“We are beginning the last week of our training camp. We have got Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Our last 2 a day will be tomorrow, and we still have some decisions to make and that will probably play out through the weekend and then we will make some decisions and get into game week.”
Question: Can you over some positions that you were looking at; right tackle, kicker, kicker return, maybe talk about that is shaping up?
Coach Carr: “I think at write tackle Steve Schilling has had an excellent fall. He is an extremely talented guy, great size and athletic ability… a guy that is smart and loves to play. I think that he will be a great player here someday. I think Mark Ortmann has done a very good job and has competed well. Perry Dorrestein. It is just too close to call at this point. The kicking situation is pretty much the same. I think that Bryan Wright looks to be our kick off guy. He has done a very good job there. The place kicking has been very competitive. They have all done a good job, and I think we have 3 guys that are very close so that will necessitate a call here, and we will have confidence in whoever we choose.”
Question: Have there been any severe injuries that would keep guys out for a significant period of time.
Coach Carr: “We have got some typical training camp injuries, mostly sprained ankles and things of that nature. Alex Mitchell had an injury Monday in practice, yesterday morning. He will miss the 1st game, possibly the 2nd, but we hope to have him back. It is not an injury that is going to impact a season, but he does have some rehab to do to the injury that he got yesterday.
Question: Do you have any idea when Carlos Brown will be back?
Coach Carr: “Carlos is still in a cast. He has not practiced since his injury. He has also had three teeth removed… two wisdom teeth, I think. So he has not had a very fun training camp, but I think the worst is over for him. Hopefully he will be able to return to practice next week. We will just have to see”.
Question: Carson Butler, is he back on the team and practicing?
Coach Carr: “He has returned to practice. What he is trying to do is do some things that he has been asked to do and so we will see how that works out, but he is practicing.
Question: How is the tight end position shaping up otherwise?
Coach Carr: “Mike Massey has had an excellent fall. He is a guy that I think has really matured physically. He runs extremely well, has good hands. He has won the starting tight end position. Andre Criswell has very good fall, a week ago turned his ankle and so he has missed a few days. He is back in practice, but he has done a very good job there. Martell Webb and Steve Watson, 2 freshmen, are trying to learning system. But both of them have competed very well and made some progress and we will have to see how that situation develops.”
Question: Is Ciulla in for Mitchell?
Coach Carr: “Ciulla missed a week in there. He returned to practice on Monday and it is very competitive. Dave Molk, a true freshman, worked at center the first week or so. He is working at guard now. He is a very, very talented guy and it is pretty unusual for a freshman to come in and really pick up all the things that they need to. He is a bright guy. He is strong, powerful guy, very athletic. He has made an impression there, but Ciulla certainly is there. Tim McAvoy has had a very good fall. We will have to see how that goes.”
Question: How is the fullback situation shaping up?
Coach Carr: “The fullback competition is very intense. Mark Moundros has had a very good fall. Vince Helmuth is competing well. I think that will go right down to the wire there as far as the fullback position.”
Question: Can you talk about what thought process regarding bringing Carson Butler back?
Coach Carr: “Well, I think with Carson there was an allegation, the judicial process played out, and he was found not guilty of a serious allegation. Because of that I just felt that it would be extremely unfair not to give him another opportunity. “
Question: How has Jonas Mouton been doing in camp?
Coach Carr: “Jonas has had a very good fall. He was hurt on Saturday, ankle sprain. He will hopefully return to practice later in the week or certainly by game week. It is just one of those things where he needs to rehab it and get it ready to go. But he has had a very, very good fall.”
Question: How is the middle linebacker position shaping up?
Coach Carr: “The MIKE linebacker position, John Thompson or Obi Ezeh, those two guys are really spirited in competition. I think it is safe to say that both of them are going to play a very important role. Ezeh is a young player, who in high school played a lot of different positions. Last spring, we played Obi at the SAM linebacker position, which I think gives us flexibility at that position. He is an outstanding athlete and really a guy with great potential. John has really had an excellent fall, so I think that both of them are going to see significant playing time. We will just have to let that position play itself out.”
Question: You didn’t mention Austin Panter’s name in the mix at middle linebacker. Would you consider moving him outside?
Coach Carr: “I do not think that we will do that right now, but certainly it is a possibility.”
Question: How has Chris Graham performed this fall?
Coach Carr: “Chris has had an excellent fall. He has had a lot of experience. He has had a lot of successful in his career here. He has been slowed at times by injuries, but he is a powerful guy. He has really improved as a pass defender, but he is tough, and he plays with a lot of enthusiasm and guy that is really well respected on our team.”
Question: Have you held some of the established guys back in the fall like you did in the spring?
Coach Carr: “We have had some full scrimmages, and we have held a couple of guys out of that. First of all if a guy has proven that he is an outstanding player then it makes sense today with the scholarships where they are, that you try to get them through the season. That does not mean that they have not practiced during a lot of intense drills because they have. But we have held a couple of guys out the full scrimmages.”
Question: If you had to play tomorrow, who would the top three corners?
Coach Carr: “Johnny Sears has had an outstanding fall. He is a guy that really played a significant role on some of our special teams. He made some great plays on the kick off. He is a guy that plays without any fear. He is a very, very tough hardnosed player, and I think that he has really matured as a corner. He has had a very good fall. I think Brandon Harrison has had an excellent fall, and he has in the last week or so made some strides at the cornerback position. Of course, he was a starter a year ago in our nickel back situation, so I think that the experience that he had a year ago has helped him. He has I think made some real strides. Troy Woolfolk and Donovan Warren will both play. I think they are young guys with very, very good ability and Donovan is a guy that is extremely aggressive, a good tackler and a guy that plays without fear. I mean as a true freshman, I think the thing that I look for is a guy that is not intimated by the speed, by all the things that they are too learn. Sometimes that really delays a guy because he is thinking too much and in my experience the guys who have been able to come in and play important roles as a freshman, are guys that do not get down when they make a big mistake. They understand that making a mistake is part of the learning process. So I think both of those kids have done an excellent job.”
Question: What about Morgan Trent?
Coach Carr: Morgan will be one of the starting corners. He has had a very good fall. I think that Vance is very pleased with where he is. I think the big thing with Morgan is that he has all the ability. He, I think, is one of those kids that has worked at his career. He understands, like every player does, that it is about getting better. It is about preparing yourself mentally for all of the challenges. Of course the older you are the better prepared you are to do that, and I think he has done a good job.”
Coach Carr: “I think Steve Brown is really a physical player. He is still a young player. He still has a lot of things to learn. Charles Stewart has I think made the move in there. I like both of those guys. I think both of them are going to play. I think they are both guys that are going to make a real contribution in a lot of areas on this team. I think that position right now is probably up for grabs, so we will see what happens here.”
Question: Who is your punt returner right now and who is doing kick offs?
Coach Carr: “Johnny Sears has done an excellent job catching punts. We practiced yesterday morning in the stadium in a torrential rain. It was a very valuable practice from the standpoint of learning how you have to play different when the ball is wet and that is particularly true in the kicking game and as a receiver, as a punt returner, kick off returner and a QB certainly, center. Also, I think we learned some things yesterday, but Johnny I think with 3 or 4 days to go here has done an excellent job. Greg Mathews is a very reliable guy in terms of handling the football and really that is what a return guy has to prove. He has got to prove that he is reliable and making good decisions on whether or not he is going to fair catch it, whether or not he is going to field the ball inside the 10 yard line, or all those kicks that are short where you have to come up and fair catch it. There are a lot of decisions to make and Donovan Warren has caught the ball extremely well. James Rogers I think at some point will develop into an outstanding punt returner. We will determine that later in the week.”
Question: Kick returners?
Coach Carr: “I think Brandon Minor is a guy that we have to decide how to use Brandon on kickoff return with Carlos out right now. That really becomes an issue from a depth standpoint at tailback. Avery Horn has got some looks there and is a pretty explosive guy. He missed a week or so of training camp because of some clearinghouse issues, which I think really set him back some, but I think we are not decided there where we are going to be.”
Question: How has Marques Slocum been coming along?
Coach Carr: “I think all of our back up guys on the defense line are freshman or are guys that are redshirt freshman or sophomores. Jason Kates has shown real improvement. He has got his weight down, and he is improving every day. John Ferrara, Greg Banks, all those kids… and Slocum has got an opportunity to play for the first time. He has got a lot of work to do, but he has wonderful athletic ability, and I think he has made some real strides from where we were when we started. I think that he certainly will have an opportunity to get some playing time.”
Question: What has been the biggest surprise of the camp?
Coach Carr: “When I look at what we have done through yesterday, now you have to take it to the game. But I think defensively we have made a lot of strides from where we were when we started spring practice. I think that we are a better team today, and I think we are going to have a team that is going to play with a lot of energy, enthusiasm. We got a lot of young guys out there and the question will be how we stop the run and prevent big plays. I think that is the test of every defense and certainly with as many new players as we have and as many different types of schemes that young players are presented defensively with, a different type of scheme almost every week. So how they adjust to that and how they grow I think is a big question, and I think certainly in the kicking game we have got some unknowns. The return game, we just have to see how some of these kids that are getting an opportunity to play for the first time respond to the pressure of game competition.
Question: How was Brandon Graham’s fall?
Coach Carr: “Brandon missed last week with a sprained ankle. But he was having an outstanding spring, and he is back practicing. He is not full speed, but he hopefully by Monday will be ready to go.”
Coach Carr: “I would like to say, I know you have heard me say the honor
of being selected by your teammates as a captain is the greatest honor a Michigan
football player can receive, and I think that are team really made three great
choices here. These guys have all proven themselves as outstanding football
players. They have always represented our program, our team, and the university
extremely well and they are all guys that are very passionate and very much
team guys. They just want to win and that really I think says a lot about our
team. They want to win and that is what they based their decisions on.”