Aggies' A-back finally shows versatility

Updated: October 21, 2003, 8:00 PM ET

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Jason Carter finally matched his preseason expectations.

Carter, a junior from Caldwell, was supposed to be one of Texas A&M's big playmakers in the versatile A-back position, which moves him around in various alignments to utilize his running and receiving skills.

It didn't happen until Saturday when Carter finally broke through with the biggest game of his college career with 185 all-purpose yards that included an 89-yard kickoff return in the closing minutes of a 48-12 loss to Nebraska.

"I expected to have more touches, but you have to play within the system and do what the coaches say, put your pride aside," Carter, whose Texas A&M Aggies play host to No. 18 Oklahoma State on Saturday, said Tuesday.

"It's been real tough. You know that you can make plays. ... It's just a matter of time to show people what you can do."

Carter had five touches against the Cornhuskers, giving him only 25 for the season including five rushes for 92 yards, four receptions for 51 yards, 12 punt returns for 85 yards and four kickoff returns for 155 yards.

"It was a big step for Jason," coach Dennis Franchione said. "After the spring game, he came out with everybody thinking he was going to be a big part of everything."

Carter, however, floundered as a punt returner and after he bobbled punts against Pittsburgh and Texas Tech, he was removed from those duties.

"There for a while, we had Jason doing too much and none of it was good so we concentrated on just focusing on a few things," Franchione said.

Carter's season has been one of perseverance, Franchione said. Carter said he had considered transferring to a different school when Coach R.C. Slocum was fired after last season. Then Franchione came aboard.

"He said what he expected from me and told me he wanted me to stick around and fight it out," Carter said of Franchione. "I trusted and believed him."

When Franchione was coach at TCU, he tried unsuccessfully to recruit Carter for the Horned Frogs. He had better luck convincing Carter to play the A-back position that Franchione has used with success.

Learning the duties of the A-back meant getting accustomed to the physical nature of being a tailback and trying to catch onto the nuances of receiving.

"Playing quarterback isn't that physical, like running back," Carter said. "You don't have to pick up blocks on 250-pound linebackers at quarterback. I've picked it up as the season has progressed."

Offensive coordinator Les Koenning is happy to see Carter making contributions and would like to see the A-back used more.

"You never can tell about young players," Koenning said. "Sometimes a light goes on and stays on. Sometimes, it doesn't. I think it's important to be consistent."

Carter's emergence could mean more playing time with the loss for the season of wide receiver Jamaar Taylor, out for the rest of his senior season with a knee injury suffered against Nebraska.

Taylor was 36 yards away from becoming the Aggies' all-time leader in receiving yards.

"The learning process has taken a little time but he's doing a nice job," Koenning said of Carter. "When you see the ball is in his hands, it's exciting."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index