Monday Presser Transcripts - Week 8

Lloyd Carr

Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr met with the media on Monday for his weekly press conference. He recapped the 17-10 victory over Penn State, looked ahead to the Iowa game, updates the status of Mario Manningham, comments on the Tigers making the World Series, and more.

To hear the player comments, click here.


Opening Statement:

"We came up with a great effort in a very, very difficult environment to play. I thought obviously our defense was outstanding. I thought they set the tempo from the opening kickoff when Penn State took the ball back at midfield, our defense found a way to get them stopped, because that is a great way to start a football game if you're at home and you get great field position. And our defense stood tall, from that first drive to the end of the game. And in between, I thought they were outstanding. They had great pressure on the quarterback and I think they did a great job against an outstanding back, Tony Hunt. I thought LaMarr Woodley played his best game at Michigan. I thought Prescott Burgess played his best game at Michigan. And we had other outstanding performances on both sides of the ball. And now we have to come back and do the things that we need to do to improve as a football team, because there are certainly areas in there where we need to improve, and I'm not going to talk about those, but I'll certainly talk about them to our team.

"Iowa is a program based on being physical, being tough, being smart, and they are that kind of football team, outstanding quarterback and we expect (Albert) Young back. A year ago offensively, they put over 400 yards on us, so we've got our work cut out for us and we're looking forward to hosting Iowa this week."

On the depth on defense:

"Any time you're able to utilize guys that have experience, then you know what to expect from them as a coach, first of all. And more importantly, if they have been in games, they have developed some confidence that comes with playing in game conditions. Certainly with the injuries we had a year ago, we had a number of opportunities, an inordinate amount of opportunities to play a lot of guys who are now filling very important roles on our team and filling them very effectively."

On Brandon Harrison:

"He had a frustrating time in there this spring, because we recruited him as a corner, but last year with the injuries that we had, he ended up playing at safety. And then right now he's found, I think, a real niche in our defense as the nickel back. He has excellent quickness. He is a good tackler. He's coming on. He's improving as a blitzer, coming off the edge, so he's gained some valuable experience for being a young player."

On how Prescott Burgess has improved from last year to this year:

"He's playing great football right now. He's had some great hits. He's diagnosing plays. He can find the football. He made a great play on the reverse. Any time you've got a guy with that kind of speed, the kind of speed (Derrick) Williams has, he's a danger to break a big play on reverse. And Prescott diagnosed the play, came back and made a great play. I think what he's doing, I think he has improved as a pass defender, although he didn't have as much to learn there because he played as a defensive back, but certainly as a run defender, he's made dramatic strides. And I think it's coming from the fact that he's now physically matured. He lost some weight. I think that helped him.I think a year ago he was one of those guys, which typically happens, you move into the front and you put on too much weight. I think it affected his quickness. But right now I think he is right where he needs to be physically and mentally."

On if he pays attention to the polls:

" I really don't. We're 7-0. We're just one game past the halfway point. So those rankings didn't mean anything at the beginning of the season. And obviously, you know, the polls are what create such great interest in college football. As a football team we're happy, obviously, with the fact that we are where we are, as far as a record. But it really does not have any significance now. There should be something in there that's a motivating factor, because we don't live in a vacuum. We know where we are. If we're a smart football team, which we have been this year, then we understand that you better be focused on who's coming to town this week and what we need to do to get better. I think that's clear for all of us. I really don't care to get into discussion of the polls, because I think they are great for the interest they generate for our game. But beyond that, as far as putting any stock into them, it doesn't matter because they're going to change next week. I guarantee you the polls won't be the same next week as they are this week. Somebody is going to fall, somebody is going to rise, so you better take care of the business at hand."

On how the 97 team dealt with maintaining focus in spite of all the attnetion:

"That team had the good fortune that they were under the radar screen for so much of that season, and that only changed after the Penn State game. So for one week they're going into Wisconsin, they had to deal with the spotlight. They didn't have long to deal with it. It's a little bit different now."

On Adrian Arrington playing his home-state school and handling the spotlight::

"I think it is a big thing. Any time for example, last week, we had three guys, Ryan Mundy, Steve Breaston, Chad Henne, those are the only time those guys will get an opportunity to play in their home state, as far as college football goes. Adrian is still a young guy and he'll be able to go to Iowa. But he does have a lot of friends, he's got a lot of family, he's got a lot of people in that state who know who he is, but that can get in the way of what you're trying to do. There are a lot of distractions out there and I think he's been here long enough that he understands. It always comes back to the preparation.

"If I would say anything in reference to your question, it's that's the preparation is the only way that you can handle the pressure. First you better want the pressure. Secondly, you better understand that the key is being prepared. If you're prepared, you can deal with anything that comes your way. But if you're distracted, you self-destruct. It's what you're thinking that is a critical issue here."

On the exchanege between he and Mike Hart during the Penn State game:

"We're both emotional guys, and it's an emotional game. One of the things that I love about him is that he does have great emotion -- he's blessed. Some people don't have it. Emotion is a wonderful thing. We did have a discussion, but it wasn't anything important."

On Alan Branch's hit on Anthony Morelli:

"Yes, I looked at it. I think it was a great play on Alan Branch's part. It was a clean hit. It was within the rules. That's all I have to say about it."

On Mario Manningham not being on the depth chart this week:

"He is not? (Jim) Schneider screwed that up. I don't think he'll play this week."

On Tyler Ecker's status for this week:

"I have not talked to (trainer) Paul Schmidt today. We'll have to see."

On where Manningham is in the recovery process:

"I don't know what he did today, but he's rehabbing. He was rehabbing it last Friday. He's got a great attitude, which is exactly what you need. As I mentioned earlier, the only thing I can tell you is the swelling was really insignificant, which is the best news you can have."

On if he notices Ryan Mundy get dinged up in the Penn State game?

"I really didn't know until after the game that he had come out, but he's fine. No, I didn't know that at the time."

On Alex Mitchell's performance this season:

"I think he's done a great job. Alex is a tough, physical guy. He is a very good athlete. Interestingly enough, Mike DeBord and I were talking yesterday. Early in the season, he and Rueben Riley, working that offensive line is about teamwork. It's about being able to communicate and being able to react to sudden changes in the defense that happen because they have the advantage of being able to move. Early in the season, we had some problems with a particular pass-rush stunt that we didn't execute, and as a result, Chad had people running into the backfield. And we had some plays with that same pass rush on Saturday, and Alex and Rueben did a great job with it. But the thing that really I'm impressed with, for a young player, is you go into that stadium and don't have any illegal motion penalties. With that crowd noise, I think it was an excellent job of our guys up front. We did have a couple at the tight end position, which I'm not upset about, because knowing the volume of that noise, that is an unbelievable challenge. That's where I think Chad Henne was just unbelievable, in the way that he was able to keep us in our offense, get us in the right play, because there's a lot of teams that go into those situations and just decide they're not going to check the play, they're just going to call a play and run it. And when you do that, you make it easier, but once the ball is snapped, it's not easier."

On the cohesion of the offensive line:

"We have a lot of guys who gained valuable experience a year ago. I think that's a critical issue. The fact that we've been able to avoid any, with the exception of Antonio Bass, nobody has suffered a season-ending injury. I think that's certainly been a part of it.

On the tough schedule Michigan has played thus far:

"I think I can go back to Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt has played an extremely difficult schedule, and they had quite an impressive win on Saturday. And I said at the time, I thought they're capable of playing with anybody. Central Michigan is undefeated in the Mid-American Conference. I think our schedule is as challenging as anybody could want. It continues to be so."

On the importance of the players on the demonstration teams:

"I think in any organization, you have a lot of role players. You have lot of people, particularly in this game, a lot of public recognition, particularly when they're young, or in a lot of cases, guys who just love to be a part of Michigan football, who love the competition. But if you have people who aren't willing to accept those roles then you're not going to have a good football team, because practice is where you get better on a daily basis. If you aren't getting better on a daily basis, then you're regressing. So the people who play on those demonstration teams are critical to your success. But the other side of that is, if you're a young player and you get to go down and compete against -- if you're a defensive linemen, you get to go down and practice against our offensive line every day, you have an opportunity to play against great competition and you can learn a lot. You can get better. If a guy is really interested in having an outstanding career, he goes into every practice with the attitude of, hey, I'm going to give it everything I've got today. I'm going to give those guys a good look. I'm going to practice hard. And in the process I do two things, I get better and I get prepared for next spring. I get prepared for that day when my time comes. And secondly, it makes our team better. We've had one bad practice since the season started in terms of game week preparation, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that we are getting great effort from those kids who play on the demonstration teams."

On Iowa quarterback Drew Tate:

"I think he's an outstanding quarterback. The thing that I love about him, he's a great competitor. He's tough. He's got wonderful athletic ability to go with a very good arm. He's been around, so he's smart. He is a guy that loves to win. He competes to win."

On the Indiana-Iowa game last week:

"I think one of the things that happened is that Iowa has had an inordinate amount of injuries. I expect a lot of those guys back, but I think going on the road in this conference is a difficult challenge. I can't pretend to know exactly what happened. I think Indiana stayed in the game and then at the end they found a way to win it."

On if he thinks that the Big Ten is down this season:

I was in a game Saturday night where I saw a heck of a football team."

On where Mike Hart ranks among Michigan backs in terms of pass protection:

"One of the things that it takes to play here, is you have to be able to play without the ball. To do that you have to possess two or three qualities; first, you have to be smart, because the pass protection part of the game is the most difficult. Secondly, you've really got to be tough, because I showed a tape, a clip, a video to our team a couple of weeks ago, I think it was against Minnesota, where Mike blocked a 265pound defensive end on one play and got underneath him and stopped him right where he was. The next clip was a play where he took on a 240 pound linebacker. So there's no easy way to protect the quarterback. And that's particularly true if you're a back, because they're coming from a distance of ten yards at times. He's smart, he's tough. He's competitive, and he loves that challenge. I think it's another way that he proves to his team that he wants to win."

On when he started recruiting Adrian Arrington:

"The first time I saw him. I think he came to our camp in the summer preceding his junior year. I think that's when he came. Maybe it was a year earlier, but I want to say it was before his junior year. I'm not clear on that, but we recruited him a long time. Because when he was in our camp, it was very obvious that he's a guy that we liked everything about him. Even at that age you could tell he was going to be a big guy and had great hands and could run. He's a smart guy."

On why he made an exception and took Arrington to Iowa last year:

"I think we were at a stage because of the number of injuries, we had an opportunity to take him, and I thought it would be good for his morale because he went through a very difficult injury situation. That's why I did it."

On Greg Mathews' play vs Penn State:

"Greg Mathews made a nice play. The play got called back, but he caught a ball on a stop route and got up the field for two or three extra yards, on a 7- or 8-yard play, caught the ball very cleanly and knew what to do with it. There was a play in there where Adrian caught a crossing route, it must have been in the second quarter, and made a good gain. Greg, as a matter of fact, he got a piece of two guys on the play. Greg was lined up to the right, Adrian caught the ball coming from left to right, and he ended up going all the way to the other sideline. And Greg made two good blocks and had some other good blocks in that game. I think playing in that environment does an unbelievable, positive thing for a young player."

On the players saying that they're more comfortable expressing themselves this year and if that has helped this team:

"I've always said, you never know what kind of leadership you're going to have on a team until you get into the season, because there's all kinds of challenges and it's about remaining focused on winning, on being the best you can be. I think these guys have elected two great captains. They're focused. A lot of times the guy gets into a leadership position and it's about telling people what to do. There is a point where that may be necessary, but I think the great leaders are people who show the way to do things, if you look at LaMarr's play, if you look at Jake's play, they send a message every day the way they practice, the way they approach games. I think as a group, this is obviously, it goes back, it doesn't happen overnight, it happens throughout the winter, the spring, the summer, that's really when you build that foundation. And that foundation is either firm and it holds and it supports the building or it cracks. When you have the best teams I've had, it has the best leaders."

On the Tigers making the World Series:

"I have not seen them play. I have seen some of the highlights. It's a great game. There's nothing quite like the World Series. To be playing in October. I knew we were going to win. A California team to be in the Midwest in October, and you get December weather, I knew it was over."

On when he found out the Tigers had won:

"You know, it's amazing, I was standing in our locker room just before the game. Before we left the hotel I heard a conversation, the guy said, well, we're behind 3-0. I thought the game was at 1:00. What time was the game? I looked at my watch. It was about 4:00, so I figured the game was over. But just before we took the field, you know, Jon Falk thinks he knows a lot about baseball. He was having a conversation with somebody and came back and said, 'They won the game.' It's great for the city."

On Jim Leyland:

"I really like Jim Leyland. I had an opportunity to spend an evening with him back in the spring of 1998. We did a TV program together in Detroit. He had won the World Series with Florida. He's been absolutely great."

On if he will talk to his players about the brawl between Miami and Florida International:

"I'm going to talk about that today. When you look at the landscape of college athletics, I was reading an article in a newspaper yesterday about the situation at Duke and the impact that it had on colleges and universities. With all the things on the Internet, all the issues out there, I think as coaches we're all trying to educate our players, because they don't in many cases understand the ramifications of something like face book. I mean, they don't. It's a hard lesson to learn when something is out there and all the world has an opportunity to see it and it's embarrassing. You think it's between you and one of your students or one of your teammates. So there are a lot issues out there. That's why college coaching is about trying to educate your players in ways to help them be successful and to avoid the pitfalls of things that will damage them in a lot of ways. Sometimes you're successful, sometimes you aren't. Sometimes guys don't pay attention. It's an ongoing battle."

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