Carr's Postgame Views: Minnesota

<p>After the game Coach Carr commented on Michigan&#8217;s victory over the Golden Gophers and discusses the progress of a number of his players.</p>

Opening Statement:

Well it was a great football game. I think that game represents all of the great things about college football. My hat is off to Minnesota. I thought they played great and I am extremely proud of our guys because they never gave up. They kept on fighting and they made a great comeback to win. There were so many plays in that game, in every phase of the game. We did some great things and we did some things that we didn't want to do. I give Minnesota credit for that. But when you turn the football over three times in the second half, and the defense just comes up with the effort that they did...I think it speaks to the competitiveness, the kind of spirit, and I think it speaks to the magic of teamwork. Because that defense had an opportunity there after we fumbled the punt…they could have folded. They held Minnesota to a field goal, which in my mind… that is when I knew that we had hope. So, it's a great win for us. There are a lot of heroes, and the Little Brown Jug is a special trophy. I think the last 2 years of that game, nationally anybody that saw those last two games saw two of the best football games ever. Of course we have been fortunate to win them both. I think that Glen Mason is an outstanding football coach and he has done a great job. His staff did a great job and his team played as hard as they could play, so I take my hat off to them.

On if his offense was taking what the defense gave them:

"Well, that's exactly what it was. I think we had a great game plan from the stand point that we would did come out throw the football and spread em out, We went down and scored a touchdown and got the lead. Then we got the ball back and took a 10-nothing lead. But of course, they fought back. When you look at the final analysis and the final statistics, the time of possession was a critical issue. In the end, our ability to mix the run and the pass…I think the pass today, set up the run. We were trying to take what they gave us, I think that we were real patient. The one interception they had was on 2nd and 1, and we had worked hard. We knew that we could play action and get Braylon deep and Chad threw the ball back into the middle of the field. He's got to keep that ball on the outside. He will learn from that. I thought the worse throw for him was when they gave us a different look. On his first interception, we got three-deep zone, and we were expecting two-deep. So that was a big play. It put our defense in bad field position and lead to their score. So, twice we put our defense in horrible field position. As many things that are good about this game, we have to stop turning the football over. And we didn't get the ball back from them today. That is why we are fortunate to win because they won the turnover battle and we won anyway."

On Garret Rivas making his second kick in spite of a bad snap:

"Well, I think it was a miracle kick. The ball was snapped low, and Ross Mann has been extremely good snapper. The only time that someone knows the long snapper or the short snapper is when something goes wrong. And he will be awfully thankful that he had a quarterback in Matt Gutierrez who in some way got the ball off the ground, got it down, and Garret…that's a great kick. That's all that I can tell you. I don't know how it got through. But I told Garret when he came off, 'Great Kick!' (laughing). They all count for three if they get through there."

On if he thought he would learn more about Chad Henne than he had up to that point on the last offensive drive:

"Well, we have never punted the football down there with I don't know how many minutes to go. We were playing great defense in the second half. The thing that really hurt us was on 3rd and long, they hit the sideline pass. That put a damper on things. We didn't get the field position. I was confident that if we had enough time when we got the ball back. I was confident that we would get the ball back and that this kid…he is…. he is pretty good."

On if Henne plays like he has been there before:

"Oh yeah, I think so. I've been around a lot of great athletes for a lot of my lifetime. To be able to do this, on this stage, in this competition, with no experience. To be able to perform at the level he is performing at…I think it is incredible. I feel confident that he will continue to work hard and keep his feet on the ground and not be distracted, because he has the ability to be as good as he wants to be."

On why Mike Hart and Chad Henne are able to be successful when so many other freshman are not:

"I think the good Lord gave them some gifts, and confidence, and spirit. They aren't intimidated by anything. This is complicated offense, and I'll tell you, it's complicated from the running back position. Now, normally what you like to do with a true freshman is sprinkle him in there, get him some work, so he learns, but you know he is going to make some mistakes. So here is this kid, his fourth game in a row, and he has played most of the game. I can't tell you (anything) except that there is a confidence and the intangibles are there."

On hitting deep passes versus going on long drives:

I think throughout the course of a season, you have to be able to do both. There was twice in there we got Braylon open deep. We took a shot I think on first down going towards the south endzone. It would have been a great catch. There was another time that we threw the ball to him, and the ball bounced of his pads. But we want to be a team that can take what the defense gives us. So that means if you are playing against an 8-man front, you have to be able to throw the ball. I think that Chad made great throws in the 4th quarter, and even in the 3rd. The deep out to me is the sign of a great arm. Can you throw the ball from the left hash-mark, to the outside of the field on the right side of the field. Or vice versa. When you can make those throws, which he made a number of times today, those are almost impossible throws to defend if you can get the ball there because they are playing 3-deep zone or 3-deep man, and we are going to get open if they have the 8th man down in the box. That only leaves 3.

On throwing to set up the run:

"I give our coaches credit. On both sides of the football, this team was prepared to play. We had a good game plan defensively. I credit the guys that put those plans together. And that plan was to take what they gave us. A lot of times when you are playing against a good offensive running team, you want to keep them off of the field. And you want to use the clock because you figure that it's going to be hard to get the ball back. So when you come out and throw, that doesn't play to your defense. And in a lot of cases, that is what I like to do if we have an outstanding defense. But today we came out with the idea that we were going to throw the football, and I think that opened up the run as the game went on."

On the team going into the game prepared for it to come down to the final drive:

"I think one of the things that we have tried to develop is the belief that all of the big games you are going to have to be prepared to be on the field defensively having to stop them to keep them out of the endzone, or keep them from kicking a field goal to beat you. Or, you are going to have to be on the field offensively and you have to be able to go down and execute without penalties and turnovers to win the game. That is the mark of a Championship team. A team that finds a way to win it whether it's kicking, whether it's offense or whether it's defense."

On the offensive line:

The other thing that happens in the course of the season… we've had some key injuries. In the Indiana game, Leo Henige injured his knee and he'll have to have surgery at some point and he is out for the season. And here today another kid, named Rueben Riley from Grand Rapids, MI, this is his 3rd season. He is a red-shirt sophomore and he stepped in there. This is his first significant playing time. So we did a good job against what I think is a good Minnesota pass rush. They are a bend but don't break type of defense. They didn't give us any big plays. So you make some mistakes, and we made a couple. But in the end we had the kind of protection in the end that allowed Chad to find some open people and that was enough.

On the defense:

"I think they were magnificent because we put them in bad field position twice. We turned the football over on Chad first interception they ran it back to mid-field and that turned into some points. Then, a really critical play in the game was when they punted to us and we fumbled the football and they took over at the 10-yd line. That was a great stop. When you look at the statistics those are two outstanding running backs. Kevin Dudley told me yesterday, 'the best two backs on the field tomorrow, will be at Michigan.' And so I told him, 'if you want to talk about it, you better do it.' And he said, 'we will.' So, they were pretty good. I don't know if they were the best, but they were pretty good."

On the four receiver bunch formation that the offense deployed:

"We put that in. I think we ran that play 3 times or twice. It's something that you put in that the defense has to adjust to. It's not something that we had done. We had Tim Massaquoi out there and Jason Avant. The key is, you got wide receivers and a tight end in Massaquoi that will block. It's really a quick screen and Braylon made a couple really good plays there."

On Jason Avant:

"Jason has been playing through some discomfort but he is so tough, and he made a great catch to keep the drive alive. The thing about Avant is he's reliable, he's tough, and he's going to play without the football. He's going to play on special teams. He's everything you want in a team guy. And that is what this game was all about. It was about a group of guys that hung together, kept fighting and came up with something special."

On Henne getting more players involved in the passing game:

"I think you see that earlier in the season, he wasn't staying on his first progression long enough at times and dumping the football. I think today he's starting to get down to the second and third receiver. We got the ball down to Michael Hart early, which I thought was a great play because he was the third guy. He dumped the ball because that is what the defense was giving us. I think it is part of his maturing process."

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