Michigan State Post Game: Coach Carr

In Coach Lloyd Carr's post game presser he commented on the importance of Mike Hart, the controversial fumble call, the significance of the 34-31 victory, and more.

Opening Statement:

"First, I commend Michigan State. We beat, in my mind, an outstanding football team today. There were a lot plays made today by guys on both sides of the field. It was a hard hitting, exciting, great football game. It would have been a lot harder to say that had we lost, but I think that's the truth. I'm very proud of our football team. We've been the most unlucky football team I've ever been around from an injury standpoint. I think our coaches have done a great job. I think our leaders have done a great job of keeping this football team together. They came in today in a tough arena and they played their hearts out. For that, I'll never forget this day."

On having Mike Hart back in the line-up:

"Well Hart is, you know, the heart of our team. We kept trying to take him out of there and he kept going back in. I think if you measure our football team, Hart is a guy his teammates love because when he is in there on passing downs, he is blocking people that are 60 or 70 pounds bigger. He's got a great instinct and he is just such a fighter. I said this last week…I did not expect him to play, or certainly to run the football as many times as he did. He is a great football player."

On going into South endzone (student section) in overtime:

"They chose that end. I expected them to because that is the loudest end of the stadium. Normally the home team wants to go down where the students are because in can help you in terms of the communication that you have to go through."

On Garret Rivas making the game-winner after missing in regulation:

"Garrett Rivas is one of those guys that loves pressure. I was so surprised when he missed the first one because he doesn't miss many. That's in practice and going back on is career here. He has had extraordinary accuracy. I asked him…I said, 'What did you do?' He said, ' I just pushed it.' I said, 'Well, make one in overtime.' Like a good Michigan player, he did what his coach told him to do (laughter)."

On the how the defense held up after being on the field over 12 minutes in the third quarter:

"Michigan State in the third quarter did a great job. We had some plays that we hadn't run that didn't work. We just couldn't get the ball in terms of possessing it. We were going into the wind in the third quarter and I kept thinking lets just get out of this quarter. Let's just hang in there and get out of this quarter. In the fourth quarter we'll have the wind, which I thought was significant as far as the kicking game went. If you saw those kickoffs…I think there was maybe one kickoff return when it was kicked to the north end because the wind was a big factor there. Holding Michigan State to a field goal after we threw the interception…that was a major stop. [The defense] made a major stop, of course, in overtime. We just left them out there too long. I think you give Michigan State credit for what they did in the third quarter. It was certainly not the way we wanted to play the third quarter."

On what it was like this week as the underdog and what he did to pick his team up:

"What I tried to convince them to do was come in here, fight their hearts out, play together, and believe in each other. I think that any coach would do the same thing, so what I did was nothing. What they did was unforgettable."

On the decision to kick the field goal on third down in OT:

"I hadn't pre-determined what I would do there. I have great confidence in Garrett Rivas. If you run the football in there and somebody jumps off-sides, or somebody misses a block and you turn the ball over. I just felt like it was the thing to do. I'm just glad it worked."

On the controversial fumble call on what looked to be an incomplete pass by Henne:

"I think there is going to be a major discussion there. I've been on the rules committee, so maybe I'm not aware, but my understanding is in college football the rule is the arm is forward and we don't have the tuck rule. We don't have all of those issues unless that's something that has been done by the supervisors across the country on this particular type of play. What I saw from the replay, and I didn't get a great look, but it looked to me as though it was an [incomplete pass]. Now that we have replay, I think that's a rule that certainly has to be clarified. And maybe it's already clarified and I just don't understand it."

On the play of Pierre Woods:

"Pierre is one of those guys that is a wonderful person. He has had some up and downs. He had an opportunity in there today. He told his teammates back in training camp…he said, 'I'll be there. You can count on me to do anything I can to help us win.' I think he had an opportunity today and I think he did that."

On injuries:

"Steve Breaston was hurt last week in the Wisconsin game and did not make the trip. Scott McClintok, and I want to make this clear, he has had back problems throughout his career at Michigan. He has had a good career anyway, but it has always been something that has been a problem for him. He had a hit in practice this week a certain way, so he was unable to play. Rondell [Biggs]…I can't tell you right now, but I think it is going to take a while [for him to return]."

On what the win does for the team's confidence:

"Confidence is a funny thing. Just because you're talented doesn't mean you have confidence. It comes and goes. It's one of those things in athletics that if you could bottle it, you'd have all of the answers. You'd never lose. You'd never play badly. We needed a win because we had two tough losses that were one play here or one play there. I don't think there is any question that it is going to be a big boost to our morale. Confidence…we'll have to see. I know that the morale is awfully important…and we have some now."

On if he called a timeout in the first half so Barringer's interception could be reviewed:

"I didn't think they were [going to review it]. I'm glad we did."

On if he thought he would be able to run Hart that much:

"He told me on Tuesday…he practiced and he was out there, but he didn't look like Mike Hart. He practiced on Wednesday, and he didn't look like Mike Hart. Our trainer Paul Schmidt said, 'Look, he'll be there. He'll be ready, but he has been out for three weeks.' I asked [Hart] after warm ups, 'Are you sure you want to play in this game Hart? This isn't just another game. This is a big game!' He said, 'Yeah, I'm ready coach' "

On where this games ranks in terms of significant victories in his tenure:

"I think the reason it's significant is because of the rivalry. But there were a lot of other things that were going on here. One of them certainly is the start they got off to…the rankings…and their team. That's a great football team offensively, and they play very hard defensively. The Paul Bunyan trophy…nobody says much about it or writes much about it, but it's emblematic of being the winner in this game. This game is as big as they get I think."

On offensive coordinator Terry Malone coming down from the booth for this game:

"Terry came in Friday and said he felt like because we had so many young guys that it might be better for him to come down. He asked me what I thought and I said, 'I that's your decision. If you feel like you can be more effective…' We talked about the positive and negatives. But looking back on this game, personally I thought it was good that he was down there."

More on Mike Hart's importance:

"Don't forget he had a lot of people up there blocking for him too, and Chad Henne I thought was outstanding. We're not a one man team by any stretch of the imagination. But Michael Hart at his position…the other guys are going to be very good football players. They just happen to be young. But I've said already he's special. He is special."

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