Graham for 13 seconds," Carter said. "If Taylor needs that, we'll give it to him. He's going to be a great playmaker and a great leader."

No N.D. tourist

Carter, whose agility has been enhanced through mixed martial arts and boxing, doesn't know much about UND. Or North Dakota for that matter.

"I've never been to North Dakota," he said. "I don't think I've ever been near North Dakota."

But he has watched considerable film on the Sioux.

"I don't think they're a bad team at all," Carter said. "We respect them. No one can look past anyone in football. If you do that, they can sneak up on you and beat you."

Few players have been able to sneak past Carter in his three seasons at Tech.

But Boyle and the rest of the Sioux will give it a try.


"It's the game we've been looking forward to all summer," Boyle said. "Every workout, it's the one game we've been thinking about."

The Grand Forks Herald and The Dickinson Press are both owned by Forum Communications Co.

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