Big Ten Media Day: Carr Q&A Day One

Michigan coach Lloyd Carr took questions from the media Monday at the annual Big Ten Media Day. Here is a recap of the Q&A session.

On if Steve Breaston’s talents were apparent early and if there’s a possibility Kevin Grady might redshirt:

“Steve Breaston, when he was a Woodland Hills high school right in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, he was a quarterback. When he had the football you never knew what was going to happen…normally it was something exciting. He displayed those kinds of abilities then. He did not play as a true freshman at Michigan because he did have a lot to learn. He had to get a little bit stronger. Breaston has been an exciting guy, I think, since the day he was born.”

“I think Kevin Grady absolutely will play this fall. He is the only player we’ve ever had at Michigan that came in at mid year. As a matter of fact he went to the Rose Bowl with us and was able to practice. He has shown a lot of ability and he has shown a real maturity for a kid that age. We fully expect him to play an important role on our team.”

On how Chad Henne and Mike Hart can improve:

“I think any of you that have met those two kids understand they really are outstanding human beings. They both have their feet on the ground. They both display a kind of work ethic. They handled all of the things that came their way in an extremely mature way and I think in a way that enamored them to their teammates. I think they realize, and hopefully they won’t have to learn the hard way, but the truth is you get better or you get worse. The expectations for both of them will be extremely high. So we try to approach it from a coaching standpoint to break it down into the fundamentals of the game and how you can improve here and how you can get better at this stage of the game. The leadership parts become more important. There are a lot of ways they can improve and I think both of them understand that.”

On if the Rose Bowl has been diminished by the BCS and if it being the title game is added incentive:

“If you talk about all of the guys, all of the games, and all of the schools that have played in the Rose Bowl, I don’t think anything can diminish it. But certainly with the system that is in place, the BCS…I think certainly it is an added incentive. It is much more difficult to get there when you understand that you have to be one of the two top ranked teams. So Yeah, I think there is added incentive. I don’t think there’s any question.”

On Barry Alvarez:

“I think Barry has been great for the Big Ten conference. Obviously he has been great for the University of Wisconsin. I think we’re going to miss him because seeing him on the sideline you knew that, whether you were watching on TV or you happened to be across the field competing against him, you knew you were going to be in for a fight that day. I’m going to miss him personally because I like him and I respect him. He has done a great job.”

On the QB competition between Henne and Gutierrez:

“Well, I think you are always competing. The truth is that Chad Henne has twelve games of wonderful experience that Matt was not able to get. I think the truth, however, is that it’s how you play today. Really, your past performance is not going to get you much credibility for very long. I think the truth is, it’s how you compete today and how you compete this week. But certainly, Chad has some advantages from the standpoint of experience and you can’t buy experience.”

On if it’s fair to determine a conference champion when all of the teams don’t face one another:

“Well that happens to be the way we do it in the Big Ten given the unusual circumstance that we have 11 teams instead of 10 or 12 or eight. I think the truth is that as a coach, you can’t spend time worrying about it. I think that it’s something that certainly that creates great conversation around the country and among the media and fans. Certainly as a coach and as a player you’re aware of it, but the things you don’t have any control over, you better get rid of them. I think it will be a very competitive race and I think there are a lot of teams that have a chance to win this championship.”

On how he tells his team to deal with the pressure of being named the Big Ten favorite:

“Well, I think that is one of the reasons a lot of guys come to Michigan. They want that kind of pressure. They want to deal with those kinds of expectations. It can wear on you, but you have to understand that it’s part of the deal. That also impacts the expectations that they have for every guy that takes the field for every position. It does come with a responsibility as well. That’s why you try to recruit people that want to be the best and who understand that it takes a great work ethic and it takes great teamwork. You can’t do it yourself. If we can stay together, play as hard as we can, play as smart as we can, and take them one at a time, then good things will happen.”

On if he feels the defense is a question mark:

"I think obviously we did not finish the season from a defensive standpoint the way we would have liked. It was very disappointing. The thing that was a common thread was the problems we had with some great quarterbacks that happened to have great mobility. Until we can do a job there, I think we’re all going to be concerned about it. I think we have a lot of guys who are excited about that challenge."

On if the coaching change will affect the defense:

"Bill Sheridan was an outstanding football coach, but certainly Steve brings a wealth of experience. Sometimes change is healthy and sometimes change makes a difference. I know from a personality standpoint, I’ve watched him this spring and I think he really has brought a new attitude in there."

On the difficulty of the league:

“I think you have to start off in this conference with it is very difficult to win on the road. I think that’s where it starts. The teams that do the best on the road will have the best chance of winning the championship. Not that it is easy to win at home. At home it is easier to communicate. It’s difficult, particularly, to win on the road because the intensity of the crowd and the way that it inspires, in most places, the home team. So I think all of those things are things you have to deal with.”

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