Entering his 11th season as Michigan's coach, Lloyd Carr decided to allow many media members to watch a fall practice for the first time.
"I want to be popular with all of you," Carr joked Friday.
Carr has allowed a select few reporters to watch an occasional practice, and regularly invites media to attend spring drills and a freshmen-only workout in August.
But two weeks before the opener against Northern Illinois, he welcomed about a dozen reporters, a couple of sports-talk radio hosts, a handful of TV cameramen and some photographers to attend practice.
"I'm changing," he said. "Deep change."
College and pro football teams are allowed to set their own guidelines for practice coverage, and some choose to close all practices to media. Michigan State traditionally allows reporters, photographers and camera operators to attend parts of a couple of practices each week. The Lions allow local reporters to attend every one of their practices, from start to finish.
With eight starters back on offense and seven on defense, most of Michigan's starters are set entering the team's 126th football season. But Carr provided some insight on the competition for No. 1 jobs, and for reserves hoping to move up the depth chart.
The battle to replace standout center David Baas is still wide open. Will Paul has a shot to start at fullback, in place of the departed Kevin Dudley.
Adrian Arrington is the leading candidate to be the No. 3 receiver, behind Jason Avant and Steve Breaston.
When asked what freshmen have been practicing well, Carr mentioned running back Kevin Grady, receivers Antonio Bass and receiver Mario Manningham, linebacker James McKinney, punter Zoltan Mesko and defensive tackle Terrance Taylor.
Midway through training camp, Carr said the Wolverines are relatively healthy, though free safety Ryan Mundy and Dave Harris have missed some practices because of injuries.
Other Carr quotes from Freep.com:
Adtrian Arrington: "He has matured and he's been very, very impressive from the day we came in."
Brandent Englemon: "has had a lights-out" preseason.
Shawn Crable: "needs to step up."
Zoltan Mesko: "He has all the ability we thought and maybe more."
Other incoming freshmen mentioned: Antonio Bass, Terrance Taylor, Mario Manningham.
A Rare Peek at Practice
The Michigan Insider Top Stories
Peoples-Jones Wins PSL, Updates RecruitmentDetroit (Mich.) Cass Tech's Donovan Peoples-Jones leads Cass to PSL Championship, updates recruitment and more.
The Michigan Insider6:05 PM
Evans suffers concussion, 'we'll see' for MSUMichigan coach Jim Harbaugh says freshman running back Chris Evans suffered a concussion vs. Illinois.
The Michigan Insider5:40 PM
Michigan Next on Visit Docket for No. 1 Va.OTHighland Springs (Va.) 3-star offensive tackle Mekhi Becton has scholarship offers from across the country, including one from Michigan. After months of by building a long distance…
Scout Football5:11 PM
WATCH: Harbaugh gives Walker updateWatch as Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh addresses the status of true freshman running back Kareem Walker after dressing for the first time this season.
The Michigan Insider2:34 PM