For Carl Tabb, the first three years of his
career at Michigan have been an up and down experience. After redshirting as
a freshman, the 6-foot-2, 192-pound wide receiver began making an impact late
in his second year on campus. With a couple of critical catches here and there,
the future looked to be bright. Unfortunately for Tabb, however, the injury
bug bit. In his third year, the speedy pass-catcher struggled on the field due
to health problems. Despite that, the home town Wolverine still came away with
a positive outlook on things.
"The only thing I can say about the injuries or things of that nature is that you need to use everything in life as a learning experience," Tabb said. "I certainly did learn a whole lot more. Even Michael Jordan has off days and you have to learn to do other things and improve your game in other ways so that when you actually are healthy you are a better athlete in the end."
Whether or not the experience will make Tabb a better player is yet to be seen. That said, it's abundantly clear that his head coach expects him to turn his potential into on-the field-contribution this season. "We need Carl Tabb to step up his performance," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. "He's been nagged by some injuries, but we need Carl Tabb to step up."
For his part, Tabb is not shying away from those expectations. The Ann Arbor
native is excited to take the next step in his career as a receiver and as a
leader on the field for the young guys. "I've been here long enough to know
what's expected," said Tabb when discussing his new role as a leader for the
underclassmen. "I've been here long enough to understand what the coaches want
at certain times and it is my position to tell the younger guy's things that
I think will help them or things that I think are necessary for them to be successful.
It has nothing to do with them competing with me for a job. I'm not going to
withhold information because I'm competing with somebody because in the end
a team is only as strong as its weakest link."
In the end, it's going to be that competition that makes the Wolverines offense go. After losing All-American wide out Braylon Edwards, one would expect there to be pressure on those following in his footsteps. Tabb doesn't see it that way. As a matter of fact, he sees the loss as opportunity...something he sounds ready to take advantage of.
"Here at Michigan, the expectation is not for the player...it's for the position," Tabb said. "When Braylon left, the expectation now is not for the next guy to be as good as Braylon. The next guy stepping in has to be in as good as he can be and do his very best with it, whatever that is. In terms of replacing Braylon, no one guy can do exactly what Braylon does and that is why Braylon is Braylon. What we can do is come in and try giving our best and put what we have into it. Put our own little spin on things. In the end, when you're out there doing your best and not trying to do things you're not good at, you're a better team for it."