Monday Presser Notes: Coach Carr on OSU

In Monday's presser Coach Carr talked about the significance of this game, injuries, the factors that make Ohio State so good. (A link to comments by the players is also included).

For comments by the players, click here.

Opening Statement:

“I thought last Saturday was the best performance I can recall that we’ve had coming off of a bye week. I thought we played with very good intensity. I thought our execution was good. I was disappointed that we had two touchdowns called back because of penalties. Certainly that we allowed that kickoff to go back into our own territory in the first quarter, which eventually led to a field goal, is something that we need to get corrected. We’re excited about hosting a great Ohio State team and the renewal of the greatest rivalry in college football.”

On the significance of this being the 100th meeting:

“Well I think that when you have a game that means as much as this one does to so many people…a game that down through history has included so many great players, so many great coaches, so many great and memorable games that had so much impact on the tradition of college football…all of the games that came down to the Rose Bowl and in some cases the National Championship…I think any time you have an opportunity to participate in that type of rivalry, it’s very very special. I think all of us understand that. I think it means a great deal to every guy that participates in it.”

On the Big Ten Title being on the line:

“I think that always adds to it. In my experience it seems like almost every year somebody has got the championship on the line. In many cases both teams do. Certainly when both teams have a lot at stake it adds to it. But I think that it’s one of those games that has great meaning regardless of what’s at stake.”

On past games in the series:

“The thing I try to tell our players is there’s going to be tremendous discussion about all of the games that have so much meaning. But the truth is the only Michigan Ohio State game that is important is the next one. I’ve assigned Bo to come over answer all of your questions about the tradition and the history of it. I had some great memories and I’ve had some moments where things didn’t go our way. Of course those are the most difficult. It’s just exciting to be a part of another one and it’s something that we all look forward to.”

On Ohio State:

“I think the game will be a great match up. When I look at the Ohio State defense, I see an experienced veteran group that’s very talented and very well coached. When I look at all of their statistics, the stat that stands out the most is 50 yards a game rushing. I think that has to be one of the best in modern football history at the college level. Obviously a great defensive football team. But what adds to the problem and what really I think is one of the key factors in this great Ohio State team is they have what may be the two best kickers in college football. Looking at the Purdue game it’s easy to play to your defense, but it’s much easier when you have great field position. In the Purdue game, Ohio State was forced to punt 10 times. Seven of those times it was downed inside the 20-yard line. Five of those seven times it was downed inside the 10. So if you put a great offense inside the ten-yard line against a great defense you’re going to have a very very difficult time. “

“Ohio State, offensively, is very opportunistic and it’s improving. I think they’ve had a lot of injuries down throughout the course of the season. I think they’re playing very very well right now.”

On Chris Perry:

"Chris Perry is a great football player because he's not a one-dimensional guy, he's not a guy who's only going to play when he gets the football. He's a devastating pass protector, he's an outstanding pass receiver, and he's a guy that has great vision, he has great feet, and he's strong and he's powerful and he's passionate. He loves the game, and that's what makes him so much fun to coach."

On how Michigan will attack a great run defense like OSU:

"I think we're probably going to have to throw every down (laughing). You'll probably see us with no backs in the backfield and just throwing. That's the problem, and that's what it comes down to. That's the fun of the game, trying to find out a way to win and a way to offensively have some success."
On Craig Krenzel:

"When I look at quarterbacks, the thing I look for is intelligence and toughness first. From a throwing standpoint, you like a guy with a strong arm, a guy that's accurate. I think Krenzel is a great decision-maker. He doesn't make many mistakes. He plays within himself, he plays within the offense, and so he doesn't make any mistakes. Anytime you have a guy back there that understands the essence of the game is winning, it's not about statistics, it's not about how many passes you complete or how many touchdown passes you throw, it's about winning. I think that's what I like about him."

On Grant Bowman:

"In high school he played linebacker. He did not have the speed to be a linebacker at Michigan. But I liked his toughness, I liked his tremendous competitor, and as I met him and I got to talk with him, it was very obvious to me that Bowman is a kid of great character, very intelligent, and I just felt like he would have a great place in our program. I can't tell you that I would have guessed that he would have become the outstanding football player, because when you look at Bowman physically, he's not the most impressive guy from a stature standpoint at that position. But he's got a heart. He's got a heart as big as this room and he's had a great career at Michigan. He has played through injuries that would have ended my career; if I'd had those injuries I would have quit. So Bowman's the real deal."

On Tony Pape

"Tony had an opportunity, like a lot of good football players, to play as a young player. He's a three-year starter, and as a sophomore it was obvious when he came here that he was one of those guys that was going to have a great career. He got an opportunity to start as a sophomore; I think he's gotten better and better. He's very smart, very tough, and what you see is a big, happy-go-lucky type of guy, easy-going, but I can assure you that the game is important to Tony. He takes great pride in his performance, likes to win, he's a team-oriented guy, and he's had a great career here. And he's not through playing."

On the the matchup between Pape and Smith:

"Well, they move Smith around. I think one of the problems they give you is they give you a lot of fronts and a lot of stunts, a lot of pressure, and anybody that's going to block Will Smith or Darrion Scott or any of them is going to have their hands full. But certainly Smith is truly a great football player. He's not just one of those guys that can rush the passer. He's great against the run, he's a great athlete. They drop him out into coverage a lot. I think they do a great job using his talents, but certainly he's a great football player and he's going to present a tough match on any Saturday."

On how OSU continues to in games:

"When you have a great kicking game and you have a great defense, you're going to be in every game. When you add the fact that they have an outstanding offensive line, a veteran group, those guys have been starting forever. It would be nice to see some of them leave. And they have a quarterback that knows what he's doing, when they empty the backfield, they've got people that can threaten you deep, the receivers are talented. So in this game, I don't care what game it is, basketball, football, when you can play great defense, you're going to be in every game. That's why they're good. They don't make mistakes offensively, they don't turn the football over."

On if OSU has a weakness:

"I don't think there's anybody out there that doesn't have a weakness. Me included (laughing). So the deal is, we've all got weaknesses, and that's what you're trying to look to exploit. That's one of the real challenges and one of the fun aspects of coaching."

On Ernest Shazor saying Michigan had the best secondary in the nation after the previous game:

"I like guys that have confidence, but by the same token the important thing is to be remembered for what you did. I told them yesterday, if you think you're the best, you'd better play like the best."

On injuries:

"Pierre (Woods) came out one play, but he's fine, he went back in. Jacob Stewart is very questionable. We'll have to see tomorrow, but my feeling is he won't be back. I'm sure he'll be back for anything following this game. But Marlin (Jackson), our plan and our hope was that he could get 15 or 20 snaps in there on Saturday, which he did. I think he's ready to play a much more expanded role. He's healthy and he's excited to go."

On describing his feelings about this game:

"I'm not very good at describing my emotions. That's a little bit deep-seated for me (laughing). But I can tell you that it's exciting, I can tell you that there's nothing quite like the colors, the noise, the bands, the crowds. Looking into the eyes of your players, knowing all the preparation, all the goals and all of the hard work and effort that they have put into the season and now they get an opportunity to play in the greatest game. There's nothing the coaches, the guys across the field that you're coaching against, knowing that they want to win every bit as bad as you do, and that the team across the field they want to win as bad as you do. There's nothing quite like it."

On if this game will define John Navarre’s legacy:

"I don't think there's any game that defines any football player as a person. Your character defines you as a person. As a football team, you're going to leave a legacy, but in terms of how it defines you, I read that all the time, I think it's funny. What defines you is your character. I think both teams have people of outstanding character. Somebody's going to win and somebody's going to lose. Somebody's going to leave a legacy that they're excited about and somebody is going to have to deal with the other side of that coin, but that's what sport is all about."

On Lamarr Woodley:

"LaMarr has made an outstanding contribution and I would say I'm very surprised at the significance of his contribution because at that position it's very rare for an 18-year-old kid to walk in and have the impact he's had. With that said, he's still got a long way to go, he's got a lot of things he can improve on, but he's done a great job on special teams. He's made some big plays and his future is very bright."

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