Pre-Spring Game Presser (Full Transcript)

Lloyd Carr

The full transcript of Lloyd Carr's comments from his pre-spring press conference. Michigan's head man discussed the status of Antonio Bass, position changes, player improvement, injury updates and more.

On the status of Antonio Bass:

"Antonio Bass had surgery a week ago Friday. It was a significant surgery and I cannot speculate on when he will return. He has a tremendous attitude, but certainly it is going to be significant time to rehab his injury."

On when Bass might return:

"I’m not a doctor. Antonio’s attitude is so good and he is very optimistic and very positive, but I think it would be late in the season if it happened. And I’m not speculating on if it will happen.”

On why there was a delay before Bass had surgery:

"The swelling was the main thing. He had significant swelling and until that swelling recedes, you must wait until you do the surgery."

On if there were other players that missed time this spring:

"Johnny Thompson injured an arm. He got his arm caught in between one of his teammates on defense who was tackling a ballcarrier and a helmet. It was a bad bruise. We're hoping maybe he can come back tomorrow, but he's missed some time. Mario Manningham sprained a knee. It's nothing serious, but he has missed some time. Rueben Riley has missed some time. Chris McLaurin, who came in with a shoulder that had some weakness in it ... we repaired that last fall. And as so often happens with that injury, he is now having trouble with the other shoulder. We may very well have to repair that in the next few days, and if we do, we would do so with the hope he'd be back by the time we start practice in the fall. Doug Dutch did miss the first couple of weeks, but he returned last Tuesday. He is progressing very well."

On the progress of true freshmen Carlos Brown and Justin Boren:

"He has shown great breakaway speed. He's had several big runs. When he gets into the secondary, I don't know of anybody who is going to catch him. So you'd better keep him in front of you and inside the defense.We've also worked him some at cornerback. We'll continue this week to give him some snaps. He's made very good progress, as has Justin Boren. Both those kids, considering they just walked in the door in January, have done very well."

On the cornerback position opposite Leon Hall:

"Charles Stewart has really had a very, very productive spring, as has Johnny Sears. Those two kids have made a very, very strong showing. They are both very much in the picture at cornerback."

On the impact of the new coaches:

"It has gone very well. There has been great enthusiasm. The competition has been as intense as in any spring practice we've had in a long time. There is an attitude that is conducive to improving, and I think we've had that. There are always a lot of fresh, new ideas that come in when you have coaching changes, and that's always healthy. I think we've made a lot of strides on both sides of the ball."

On the progress of young players on the defensive line:

"Terrance Taylor has a chance to be a great nose guard. The thing that he has done in a short period here is...he's gotten much stronger. He has really had a good spring. Marques Walton has played very well this spring. James McKinney – we've moved him inside, and I think he's made very good progress. He needs to continue to get stronger, but he's a very athletic guy and he's going to give us some help in an area where we need to develop some depth. Tim Jamison didn't have a very good day on Saturday, but up until Saturday, I would say he probably has had as good a spring as anybody on our team."

On Chad Henne's spring:

"He's had a good spring. What I see is a different guy in terms of his total confidence in what he's doing and in what he needs to do. He's been around here, and he understands the leadership aspect of that position. I think he's right where he needs to be."

On the backup QB:

"Jason Forcier has done some very good things. He's improved significantly. When Chad Henne was a freshman, in the fall he was starting. Jason was down with our demonstration team. There are a lot of things that he is just now learning. He'll have to compete. David Cone will be a factor at that position. We'll just have to see how it works itself out."

On the expectations for LaMarr Woodley:

"He should be prepared to be a great football player. He certainly knows what to do now. He understands, from a fundamental standpoint, the techniques that are required. LaMarr is not the biggest guy, but he has learned to use his athletic ability. He plays very low, and he uses his hands extremely well. He's very difficult to block, because he is so agile and athletic. He's right where he needs to be."

On the offensive line:

"I think we've made some real progress. Jake Long has had a great spring. Mark Bihl has had an outstanding spring. Adam Kraus has had a very good spring. What we're looking for is to solidify ourselves at the tackle position. Rueben Riley played there for almost two weeks before he got hurt. Cory Zirbel, a young freshman, has made some strides there. Mike Kolodziej has worked in there some, and Mark Ortmann, another freshman, has gotten a lot of work. I think we've improved in that area. At the guard position, Alex Mitchell has done some good things. He's going to have to compete. He's going to have to lose some weight, and I think the same is true of Jeremy Ciulla. The right guard is a position where we'll go into training camp having to make a decision at that position. We've really gotten a lot of work, and we're much improved in that area from the day we started spring practice."

On the runningbacks:

"Kevin had the best day of his career on Saturday. He ran with power. He's much more comfortable with making the cuts and finding the hole. He's a guy who likes to compete. He's very tough. He has made wonderful strides. His weight is down, which has really significantly helped him. When you talk about backs, I think Mike (Hart) has had a very good spring. Mister Simpson has really shown some flashes of ability. He had a long 70-yard touchdown run on Saturday, where he broke a tackle. He's a guy with great balance. He's going to be a factor. Alijah Bradley has had a very good spring. Alijah has put himself in position where we know he is a dependable guy. He can do a lot of things. He's an outstanding pass protector and pass receiver, a guy who is very quick. Along with Carlos Brown, we have much better depth at tailback than we had a year ago."

On the wide receivers

"We've missed Mario (Manningham), and we've had Antonio out. LaTerryal (Savoy) has really shown the ability to help us this fall. He's a big guy, and he can run. He's going to be a factor. Steve Breaston has had an excellent spring, as had Carl Tabb. (Doug) Dutch does not lack athletic ability. He's just got to show that he can do it when game time comes. We'll probably get some help there from a freshman. Adrian Arrington still has a little stiffness in that ankle, but he's had a very good spring."

On the tight ends:

"Tyler Ecker has improved significantly at the tight end position. Mike Massey has improved significantly. Carson Butler is going to be, if his attitude and his work ethic ... he needs more strength, but he is probably as athletic as any tight end we've had. Brian Thompson has worked some at the H-back position. All four of those guys are going to give us quality reps this fall."

On the format for Saturday's spring game:

"We'll decide that probably after Thursday. If we had stayed completely healthy ... I would love to play some type of spring game. But Saturday we had a couple of guys [get hurt]. I don't know if they will practice tomorrow. When you add that and if you have any more, it's pretty tenuous. We just have to find out after Thursday's practice who is going to be available Saturday. Then we'll make a decision."

On the progress of Zoltan Mesko this spring:

"We have gone out every day and punted the ball, with the long-snappers and the punt returners. It's given us an opportunity to catch the ball in windy conditions and punt it in windy conditions. The days we've had, no question, Zoltan has improved from the fall."

On the decision to play Rueben Riley at right tackle:

"He's capable of playing all three of those positions. That's the good news. After evaluating all the things we do with linemen, we just feel ... there's Alex Mitchell, and we have better young players at guard. Rueben played most of last fall at tackle. That's where he's going to stay, unless some kind of an injury would dictate otherwise. Of course, that will also depend on how Mark Ortmann and Cory Zirbel come along. If they come along, and one of those guys is better than somebody at guard, we always have the flexibility to move Rueben into guard."

On Mark Bihl's improvement at center:

"I think going back a year ago, at some point, Mark Bihl really began to develop into an excellent center. From what I've seen this spring ... essentially, his strengths are he's got extremely good mobility. In this game today, you not only have to snap the ball, you have to be moving as you snap because you have linebackers you have to get off, you've got the nose guard right on you. If you're slow, the play is destroyed before it begins. It takes an athletic guy, it also takes a smart guy, because he's got to make a lot of calls up there as well as remember when the ball needs to be snapped. In our cadence, there are a lot of words, a lot of things communicated at the line of scrimmage, and if you get a guy that isn't smart, you're either going to get the ball snapped early, which ruins the play, or late, which also ruins the play. I think it's a critical position. He's a very, very good competitor and a very, very tough guy."

On Chad Henne's increased leadership this spring:

"It's a maturation process, and certainly he's been through about as many things as a guy who has been here two years has ever been through. If you look at the games he's played in, if you look at some of the lessons he's learned, some of the successes he's had, certainly you could understand he'd be a much more confident player today and a guy that understands what's entailed in being the quarterback at Michigan, and all the good and bad that come with it. When you understand them, when you've been through them, you're in much better position to deal with them than the day you came in here."

On the linebackers:

"I think Shawn Crable has had a terrific spring. Crable, if he continues, there's no way Crable is not going to be on the field, because he has really turned it up. The rest of them are up for grabs."

On the safeties:

"We've had one safety I think has really ... I don't like to say solidified, but Jamar Adams has had an excellent spring. And we've got a couple of freshmen coming in here and I think there's going to be a lot of competition."

On Ryan Mundy's progress after returning from the shoulder injury that kept him out last season:

"He's played a little bit better recently. We have to see what he brings to the fall."

On if he is disappointed with the linebacker play this spring:

"I'm a little disappointed at certain places in there, but I expect before we're done there that they will be a strength of this team."

On what Chad Henne has done to improve:

"That's one of the things he has to deal with – all those people that think they know the proper way to throw a football.(Laughing). It's amazing ... absolutely incredible. Absolutely there are things he needs to improve on. There are certain routes he throws better than anybody I've been around. There are certain routes he needs to improve on, and he's worked all winter and all spring to improve those areas."

On if Henne will look to run the ball more this year the way he did in the Alamo Bowl:

"I don't think he looked to run ... it's semantics, I guess. There were some designed plays for him, but he made some plays when things did break down. That's really something that makes a heck of a difference in our football when he can do that. He made some plays with his feet. I think he's much stronger than he was a few years ago, and you could see that late in the season."

On Braylon Edwards endowing a scholarship:

"The future, when you're talking 50 or 100 years from now...God only knows what tuition is going to cost. I've felt for a long time that the future of Michigan athletics is going to be tied to the endowment we can build. Right now, every time tuition goes up, the athletic department budget is impacted immensely, because we have to pay for every out of state tuition athlete that comes here. It sends a message, something that obviously as an athletic department we're pleased that he's doing. Any time a high profile guy does something like that, there are other people who may consider doing the same thing. With the number of scholarship athletes we have in this department, endowing all of those scholarships is the only way we can solidify the future of Michigan athletics."

On the fullbacks:

"If you look back at our football, it's very difficult to have a great running game without an outstanding fullback. Obi Oluigbo has had a terrific spring. My guess is this guy is going to be a dynamite fullback in the fall. Will Paul, who also played some at that position, he's learned a lot ... we just moved him there last fall. That bodes well for our running game. I think (Oluigbo) is much, much quicker. He's had some plays where everybody on the team is impressed. 'Wow!' – Those kinds of blocks on linebackers. He really feels comfortable with the things we're asking him to do. He's using his athletic ability to get there, he's got his pads down and he's been exploding into the defender. He's been lights out."

On the defense:

"Our defense I've liked a lot. But there are some individuals I was expecting more from. We'll have to see. This week could make a difference. I'm just saying this: we've made a lot of progress, but we're not where we need to be. That means every day you've got to get better. If you don't get better, you get worse."

On Morgan Trent:

"Morgan, the last week, has played better. This is true at every position... what you're looking for is competition, and finding out how important this game is to a guy. I guess he's in a very competitive position because he came into the spring as No. 1. (Johnny) Sears and (Charles) Stewart have really come on. He's like a lot of guys... he's got to step up."

On who is playing at right tackle:

"Brett Gallimore is lining up there, I mentioned Cory Zirbel, of course Rueben Riley and Mike Kolodziej. Kolodziej is playing at both tackles. Mark Ortmann is at left tackle. Zirbel has gotten the majority of the snaps, and Kolodziej's gotten some."

On the possibility of Bass returning this season:

"Well, I guess my response to that would be that it is a significant injury. I think it would take an extraordinary rehabilitation for him to comeback. But I have seen guys do things that I never thought they could do, so I don’t rule him out. But he has a lot of work in front of him."

On if Bass would just redshirt if he could return late in the season:

"That would be something that I would defer, if it was possible, to Antonio. I would be more interested in what he wanted to do."

On whether Bass's injury is career threatening:

"We certainly do not anticipate that."

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