Carr Talks Spring Ball

Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr addressed the media today to answer questions about Spring Practice (which starts Saturday). He updated the injury situation and discussed players that are looking good heading into drills. Some of those mentioned were, <strong>Matt Gutierrez</strong>, <strong>Clayton Richard</strong>, <strong>Jake Long</strong>, <strong>Will Paul</strong>, <strong>Jim Presley</strong>, <strong>Mark Bihl</strong> and more.

Four players will miss spring drills to injury. They are LB David Harris (ACL), QB Spencer Brinton (shoulder), QB Jeff Kastl, and CB Leon Hall (shoulder). Brinton may become available at some point during the spring, but right now it looks like Matt Gutierrez and Clayton Richard will see the lion-share of the snaps over the next few weeks. While the job has not been given to Gutierrez as of yet, Carr did acknowledge that the California native has the advantage of the experience he acquired last year. Exactly how much separates these two QB’s is something that will be looked at this spring. “We’ll have a lot better feel about that once the spring is over,” Carr said referring to how far Richard might be behind Gutierrez. “If you count all the (practice) repetitions Matt has had along with the game repetitions that he got, he gained invaluable experience. Each week he had to prepare as if he were going to be the starter. Clayton hopefully did the same thing, but he knew that unless there was an emergency he wasn’t going to be playing…and there’s a big difference in the way you concentrate. But what we did see of Clayton was very positive. We’ll just have to see. He’s a very very bright guy and he’s very competitive. I think he’s very very intense, has a tremendous work ethic, and he’s a guy that’s very passionate about being the quarterback. He comes from a high school that was very intense. He has outstanding leadership qualities. They didn’t lose a game while he was the quarterback. He’s also very tough and has good mobility, so he can make things happen when things break down. “

Some of the most heated competition of the spring will be for the right tackle position. As we indicated in yesterday’s Spring Offensive Preview, Jake Long has made huge impression and just might be the guy that earns that spot. “I think Jake Long has the chance to someday be a really special tackle. He’s 331 pounds, very athletic, very stout, and very competitive, so it will be interesting to watch him. I think it’s just a matter of time.” Mike Kolodiej and Ruben Riley were also mentioned as players that will challenge for that spot. On the other side, Adam Stenavich “is going to have to fight off guys that want his job.”

On defense Lamarr Woodley and Marlin Jackson were mentioned prominently. Carr mused once again about how good Woodley really could become. “Lamarr Woodley had a very very good winter,” Carr said. “He has the ability to be a great player. I like everything about him. His work ethic has been good. As a true freshman he did some things that give every indication that he’s going to be one heck of a football player.” Jackson was singled out for his selflessness in making the move to safety last year, but Carr said that he’s very happy to be making the move back to corner.

On a different note, Carr expressed no dissatisfaction with replay being instituted next year. His reservations surrounded the cost of a system that may have been modeled after the NFL’s version of replay. However, Carr said the system that will utilized is different. “Coaches don’t have any control over plays that are overturned. All of that is done in the box.” The prospect of relying only on TV cameras seemed to give him pause, but overall Carr said he felt that “it’s a worthwhile thing to test and I hope it will improve the game.”

GBW will have much more on spring practice in the coming days and weeks.

Other quick notes on the team from today’s presser:

  • Mark Bihl looks in line for the center job, but they will also look at Leo Henige, Adam Kraus, and walk-on Derek Bell there.
  • Pat Massey has really improved his strength during summer conditioning.
  • Jeremy Van Alstyne is going to be a very good football player.
  • Coach Carr also indicated that he anticipated Chad Henne coming up at some point during the spring (much like Matt Gutierrez did as a senior in high school) to get more familiar with the team and offense.
  • Rondell Biggs has shown a lot of improvement and is up to 278 pounds. “He played linebacker in high school so he’s a guy that you can do some things with because he’s such a good athlete.”
  • Will Paul is a freshman that runs very well and will get a good look this spring though it’s not yet determined whether it will be at DT or DE.
  • Alex Ofili is “going to be a senior and he needs to step up.”
  • Jim Presley was compared to BJ Askew in what he brings to the fullback position.

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