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Q&A with Vernon Carey

Wednesday I was sent out to Dolphins camp and took advantage of bumping into Vernon Carey, a former Hurricane and Northwestern offensive lineman who has grown from a first round pick into the Dolphins' starting left tackle.

Mount Vernon and I talked about a lot: This year's Bulls team which is ranked No. 1 in the country; his Vernon_careyimpressions of the 2006 and 2007 Bulls versus the 1998 undefeated state champions Carey played with; former Northwestern coach Roland Smith; and Carey's Northwestern pride. If you'd like to listen to the audio yourself, it is available here at Miami Herald.com on our high school audio link. High School writers Andre Fernandez, Bob Emanuel and myself link audio from games all the time here and hopefully it will become a feature you check out on a regular basis.

Here's the Vernon Carey interview. Just so you know, Carey does a lot for his community. According to the Dolphins, he donates 22 tickets to Brownsville Middle School in Liberty City before all Dolphins home games. He and his wife LaTavia Banks mentor students there as well.

Q: Have you had a chance to go out and see this year's Northwestern team in person?
A: "No I haven't. But I saw last year's team."

Q: What did you think of the 2006 Bulls?
A: "Great team. They ran the ball well. They passed the ball well and they had good defense. From what I saw from them this year on TV [The Southlake Carroll game], they made a couple of mistakes. But it's a new coaching staff. It was a big game. If they wouldn't have made so many mistakes, they probably would have just blown those guys out. But I think its a great team. To play the way they played and still beat that top-tier team was impressive."

Q: So, what if this year's No. 1 nationally ranked team played that great 1998 team you were on, the 15-0 undefeated state champs. Who would win? (The 1998 Bulls had NFL receiver Antonio Bryant, Carey at left tackle and a number of other talented Bulls who went on to play Division I college football).
A: "We would have won because we had defense. I'm not saying defense is their problem, but we had a great defense and we would have had enough offense to score points. We had cornerbacks and everything."

Q: What did you think of what happened last year at the school (with former running back Antwain Easterling and the removal of 21 employees in the aftermath of an alleged cover-up)?
A: "It was bad to see something like that happen to the school. But I feel more bad for the coaches. I felt like the coaches were really trying to do a good thing and keep that kid's future alive and going to college and things like that. I look back and think about it now. The coaches have been more punished than the player. He's going to college, but the coaches are out on the street, not coaching. It's their team and now they got to sit back and watch it because they were trying to help a kid be successful and nobody else punished him and it was their job and they didn't know. It's bad to see that."

Q: What about coach [Roland] Smith? You've spoken to him, seen him at all? How is he doing?
A: "Oh yeah, we go to the same church. But we don't really talk about that. I'm sure he's doing good. He's a guy who cared more about the kids anyway. He would rather step behind and not be the coach than the players not being able to play. I'm sure he's happy because of that."

Q: I know high school is more than behind you -- almost 10 years now. But how much pride do you still have about being a Bull and how much do guys still talk about that?
A: "Oh yeah I have a lot of pride. Even when we were in the game with Oakland. I was messing with [former Hurricane and Apopka High graduate] Warren Sapp. I told him how Jacory [Harris] made player of the week. I flashed him the Bulls sign. I'm always going to be representing Northwestern High School."

- Manny Navarro

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MancuniasRedArmy

That's good to hear, guys that remember their roots.

Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat

I think Vernon Carey has lost his mind somewhat. There is no way that 98 team beats this team. The 98 team would have been run circles around by this offese. It's not even close.

Ok, Carey and Antonio Bryant are in league.

There are arguably seven future pros on this team. They haven't really even had a close game since they last lost.

T4L

Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat : Listen. go back and lood at the 1998 Bulls Schedule and game results, no game was close except for soul bowl 2 vs Jackson. If you can, find a copy of Soul Bowl 1 or 2 because obviously you did not see the 98 bulls play. They were bigger, faster, stronger and far more athletic than this 07 team. I'm not knocking your opinion, but just check it out. Better yet, someone needs to ask Coach Bille Rolle that question.

Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat

Best believe I saw both Soul Bowl I and Soul Bowl II that year. I was 20 years old so I wasn't some 5 year at the time who wasn't alive when that game was played.

You are probably a member of that team to be that adamant about it.

And let's be real, the 98 team should have lost to Jackson in the state semis. The game was 14-2 in the fourth quarter. We all know how that one went......a lot of money changed hands in that 15-14 game. These Bulls over the past 19 games haven't been even breathed on yet. And I've seen the results of that season every time I walk in the Northwestern gym. The Bulls had SEVEN straight shutouts last year.

Even when Northwestern led Homestead 22-18, did you really think there was a change the Bulls would lose? I know I didn't.

The Bulls are markedly better at every skill position except running back. It's not even close at QB and the top three WR. Antonio Bryant wasn't a star at the time. He had how many catches that year? Aldarius Johnson will catch as many passes as Bryant caught in a season in 6 games. Jacory Harris is arguably the best QB ever in Miami-Dade.

You have two high major D-I offensive linemen, a monster defensive tackle, three bad boy linebackers.

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion. I saw them both and there isn't a defense on earth (h.s.) that could slow this offense down.

My opinion is that the 2006 and 2007 teams are better than the 1998 team, and it's not even close.

T4L

Respected. All-in-all, go Bulls, go Miami-Dade football. I hope we will continue to have opportunities to play on a national level to showcase the talent that has always been here in Miami-Dade.
I don't know what took them so long...

DADE COUNTY 305

WHAT ABOUT THE 1995 BULLS TEAM AGAINST THIS TEAM FROM 2007. I AM FOR THE 95 BULLS. NATE WEBSTERR, WENDELL ASHLEY, LUTHER DOLLAR, LUTHER COCHRAN, JEFFREY TOWNSLEY, SNOOP MINNIS, LINTON COLEMAN, BIG DAMO 375 RUNNING A 4.6-4.7 40 YARD DASH, AND A HOST OF OTHERS....

Bullof99

As a proud NW graduate and faithful Bull I have ot give credit where credit is due. I believe that the championship teams where at the top of their game when they won their respective titles. I was a freshmen when we won in 95 and a senior in 99 and I dont think nobody could doubt that NW was a force to be reckoned with. Could either of those teams compete with 06 or 07? I doubt it but it would be very interesting to see.

Soul Bowl 2 was undoubted won by Jackson but at the end of the game NW had more points. Both teams played for their lives but Jackson started celebrating too early and they layed down.

CO

As a member of the 2005-2006 Miami Northwestern team and a 1st Team All-Dade selection I personally know that the 1998 Bulls would have destroyed the 2006-2007 Bulls for the simple fact that they werent big enough. Across the board the 1998 Bulls D-Line was collegiate size as well as their O-Line. In addition, 1998 defense would have terrorized Jacory Harris and fustrated Antwain Easterling. I've seen to many clips and highlights tape of both teams to know that the 1998 Bulls would have won this game. But, the real key factor to the 1998 Bulls was a guy by the name of Javohnie Ward

CO

As a member of the 2005-2006 Miami Northwestern team and a 1st Team All-Dade selection I personally know that the 1998 Bulls would have destroyed the 2006-2007 Bulls for the simple fact that they werent big enough. Across the board the 1998 Bulls D-Line was collegiate size as well as their O-Line. In addition, 1998 defense would have terrorized Jacory Harris and fustrated Antwain Easterling. I've seen to many clips and highlights tape of both teams to know that the 1998 Bulls would have won this game. But, the real key factor to the 1998 Bulls was a guy by the name of Javohnie Ward

David in Austin, Tx

University of Texas!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Come be the next Vince Young, Ricky Williams, Earl Campbell..........those guys need some young guns to challenge what they brought to The Universty of Texas!!!!!!!!!!!!YOU'LL BE BIGGER AND BETTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous

hey everyone i just wanted everyone to knw that Vernon and LaTavia are very nice people well i know because their my relatives lol but yea they are real cool nice people and always thinkin about the kids.

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