Post Game Presser Transcript (Coach Carr)

Comments from Coach Lloyd Carr after Saturday's 45-7 win.

Opening remarks:

"I think it's the typical first game. I think that when we look at this game tonight that we'll find some very good things and we'll certainly find some things that we need to improve on. I've always been a believer in the old cliche' that you have the chance to improve the most between the first and second games than at any other time during the season. So, hopefully we'll show some improvement next week. I thought that both teams ran the ball very very well. I am very pleased with the way we ran it. Our backs did a good job and we were blocking the right people. But, their (Central Michigan's) ability to run the ball was certainly disappointing. Some of that has to do with the fact that Central Michigan is a very difficult team to defend because they force you into simplistic defenses. You don't have an opportunity to do a lot of things because you only have a short time to get the play called. When you get lined up they then have 25 more seconds to check and get into the right play."

"I thought that we were very fortunate in the first quarter. On our first touchdown we got a deflection off of a deep ball that was caught by Steve Breaston on a heads up play. Then, Central hurt themselves with a turnover. I thought that the first half was pretty evenly played. We helped them because we dropped too many passes. In that game we probably dropped three passes that could have gone for touchdowns. So, I'm not very pleased with that part of it. We did have a number of young guys that did get an opportunity to play. I think that will help them in their development."

You mentioned tackling as being a point of emphasis this off-season. How much would you attribute their success rushing the ball to poor tackling?

"I think that more than anything else it's a combination of things. I thought we did a good job of eliminating big plays although part of that is Central didn't try a lot of them. They were very patient. I've got to look at the film. In our defense the linebackers have to fill downhill. They've got to be getting into the line of scrimmage. That forces one of the linemen on those combination blocks between the guard and the center or the guard and the tackle to come off the down linemen to block the linebacker. But, when no linebacker shows up then they have what really amounts to a double team. So I think it's a combination of times not having guys filling and at times they controlled the line of scrimmage on us. I'm not ready to make a comment on that because until I see the film I'm not going to know, but we've obviously got some work to do there."

Can you evaluate how Steve Breaston did in his first game?

"I think our punt return team did an excellent job in setting up some of our returns and I think that Steve Breaston showed you that he's going to be an exciting player. He's got great speed. For a guy going back there for the first time on punt returns, I'm very pleased with what he did today. I think that of all the freshmen, he's the redshirt freshmen that stands out."

How about Jeremy Van Alstyne?

"Jeremy is a very very active, tough, hard nosed football player. He's only going to get better and better. He's going to play an important role in this team."

How do you think the secondary did today?

"Again, until I look at the film I'm not going to make any judgments. Sometimes when I do react to something I think I see, it didn't really happen that way. So I don't want to get into that until I've seen the film."

How big was it for you to you guys to come right back with a touchdown right after they scored early in the second half?

"I think that was really the turning point. We answered, what was really for them, a change in the momentum of the game. They're down 17-0 and we come back out with great kickoff coverage. I think we made them start out on the 9 yard line. Then they go 91 yards. It was hot down on that field. I want you to know that. Even though the temperature out there was not very high, it was extremely hot. I was very concerned at that point about our defense because we got a few guys nicked up. But, our ability to come out there and answer with the next drive offensively was the key to the game."

Are you concerned with your inability to convert on some of your offensive opportunities in the first half?

"I would be much more concerned if they were stopping us. But when you drop touchdown passes, that's correctable. It just means that you've got to throw it to somebody else. We didn't do a good job catching the football in several instances. Part of that is it was the first game. But, we've got enough competition at the wide receiver position that you need to catch the football."

Do you think the turf gave you guys an offensive advantage today?

"I think that turf helps all of the skills on both sides. I think it helps every player on both teams. I think the footing is going to be much better. We're going to face much better defenses. My hat goes off to Central Michigan. They played hard and there's no quit in that team. They're going to be a much improved football team record wise. But we're heading into some games where we're going to see much stouter defenses, so the test for our offense is ahead of us."

Garret Rivas was kicking in the second half. Will he be the starter now?

"I want to give him a chance. Those are two field goals that I would expect Adam to make. So, we'll continue to look at them in practice. Garret did a god job in there. Getting ANY freshman game experience is valuable, no matter if it's just an extra point. There are things that now he doesn't have to worry about."

Are you concerned about the kicking game?

"Concerned? No, I think we'll be good."

Braylon was successful coming off of the bench today. Will that be a permanent move?

"Braylon Edwards and I are not on the same page. Braylon is a great reader, but what he needs to do, is find what page I'm on and get there."

Can you elaborate on that?

"No, that is all that I am going to say."

What's going on with Ernest Shazor?

"He will be back next week. We could have used him in there today, but he will be back and will be ready to go."

On the performance of the running backs:

"I know this about Chris Perry, he is a complete football player, he's in great shape and that is #1. I think that I have said this, I like a guy that will play when he doesn't have the football. I like a receiver that will play and will block for his running back when he is not getting the football. And I like a tailback that will protect the quarterback so the receivers can catch the ball, and I like a back that can catch the football. Chris Perry can do all of that. He's been around, he's been in the big games, he's got great confidence right now, and I fully expect him to have a great year."

"I think that David Underewood got some really valuable snaps today and I think that he'll get better. The competition is definitely going to get stiffer in terms of the defenses. I will say that it's hard to gang up on our offense. We do have enough in terms of passing game and screens and certain things, that if they bring too many people up there to stop the run, that they can pay."

On trying a number of punt returners:

"Markus has proven that he's a good punt returner. I think Steve obviously is a guy that has the talent to make some big plays. At the end I was disappointed that we didn't get Jason Avant in on that last punt. Any time you can get a new guy at a position is good, so that's what we were trying to do."

You said this spring that you felt that kicking wasn't going to be an issue.

"Well surprise suprise..I was wrong. (laughing). On the second one (field goal), I think it was 41 yards and I think Adam tried to kick it too hard. In the second half I wanted to get a good look at Garret and I was hoping that we would. I hope we can get him one (a field goal attempt) next week. He has kicked well and he's going to be fine."

How was it going against your friend Mike DeBord?

"You know, that's no fun. For us, it's a no win. I think we did take some positive things out of here. But like I told you, Mike Debord is a special guy in my life. I think that he can be very proud that his guys fought hard. When they put that drive together over there, the thought went through my mind that I knew Debord would have them competing, and he did."

On some of his coaching friends:

"Jim Wacker is one of the great people that I've met in coaching. He grew up here. I heard a lot about him when I was growing up. He went to Lutheran West High School. He was an excellent coach down in the southwest in Texas and then he ended up at Minnesota. He passed away this week from cancer. I just want to say to his family and to all of the people in Detroit that were part of his family what a great man and what a great representative of college football he was. We'll miss him. He had a genuine love for the game that, in my opinion, will not be forgotten."

"I also have a coach down in Riverview that has meant everything in my life. He taught me a lot of the things that have been so important in my life. His name is Pat Agney and he's been battling cancer. He couldn't be here today, but coach, I wanted you to know that I was thinking about you."

"Finally, I want to congratulate Brady Hoke on his first win. I know that there will be a lot more and I'm delighted for him."

 


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