ORONO — Spencer Carey’s knee feels good. His hand does too, as well as his shoulder. All the injuries that have nagged and slowed Carey down over his first four seasons with the University of Maine football team are in the back of his mind now. With one more season to play before his football career is over, Carey — a Lawrence High School graduate — hopes those injuries remain fading memories.

“It’s been a great five years. We’ve got a great senior class that’s really leading this team so far. I’m excited for what the future holds,” Carey, a redshirt senior, said Tuesday morning during the Black Bears’ media day activities.

Carey and the Black Bears open the season Aug. 31 at rival University of New Hampshire. If everything goes right during training camp, Carey will be on the field for most, if not all, Maine’s special teams situations. He’ll also play a new position on defense. After seeing time at wide receiver and safety earlier his career, the 6-foot-2, 216-pound Carey is now an outside linebacker, the rover in Maine’s defense.

“Just reading the linemen. It happens a little bit faster than reading wide receivers, as safeties do. Luckily I was able to get used to it in the spring. The transition’s pretty good,” Carey said of his new position.

Last season, Carey was all set to become a mainstay with the Black Bears special teams units, before a broken hand early in the season derailed everything. Carey finished 2016 with one tackle, after making 22 as a sophomore the previous season.

“He’s pasted together,” Maine head coach Joe Harasymiak joked about Carey’s injury history, which includes a torn meniscus (Carey had minor knee surgery in May) as well as a shoulder injury and last season’s broken hand. “The guys look up to him because they see his work ethic and what he’s been through with injuries, to battle back from those… Hopefully he stays healthy.”

Harasymiak said Carey is once again expected to be a key contributor on special teams for the Black Bears. Carey currently holding for kicks, and could even be used as long snapper in a pinch. Maine does not selected captains from each unit, but if it did, Carey would be a candidate.

“Special teams is extremely important to us. You could say he’s one of the captains on special teams. If we were to do that, he’d get a lot of votes, because he’s on every team,” Harasymiak said. “He’s going to do a lot of different things for us. He’s just the type of kid who can do that, and you need those kids in your program.”

A quarterback in high school, Carey has good hands, so handling the football during holds hasn’t been a concern. It’s a matter of developing timing with the snapper and kicker, he said.

“Now it’s natural to me,” Carey said. “It’s just getting the tilt right for the kickers.”

Carey enters his senior season second on the depth chart at the rover, outside linebacker position, behind Sterling Sheffield, a junior. A preseason all-Colonial Athletic Association pick, Sheffield was third on the Black Bears with 65 tackles last season.

“Sheffield is a guy who is going to play some defensive end, too, so (Carey) will play a lot,” Harasymiak said. “We’ve shuffled him around a little bit here, but it’s always for the opportunity to play, and he’s taken advantage of it. This year, we’ve just got to get him to stay healthy. If he does that, he can play a lot for us.”

Carey’s skill set has made his transition to a new position smooth. Rover is similar to playing safety in Maine’s defense, Harasymiak said.

“Basically, the spot he’s playing is kind of like a roll-down safety. Being in the box, the physicality of it, he doesn’t shy away from that so we knew he was going to be fine,” Harasymiak said. “Seeing things from different angles, being closer to the line of scrimmage, that’s the thing he has to get used to. He’s a guy that hasn’t had an issue with that at all. He’s doing a great job.”

During the spring, Sheffield was the only rover on Maine’s depth chart, so Carey wasn’t surprised when he was approached about the position change.

“(Rovers) play in front of us at safety, so we’re kind of intertwined. It wasn’t like I had to learn anything new,” Carey said.

Carey will graduate with a degree in physical education teaching and coaching. Although his playing days will end with the conclusion of the 2017 season, Carey hopes to stay involved in football.

“It’s been great on and off the field. The relationships I’ve made, especially with the guys on the team. It’s kind of a cliche, everybody says we’ll be friends after football, but it’s setting in now that’s a true thing. These really are my brothers. It’s been a great ride,” Carey said.

Healthy and eager to get on the field, Carey is focused on helping the Black Bears make a run in the CAA.

“Our goals are definitely a CAA championship. That starts with beating UNH the first game. That’s going to be a great atmosphere down there. That’s all we’re focused on right now,” Carey said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

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Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM