St. Ambrose senior left tackle Carl Meister has been playing on the offensive line since the third grade. When he got to high school, his game started to take off.
Today, Meister is a two-time all-American and the anchor to the Fighting Bees’ offensive line. It was not something he would have thought possible four years ago.
“I always thought I was a good player, but I didn’t have the potential to be that great,” Meister said. “It shows me how you have to listen to the coaches. Now that I’ve become this successful, I feel like the coaches really helped me.”
Meister said it’s his technique that sets him apart, crediting his high school coach and drilling the importance into him.
Meister’s coaches at Ambrose see the technique their 6-foot-4, 300-pound three-year starter has every game and every practice.
“Carl’s a very consistent performer,” Magistrelli said. “He’s not a vocal guy. He just leads by example. You’re going to get a high level of play out of him week in and week out.”
Magistrelli said the coaching staff often uses Meister as an example, showing younger linemen what they are expecting while studying tape. Those habits don’t just appear on film, they are on display on the practice field as well.
“He may not be an A-plus at anything, but he’s no lower than a B-plus at anything,” Magistrelli said, “and that’s a great compliment to him.”
That consistency is noticed by his teammates as well.
“I don’t ever think I’ve heard (offensive line coach Matt) Drinkall correct him at all,” Bees quarterback Eric Williamson said. “He’s always doing the right thing. He’s always directing people.”
Meister and Williamson went to rival high schools. Meister likes to remind his quarterback that he won the head-to-head matchup his senior year at Montini. Then Williamson plays the trump card for Sacred Heart.
“I remind him we won state that year,” Williamson said.
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With Meister protecting him, Williamson does not worry about his blindside.
“I can usually see where pressure is coming from, and more times than not, it’s never coming from the back side,” Williamson said. “I’m very comfortable with Carl. Last year, I felt like I was always stepping up and going right, which means the pressure was coming from the right or up the middle. The back side is always sealed off.”
Meister refused to define himself as a big, mean lineman, preferring to think of himself as loose and confident.
“Even during the games I’ll chit-chat the defensive line a little bit,” Meister said. “My thing is just to have fun. I play with the intensity to have fun for me. If I play slow, that just means I’m getting my butt kicked, and that’s not fun for me.”
Meister still will have a another semester after this year to graduate with a degree in physical education. He would like to teach at the high school level so he can coach football. Magistrelli said he could envision Meister being a graduate assistant next season.
“Next year we won’t have too much experience with the tackles on the line,” Meister said. “With the mindset and skillset I have, I feel like I would be very helpful.”