Carr Talks Spring Football (part 1)

<p>Coach Carr addressed members of the media today at Schembechler Hall to discuss spring practice and preview this weekend&#8217;s game. In part 1 of his presser he talks about <strong>the QB&#8217;s</strong>, <strong>David Underwood</strong>, <strong>David Baas&#8217; possible move to center</strong>, <strong>Jake Long</strong>,<strong> the young defensive linemen</strong>, <strong>the safeties</strong>, and more!</p>

On the quarterbacks:

“I think they’ve both improved significantly. The thing you have to understand about Clayton Richard is for most of his high school career he did not operate under center. He was in the shotgun. So he’s had a real adjustment from the time he got here. But yesterday I thought he had his best practice of the spring. The ball comes out of his hands very quickly. He has a great release and a strong arm. I think he’s only going to get better.”

“Matt has had a very good spring. He runs the football team like a veteran guy. He’s just one of those guys that is great competitor. All the things I’ve said about him in the past are true. He really is a take charge kind of guy in terms of the quarterback position.”

On Spencer Brinton:

“He has not been able to throw with any kind of velocity on the football. He’s out there in practice, but he hasn’t had any contact. We’ll just have to see. The doctors indicated yesterday that he’s still probably 2 months away from being fully recovered from that injury.”

On Jake Long:

“I think Jake Long has really had an outstanding spring. I think it’s just a matter of time. He’s competing for one of those starting tackle positions. He played through a miserable turf toe injury and didn’t miss a practice. He has proven that he’s tough. He’s 330 pounds. He’s going to be, at some point, a great player. But he certainly has impressed everybody.”

On if you learn something about guys when they play through minor injuries:

“Absolutely. It’s a contact game. It comes down to being tough enough where you can’t be bothered by nagging injuries. You’ve got to be smart and that’s what the trainer is for. We always leave the decision up to the players. But when a guy can go with a turf toe type thing, where you know he’s not going to make it worse, but he wants to play… Steve Breaston hurt his wrist the other day and two weeks ago in the stadium came down on his knee and missed the rest of practice. Last night I thought he’d probably miss Saturday’s practice, but Breaston came back before the end of the practice because he loves to play. He told Paul Schmidt ‘I’ve got to play Saturday because I’ve got 50 family members coming.’ So you like that competitiveness.”

On the approach you take with a new QB in the spring:

“Well I think the first thing you want to find out is what he can’t do. So you give him a lot of things and put him in a lot of situations where certainly by the time the season starts, you know what his weaknesses are. You want to develop your offense to the things he does best. I think that’s been true of every quarterback we’ve had here.”

On if he can name starters or front runners at some of the toss up positions like RB:

“Next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I’ll sit down with every player individually and we’ll talk what type of spring they’ve had, where they think they are, where I think they are and meet with their position coaches. But by and large at this point, I’m not ready to declare anything. We’ve got a lot of good competition. I think the other thing we try to teach around here is the expectation is for the position, which means that you’ve got to be ready and you’ve got to develop yourself so that if you’re the backup and something happens you’ve got to be prepared to go in there and perform. The idea is everybody gets better every day. If people do that then they’ll be prepared when their opportunity comes. As far as naming starters anywhere … I don’t feel compelled to do that.”

On David Underwood:

“What I like about David is of all of our backs he’s the fastest and he’s also the biggest. He’s a big powerful guy. Some people, for example if they’re playing behind a guy like Chris Perry, it really is distracting because it’s harder to focus because you know … or you think you know that you’re probably not going to play much. I don’t know exactly what happened to David. I think there was a period in the season where he did not perform like he wanted to. But what I’ve seen this spring I really like. He’s powerful. He can run you over. He’s had a very good spring. He’s a powerful guy inside. The most important play we run here offensively in the running game is the off tackle play. You have to be able to make cuts if the hole is closed, pound it up in there if there’s any kind of space at all, and some of the times you’ve got to bounce it outside. David has run that play very well.”

On what he said to David going into the spring about the open RB spot:

“I told him that job is out there to be won and there are other guys that want it. Essentially, we don’t have anybody with better ability than David. So it’s time for you to go get it. But there are a lot of other guys that want it too. So it’s going to be competitive and you need to do the things that are going to make you a more consistent player and I think that he has done that.”

On David Harris and Leon Hall:

“David Harris was completely out of spring practice. He is starting to run and Paul (Schmidt) feels like he’ll be ready to go by June as far as running. Leon Hall practiced in certain drills. He did all of the individual stuff, but he did not have any pads on. I think he had pads on one day but it was more to protect him in case he fell down. He was never in a competitive drill where tackling was taking place.”

On holding Kevin Dudley back during the spring:

“More than anything with Dudley, we held him back like we did Baas in some circumstances because we know what certain guys can do. We always try to develop those guys that we don’t know what they can or that need repetitions. Dudley is a great competitor and plays a position where you’ve got a lot of high velocity contact so I just felt like we wanted to be careful with him and make sure he’s ready in the fall.”

On the defensive linemen:

“I think Will Paul is going to get stronger and bigger, but I think that he’s really shown some promise. Jeremy Van Alstyne has had a great spring. He sprained his knee yesterday, so he’s not going to be there tomorrow or Saturday. Rondell Biggs missed the last couple of practices with a concussion, but I’m hoping that he’ll be back tomorrow. Gabe Watson has had a great spring. I think Gabe has to continue to watch his weight. I think he needs probably to lose some. But he has had a great spring. He can be a dominating player. Larry Harrison had made progress the last couple of days. Larry is a guy that has played with a miserable groin injury and has continued to fight through. He has had a good spring.”

On the center position:

“We worked Leo (Henige) in there and we worked David Baas in there. Mark (Bihl) is going to be competing against one of the guards because Bass could be a great center. So what we’re looking to do is get the strongest lineup in there. It could be Baas at center and Henige at guard. Or it could be Bihl with Baas staying at guard.”

On the tackle position:

“I really like the competition at our tackle position. Mike Kolodziej has had a very good spring. Adam Stenavich improved this spring. Adam is out also. He sprained his knee last week, so he’ll miss this last couple of days. Ruben Riley has competed very well and improved. So I think we’ve really developed some backup depth at the tackle position.”

On Adam Kraus:

“Adam Kraus has had a very very good spring. Adam has played at guard and I think he’s going to be a very good football player. He could conceivably, some time next fall, move to center. Kraus is going to be a very good football player. “

On Ernest Shazor:

“You always worry about guys that are coming back for the spring after having an excellent year. You worry about their concentration and their intensity. But Ernest has had a very very good spring. He’s gotten better. He’s very hungry in his approach and he has practiced very hard. I think he’s got a chance to be a great football player. He knows what to do now. Fundamentally he has improved. He is bending his knees much better. He reacts better to the ball and he’s a great tackler. I like Ernest.”

On Shawn Crable and Prescott Burgess:

“Shawn Crable has had a very very good spring. He’s at a position on the outside where I think he’s going to be a great pass rusher. He’s very athletic for a guy with his size. He’s going to get stronger and all of those things. He’s very instinctive. He came in here with a good background in terms of the fundamentals and understanding the game. He’s played very well. “

“Prescott has made a very good adjustment. What you find in a position change, particularly when you’re moving from the secondary up into the line, things happen so much faster up there. He is off to a very good start. He went through a period there for three or four practices where there’s so much you’re adding. You’re installing your defense. So he went through a period where he struggled. Yesterday he was back ready to go. Plus there’s so much more heavy hitting inside at linebacker. You’ve got to learn how to play that position day in and day out. We’re very pleased with where he’s at in terms of his development.”

On Joe Sarantos and Jermaine Gonzales:

“Joe Sarantos has had his best spring since he came to Michigan. He has played a couple of places in there. He’s a guy that runs very well and he has played the best football of his career this spring. Another guy that has had a great spring is Jermaine Gonzales. A lot of you may remember Brian Townsend. He had kind had been around here and he wasn’t a starter as a fourth year player but he became an All-Big 10 player as a 5th year senior. The message is for a guy to keep working and keep competing. Jermaine switched from quarterback to wide receiver and it took him a while to get adjusted, but he really had a great spring. He’s going to be a real factor in our receiving corps.”

On the other safety spot:

Brandent Englemon had a thumb injury a couple of days ago and he’s going to have surgery. It’s nothing major but Englemon was having a very good spring. Ryan Mundy has had an outstanding spring. Mundy has really taken advantage of his opportunity. Willis I think is a little bit too heavy. But he has done a great job on our special teams so he is going to have a roll on our football team. We’ll just have to see how he does these last couple of days. Every practice is important. A guy could be struggling and then all of a sudden he finishes the spring with two really good practices and it changes the perception. “

On if he got a feel for the team’s chemistry:

“You can find out if you’ve got any toughness and you can find out if you’ve got any competitiveness. I think leadership begins to surface and express itself during the spring, but I think more than anything else that happens during the summer time when it’s hot and there are a lot of other thing s that you would like to do. Certainly during training camp it is hard and tough. But I do think this team has good chemistry. We’ve got a lot of good kids in this program. I know this; they’re learning how to practice hard with intensity and we get along well. I think the toughness is going to be there.”

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