Lloyd Carr Discusses Spring Practice

Lloyd Carr met with the media on Tuesday, to discuss the progress of the team during the spring. Read on for free, or listen to the complete press conference at <A HREF=""></A>.

On the quarterback situation:

John Navarre has got everything it takes. He's gotten better. He's going to be everything we want. We've got a battle there at number two. There's good competition, and we'll just have to see how it plays out. You know how that goes.

On the backup quarterbacks:

Spencer has been slowed some by shoulder problems. So he's missed some practice. I think he hurt it down at the bowl game a little bit. So he's starting to come back, and I think yesterday he played well. But Matt Gutierrez has got a good grasp at his age for what we're doing. He continues to improve. He's got a lot to learn, like any freshman, but he's really smart, he's got a good grasp. He understands the game.

On Navarre:

Well the thing that I know about Navarre is that he's got an excellent arm, he's extremely smart: from that standpoint, from a mental standpoint, he's like Griese and Brady. He can get you into the right play, he knows defenses, he understands coverage, he knows where to go with the football. And he knows how to get the ball to the check downs: to the backs, the receivers. So he's extremely smart. He's extremely tough. The thing that I see in him this spring is that he's taking charge. John has always been a quiet guy, and Griese was a quiet guy, so you don't have to be a loudmouth to be a great leader….what you're dealing with is a guy that has great confidence. I think he's got a very good team around him.

There's nothing that he needs to drastically improve on. I thought last year, he made a lot of plays. If you look at some of the games late in the season: moving in the pocket, is he going to have a great forty time? No. But neither did Brady, neither did Griese. What he does extremely well is he moves in the pocket, he pushes the pocket, he steps up, and he can throw the football. He's learned to reset his feet. So he's made tremendous strides, and that's what you want.

On the number two running back:

Well, David Underwood has had an outstanding spring. David has really stepped up. We've moved Darnell Hood to cornerback, which I think is going to be a great move for Darnell. I think it will be a great move for us. He's a guy that we recruited with the idea that we would look at him for a year, because he did want to be a tailback, and I think he could have been a good tailback. But there's an opportunity on defense for him. He's got a lot to learn. But I think the good news is that he saw that opportunity. So we didn't waste a spring. He's played all spring at cornerback. He's a great tackler. He's just got to learn all the fundamentals, his keys. But he's very athletic, and I think he's going to be an excellent corner here.

So our backup tailback situation there, with Darnell out of there, it's also hard to look at four guys or five guys. Alijah Bradley, a young kid out of De La Salle High School, the same school as Matt Gutierrez, hurt his ankle and is missing the whole spring. But he has great quickness, so we'll have to see what he does in the fall. But Pierre Rembert, the last couple of days has, I think, really taken some strides. So I think David (Underwood) has really taken a step. He's made some great runs out there. He knows where the holes are. He knows the protections better. He's catching the ball better. What he went through a year ago was tough on him. Because he fully expected to play more, but he hung in there, and I'm very pleased with where he is. And I think Pierre is going to get better.

On Timmy Bracken:

Tim, the last couple days has played better. He's been hurt a lot of the spring. I think he's missed one or two days. But he's been hobbled with a foot the last three or four days. And he had a slight concussion early, so he's really been hobbled. But he's in the mix there.

On mentioning Alijah Bradley as being in the mix:

This kid has just got something about him. He's got great quickness. With him missing the spring, it really hurts his development. So it's hard to really make an assessment on what he'll be able to do in the fall, because when we get to the fall, there aren't a lot of reps, and there isn't a lot of time to evaluate people. But we have seen enough that, I think there's a role for him. I think he has a role on special teams, because he's a tough little guy. He's not very big, but he's a tough guy and he can separate, so we'll just have to see there.

On the fullback position:

Well we moved Brian Thompson to fullback, and I'm really excited about – because what I see there is a young Aaron Shea. This kid is really athletic, and I think it's going to be a great move for our team. Kevin Dudley has made real improvement, and I think he feels comfortable where he is. He's a much improved this spring. So I feel very comfortable about our fullback position, because it was a concern. It's going to be difficult, because B.J. (Askew) did so many things. But I can tell you that I think Brian Thompson has a chance to be an outstanding fullback.

On the status of Sean Sanderson:

His status is – I held him out of spring practice because of academic issues.

On the linebackers:

Lawrence Reid had his best day. You go day by day – that's the deal. I see it as a microcosm of the season….you go three days a week and it's all intense practices. What you're looking for is a guy that can start and finish. A guy that can fight though the fatigue that comes, and it's right here: we're really banged up. There are very few guys out there that don't have some discomfort. A bad ankle, bad shoulder, bad hand, bad knee. That's the nature of it. But Lawrence Reid had an outstanding day yesterday. His best day of the spring. And David Harris shows real promise in there. And Pierre Woods: Pierre gets better every day.

On if the freshman safeties will be able to compete in the fall, or if the position is being locked down:

Well, I can't answer that. I think physically, there are a lot of guys capable of competing. But it comes down to how quickly they can grasp what we're doing, and be able to play in a way that they can be successful. You've got to be in the right place at the right time, because if you aren't on defense, you give up big plays. If you aren't on offense you give up big plays. If a receiver runs a wrong route, the quarterback throws an interception or he gets sacked. So defensively, if a guy lines up wrong, and you leave a weak spot over here, it costs you a touchdown. So I can't answer that. We'll find out. The second issue for any freshman is conditioning. This is a game of stamina from a standpoint that the pace is extremely fast. The pace is too much for some guys who walk in here. Because the speed of the game and the strength of the players. These other guys have been through it, so some guys just hit a wall. But physically, we have some guys that are capable of competing.

On how the defensive backs have adapted to Ron English:

I know this: I really like him. He's an outstanding coach. You don't have to be around very long to know that. He brings a real knowledge, a real intensity. He pays attention to detail, and I think our players would say the same thing. Although, you would have to ask them. I do not want to speak for someone else.

On if there are any other position changes:

Willis Barringer (moved to safety). He came in, in the fall, and played corner. He's made a move. Willis Barringer has had a great spring. For a young freshman, I'm very very pleased with where he is.

On the adjustment of moving to linebacker for Pierre Woods:

Well, he's playing on his feet, as opposed to putting his hand on the ground. I think where he's really improved is with his alignments. If you're supposed to line up on the guard – if you line up stacked on the nose guard, you're defeated before you start. So it all begins with knowing where to line up, and then your keys, and then there's adjustments….all those things. And I think we were talking yesterday, it's much more difficult to play defense in today's football than it's ever been. Because of all of the formations, it puts a real stress on your players, particularly your young players. Because of the experience they have….But Pierre, what I like about him, is these last couple days he's been playing much lower….Pierre has a knack for getting to the football, and I like where he is right now.

On Mignery and Massaquoi at tight end:

Well I think Andy Mignery has really shown a lot of toughness, because he's been hobbled with an ankle here the last three or four days. But he just keeps fighting and playing through it, which is what you like. Tim Massaquoi missed all of our winter conditioning with surgery. He's done a good job, but he's not where he needs to be.

On the other tight ends:

Kevin Murphy, a true freshman missed a lot. Missed training camp last fall. He had some injury problems. Really didn't get to practice until about mid-way through, but he's having a good spring. David Spytek is there….Tyler (Ecker) will be back here on May 1st. Jimmy Fisher is out with knee surgery. Jim has been a very good blocker, so you miss having him in there, and Ecker. So right now, we don't have the depth in there that we'll have in the fall.

On the freshman receivers:

Well Avant, Avant we just love. Because Avant is an all out, all the time – he's a pure football player. He's a great blocker. He's a tenacious competitor. And he's having a very very good spring. He'll catch the ball over the middle. He's smart. He can play any of those positions: that makes him extremely valuable in just that fact. Because we have four wide receiver sets, and a lot of our offense is three wide receivers and one back. So the more a guy knows, the more valuable he is. Avant – I like him. I like him a lot.

Carl Tabb has caught every ball we've thrown him this spring. He's got a lot to learn like all of them. But he runs well. He's made some great catches over the middle of the formation, where's gotten hit. So Carl's on the move, and Carl's a smart guy. But there's a lot of things he needs to learn. But he's going to be a very good player. Steve Breaston unfortunately has been hampered all spring with a pulled hamstring. We're holding him this week. I'm hoping that he can practice next week. But he's really been hampered. He's had some days in there where he's fought through it. Breaston is an exciting football player. He gets the football, he'll make something happen.

On if missing time in the spring hurts Breaston's development as a punt returner too:

Anytime you're not there as a freshman, it's negative. He'll be fine, but yeah, we'd love to have him out there. Because every time you get a snap, you learn something.

On the offensive line:

Well I'll tell you what: we're going to have a line. We're going to have a line. A Michigan line. David Baas, what I like about Bass is he's better. He's better today than he was nine practices ago. Leo Henige and Matt Lentz are battling at right guard, and there's very good competition there. Stenavich has had an exceptionally good spring. He's gotten better, and you've got Pape there. We're rotating a lot of players at the guard and center positions, and I'll know a lot more in five days. Courtney Morgan working at guard. Christopfel at center, but I think he may be a better guard. Ruben Riley, we may end up moving to tackle, but Ruben is very talented….Demeterius is playing in there at tackle, and Demeterius Solomon has improved. Pearson is having a good spring. Pearson has proved to be a very good football player. Bihl is battling hard, and we'll have to go into training camp to see who wins that job at center. But Bihl has really had a good spring. What we're working on is our depth. It's a physical, it's a strong, powerful, physical line.

On Jeff Zuttah's situation:

I'll have an announcement on that in a few days.

On Gabe Watson:

I think he's much better, because he knows – he's had a lot of repetitions. He hasn't missed a practice. Like I've said, we've had a very physical spring. He and Larry Harrison have gotten a million snaps. They were better yesterday than they were the day before….for guys that size, what they have to get used to – this is what happens, if you're a guy that size, and you're that strong – and he's extremely strong, and so is Larry, as they get stronger, the people that are blocking them don't wear them down as much. So it's not as much conditioning, as it is the stamina to be able to play.

On Braylon Edwards' injury:

Braylon was back yesterday. He was hurt last Thursday. Sprained his ankle maybe a week ago. He's missed about a week. Until he did hurt his ankle, he's faster and bigger, and he knows more. I think he's improved.

On Edwards switching numbers (to #1):

Well, I got a deal with Edwards, which I won't go into. But he wanted to wear that number. To me, that number signifies that you will play with certain characteristics. And Braylon, when we recruited him he wanted it. So I told him, he can earn it. So he's earned the opportunity to wear it.

On the other wide receivers:

Tyrece has had a good spring. Germaine has excellent hands, and I think he's had a good spring. He hurt his ankle early, I think on the first day, so he's not a full speed. But he's done some good things in there as well. And Calvin Bell has had the best spring since he's been here. He's caught the ball extremely well. And yesterday, he blocked like he's capable of blocking. We've got some depth at receiver. We've got some guys that can make some plays.

On if Avant's experience from last year gives him an edge:

Well, I don't look at those guys being one or two, because I know they're going to play. But Avant certainly, the experience of already being in game competition – I think just as importantly, he was in every game plan. He had to prepare like he was a starter. And when you're being redshirted, you don't have the same focus. You don't have the same concentration, and so you don't learn as much. So I think the fact that he played a year ago certainly helps his confidence. He knows what to do, and like I said, he got a great competitive spirit about him, which I really like.

On Jeremy LeSueur:

Well, I think every guy matures differently. I think any time you have an injury like he had, it's a major setback. I mean, you're away from home, you've got the academic challenge, and you just don't feel a part….the other difficult thing that Jeremy had to learn was, he had to learn to play within a concept. He's a very competitive guy. He looks at a receiver and says ‘okay, my job is to cover him.' Well, it may be in certain coverages, but there's other things you've got to learn if you're playing zone coverages. It's not just a one on one game, and I think that's what he has learned. He's learned to play hard every down. Most guys have to learn that. It's all a process, I think at every position.

On if he would prefer a normal practice format, rather than a Spring Game:

No, I wouldn't rather it be just a regular practice. Because I think, first of all, the players really look forward to playing in a game. They would much rather have a situation where you get a game atmosphere. Where there's people in the stands; their families, their friends get to watch. That's why you practice. So you can play a game. From a coaching standpoint, I love the Spring Game, because any time you can play in front of a good size crowd, it's game experience. Even if it's 25 plays. I want to see how Matt Gutierrez plays in front of a good crowd. I want to see how Carl Tabb plays. I want to see how Jacob Stewart plays in front of a crowd. So I think those are the things you gain from it. You gain a lot more than you lose. But I do think, there's been enough guys in the last few years that have been injured in that practice, that it's difficult. Because if you lose a guy that late to a knee injury for example, or a shoulder injury, it really makes it difficult for them to come back in the fall. Because you lose all the summer conditioning, the weight lifting, and you just have to start all over again. It's a dilemma, but I like it personally.

On the starting offensive line:

If we started tomorrow, Stenavich would be at left tackle, and Baas would be at left guard. Pearson would be at center. What I like about the thing at right guard is, both those guys are going to be good players, but Leo Henige has really made some strides. The thing about Baas is, when you see Baas, he's a great athlete. When he pulls, he's not just a guy that knock you off the ball if you line up across from him. He can pull, and he's agile, and can get up into the small seems and finds a linebacker. And Henige is a guy that's got excellent movement. He got a late start coming in here, so he started to come on the last half of last fall, and he is really competing. And you've got Pape at right tackle.

On how the team has looked in the spring:

The thing about spring, as a coach, you're never happy. Because you're playing against each other. If you like something here, then you don't like it right over there. I mean, that's just the way it is. Because if you're running the football, if David Underwood is making some great runs, then somewhere, you're not playing as well. I do say this: we're going to have, if we stay healthy, if we continue to work, if we stay focused, we're going to have a good offensive football team. I'll tell you that. And it starts with an outstanding quarterback, who can do everything you need him to do. I think Chris Perry is getting better. I think he's confident. So we're going to have a good offensive football team. What we've got to find out is; we're missing Diggs, we're missing Norman Heuer. So maybe if they were playing, we wouldn't be running through there. Maybe we're not as good on offense as I think we can be. You're playing against yourself every day. What I've learned is: don't get too excited, and don't get too disappointed.

On if he would like to see the ‘Block M' return to the center of the field:

Yes I would.

To hear the complete press conference, with added tidbits on the field, on tackling, and the Spring Game, follow the link to's free recording.

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