Big Ten Media Day: Carr Interview Part 2

Lloyd Carr

In part two of our Big Ten media day interview series with Lloyd Carr, the veteran coach discusses the strength of the conference, Steve Breaston, adding a 12th game, and more.

On if he has given a lot of thought to his role as Associate AD at the University after he is done coaching:

"Now, no. What I'm trying to do is be the best coach I can be for as long as I enjoy it and as long as my health is good. That's really where my heart mind and soul is."

On if he agrees with Barry Alvarez's idea about the Big Ten creating a rule that no team misses playing both Michigan and Ohio State in the same season:

"I'm seldom without an opinion, but I would really have to look at that and give it some thought. I've just tried to convince myself ever since I became a head coach to really not worry about the schedule. It's one of those things that you cant do anything about. Barry happens to be in a position to have some influence from the standpoint that he is an AD. I do think that if you look at history, those programs (Michigan and Ohio State) are normally up there. If you don't play them both…I think history would say that it would be an advantage. But history can change. I think it's an interesting thought. Over time, however, there's nobody in the conference that some years doesn't have a better schedule. "

On how the Big Ten matches up with the other conferences:

"I don't think we've ever lost any prestige. There's nobody out there as a coach that wins every game, so you're going to take some criticism. It's part of the game. I think that's true for conferences as well. I think when you look at intercollegiate athletics, especially football, to judge them, you have to take into consideration that we're dealing with universities. So it's not just about winning. It's about all of those other issues that go into what sports should be about. I think we can be very proud, for the most part, of the way we conduct football in this conference. The way we play the game. I think it's almost impossible to be accurate in assessing the conferences' strengths and weaknesses unless there's head to head competition. I think we've done ok in the bowl games. I know this…over a period of time there is not a better conference than the Big Ten. I don't say were the best. That's my opinion."

On if having so many good teams in the conference can sometimes hurt how the it is viewed since they beat up on one another:

"I think that's exactly why there's that perception out there at times. I don't think until you've really been around this conference that you can understand the toll that the week to week competition takes. I don't know how many conference games they play in the Big 12 and the SEC, but here when you're playing eight conference games…and beginning next year it's going to be eight consecutive conference games…that's a challenge. You're not going to have people every year that go through that kind of a schedule undefeated. But when you do, you're going to have a chance to win the national championship. That's the way is should be."

On the Field Turf in Michigan Stadium has lived up to expectations:

"I think it has. The truth is, in a perfect world we'd like to have grass because I think it's the best surface. We've tried that and we just couldn't get it to work. I do think what we have now is the best available. I have to believe, based on the developments that have been made in that field, that it will continue to get better and better down the road."

On Breaston's injuries last year:

"I think anytime you're a competitive athlete, one of the most difficult things you're confronted with is the recognition that very often you're not going to be 100%. That's certainly true in football. You're always going to have some nagging things. And it's how you deal with them. Just the discipline it takes to get treatment everyday because that takes time. It take time that you'd rather be doing something else. But if you're not disciplined in the way you rehab your injures, they get worse. There are a lot things there. It's a challenge because some guys are great until they get hurt. And once they get hurt, now their ability to compete is really limited. Some guys you don't notice hardly at all because they have a threshold for dealing with discomfort that some other people don't have. So there are a lot of issues there."

On if he thinks Breaston is stronger after dealing with adversity:

"I think going through it, the frustration of it, I think it makes you appreciate when you do get a chance to play. I think it's the recognition that you only have so many opportunities as a college athlete to compete. You don't get any of them back. There's a clock, and when that clock runs out, you're done. Depending on what your goals are, those are all things that come into play."

On the 12th game:

"The 12th game is a fact of life. We're going to play a 12th game. But my major issue is that somewhere down the road here, a lot of these same people that voted for the 12th game are going to have an opportunity to vote again for a 13th game. My belief is that anybody that supports another game, whenever it comes, is betraying the concept of the student athlete. We've played 12 games before. It's here and I'm not going to have anything more about that. I'm not going to change anything I did say. But when they get ready to go to the next game…any president, or AD, or commissioner, or coach that supports that, in my judgment, is not taking into consideration what the student athlete goes through. If and when that happens, they should be."

On the differing personalities of Steve Breaston and Braylon Edwards and if he appreciates those differences:

"Absolutely. Let me say that I loved coaching Braylon Edwards. I don't say that it was always easy for either one of us, but what I loved about Braylon is that he loved to win. He loved to compete, and I respect people who are always trying to be the best they can be. You could never accuse Braylon of doing anything less than his best. And he was fun to be around, for the most part. Of course, I'm not the easiest guy to get along with either. But I enjoy Steve Breaston because he is a guy with enormous abilities, and yet he does not have a big ego. I've watched Tom Brady, for example, have as much success as anyone in the United States…and I don't think he changed a bit. And I don't think Steve Breaston will change either…at least in a negative way. But he's fun. I think it's the differences that you appreciate as a coach."

On is Steve Breaston is a special player:

He's one of those guys. Braylon would do some things. Anthony Carter, I can remember when I first came to Michigan, he would catch the football on the sidelines and everybody in the stadium would decide to stand up because they wouldn't want to miss what was about to happen. I think Steve Breaston has the ability to electrify people because he has such unusual abilities. He's fun in practice because he does some things in practice. When you can impress the players, you know that it's something special…and he is something special."

On replay:

"I think replay has been a great success. I think you always have to keep in mind as we go forward that it is not an NFL system that is going to correct every play. It is designed to make sure that plays that can change the outcome of the game…we can change. I'm sure that as we go forward, there are going to be some controversial plays. There are going to be some issues where maybe something goes wrong with it. It's not a perfect system. I think we've had a very good beginning and hopefully it will continue to be that. "

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