Week Two Press Conference Highlights: Coach Carr

Michigan coach Lloyd Carr discussed his disappointment with the effort of some of the players on defense, how he plans to correct that problem, the rivalry with Notre Dame, and more.

Opening statement:

“I think that obviously the turnovers were the key to that football game. Anytime you force five turnovers and win the turnover margin five-to-one you should win. Our offense, as a result of those turnovers, had some great field position and that certainly helped us. We did some very good things offensively but we need to run the football better. We missed two big plays that should have been touchdowns. One, we get the ball out of bounds down here to Breaston and then Steve should have made the play on the deep pass early in the first quarter. Ross Ryan had a wonderful debut here. I told you previously that he’s a weapon because he’s got a great leg and made a great play down there. Now he’s a scholarship football player at Michigan. He’s earned that. But even on special teams we had an extra-point blocked and another one where we didn’t get good timing between the operations of the play. Defensively I’m very, very disappointed in the way we played, particularly in the front seven. I don’t think we played well at all up there with one exception. Chris Graham, for a young guy getting a first start, really played hard a made a lot of plays. We're just not where we need to be and we need to play harder. We need to play more physical and that is our intent. There are going to be some changes in the line up because we’re not going to sit and watch that type of effort. We need to player harder and we need to play tougher. Notre Dame had an outstanding debut against Pitt. They’re a very talented football team. They’re very physical up front on both sides of the football. Skill athletes on offense are excellent. At tight end, running back, and the wide receiver positions and of course they have an experienced quarterback. On defense I like their linebackers. They’re very athletic and get to the football well. We’re looking forward to one of the great rivalry’s well have here at Michigan.”

On ND’s offense:

“When you look at the statistics you’ll see great balance with the people that got the football. The tight ends got the ball, the wide receivers got the ball, and the backs got the ball in the passing game. They ran the football very effectively. When you run for 275 yards, that’s a good days work.”

On Ross Ryan:

“One of the things on any football team is that you have guys that come with the idea that they want to participate in Michigan football. We thoroughly talk to their high school coaches and depending no what we think, hear, and know we invite guys to come out and play. Some of those people down through the years have made great contributions with the football. There’s a preparation that goes into any game that is very important but what we do as a coaching staff is take discussions and discuss it through out the spring and training camp. It’s a very important decision because you’re trying to be fair to those people that are deserving.”

On Darius Walker:

“I think he’s a guy that can make you miss. He’s a guy that has great vision and a very good pass receiver. He can hurt you in a lot of different ways.”

On the running back rotation:

“I think we had an opportunity to get a lot of guys some snaps. Normally we go into a game with an idea of seeing how things are going to go. I think that a lot of times as a coach, I’ve been on staff’s where you promise a guy that he’s going to play and you get into the game and the game goes much differently. The idea is to be ready to play and be ready to compete. Every opportunity you get to play is an opportunity to earn the confidence of your coach and increase your playing time. Max Martin would have played a lot sooner but he missed a couple of days last week after getting banged up the week prior.”

On Lamar Woodley:

“I thought that Lamar did some wonderful things in there. He’s an extremely talented football player and that was a great individual play. He beat his man in a one-on-one pass situation and came tight around him. He managed to get his hand in there and strip the football and then found the ball. It was a great individual play.”

On the fullbacks:

Brian Thompson has earned the starting position at fullback and he did some good things. Will Paul got some experience and did a couple of really impressive things. He’s a big guy with a big body and should get better as we go. Paul gives us some size back there that I really like.”

On the mental approach to playing physical:

"I think it's all intertwined. That really has to be the foundation. If that isn't the foundation then you cannot be successful on either side of the ball. It's a physical game. It's a contact sport. That has a lot to do in every game with who wins and who loses."

More on harder and tougher play in the front seven:

"The difficult thing, I think, in coaching is to evaluate a player after a loss. But it's equally as difficult to evaluate a player after a victory. As a coach you can fall into the trap of looking at things emotionally. What we strive to do is look at it, look at him the same, and evaluate his performance regardless of whether it came after a win or a loss. That way you have the best chance to be fair and the best chance to help him improve. It's challenging either way. I just think that when I looked at our team as a whole, that's an area that we have to deal with. Sometimes that means making changes. Maybe you get somebody's attention, and maybe it doesn't matter. But the issue is you’ve got to try to put people out there that are going to play very hard and very physical."

On if he is surprised that playing hard or physical is an issue considering all of the criticism the defense has received:

"I look at it as what we did on that particular day. All of the things that were said…sometimes those are pretty good assessments, and very often they are so inaccurate it's laughable. What I try to do is look at each guy and how he's competing. If he is not competing hard and playing physical, then I'm always looking to give someone else an opportunity…and that's the case right now."

On if the changes he is referring to making could be undone if the players in question have a good week of practice:


On not having slept in two days:

"One of the challenges of any season…I don't care where you go in this game, and I'm sure it's the way in your business…there are things that aren't going like you want them to. Sometimes you don't know why something isn't going like you think it would. There are always issues on any team. Right now that is the biggest issue we have. We're going to try to deal with it in a way that can help us get better."

On changes on the offensive side of the ball in college football:

This is really what has changed in my judgment…we're doing it, and I saw it last night…what offenses are doing a much much better job of…the biggest change…in the NFL there is a 45-second play clock….we've got probably on the average play 37 or 38 seconds. Normally it takes officials 12-16 seconds to mark the ball ready to play, and from that point you get 25 seconds. What has happened in that space of 12-16 seconds before the 25-second clock starts is coaches are getting the plays in on offense during that time. So you're seeing the huddle being broken with 19, 18, 17 seconds left. That allows a team to get to the line of scrimmage and get into a situation where it appears they're going to snap the ball. Then the quarterback makes a call, and he backs off. The defense now moves. Then he still has time to get into the best play against that defense. That is what has changed offensive football more than anything else. Offenses are using that 12 seconds in there to get the plays in faster, and I think that really puts defenses in a bind."

On the rivalry with Notre Dame:

"I think it is a great rivalry because of the history. Going back, it's kind of interesting that Rockne and Yost did not get along. I don't think they liked each other very well. I don't think Crisler and Leahy liked each other very well. I think because of the fact that both of those men were AD's as well as football coaches, we didn't play Notre Dame for a long time. That is still is quite a controversial part of the discussions today regarding scheduling, conference affiliation, and all of that stuff. But I think it's a great rivalry because of the history of football at the two schools and being the winningest two programs in the history of college football."

On Notre Dame is being more aggressive on the recruiting trail and if that has affected Michigan:

"Kids are making up their minds earlier. I think they probably have more commitments at this stage than they typically do. As far as our recruiting, no it doesn't affect us. If we're recruiting the same guy and we get a commitment like we did recently, that's good. But if we lose one, that's not so good. We just keep on going."

"I've always said this and I believe it…the University of Michigan and Notre Dame University are two very very distinct universities. They're as distinct as you could ever look at. In most cases, it's a pretty easy decision. We don't go down to a wire on a lot of those guys because they make up their minds. If they’re interested in those two schools, they know pretty quickly where they want to go once they visit."

The Michigan Insider Top Stories