Monday Presser Highlights: Week Seven

Carr discusses the loss to Minnesota, the struggles of Henne and the offense, th RB's, and more.

For comments from the players, click here:

Opening Statement:

"We have an outstanding Penn State football team coming into Ann Arbor this weekend…a team that I think has great team speed. When I look at their defense I see an extremely mobile front seven, a great secondary, and a pair of defense ends that are as good as any pair in the country. Offensively I think they have a great quarterback and outstanding speed at the wide receiver position. Tony Hunt is an outstanding tailback…a guy that will play with or without the football. So we're looking forward to that challenge.

On the offensive problems vs. Minnesota:

"I saw an offensive football team that did not execute in the red zone and did not execute very well on third down. On third down, I think 8 of our 14 opportunities were seven yards or more. When you're third and long that often, you are going to have a hard time executing. We didn't protect very well. We had guys that didn't get open. We dropped some balls. We missed some throws. We just didn't play the way that we would like to play. We've struggled in the red zone the entire season. And of course, when you have to settle for three instead of seven, that always becomes a big issue. It certainly has been a major issue for our team."

On the 61 yard running play by Gary Russell at the end of the game:

"I thought we did a very very good job against Laurence Maroney, who is a great football player. He has got enough speed to bounce the ball to the outside. We had him a couple of times. One big third-down play we had him in the back field and couldn't tackle him. I think one of the issues we had to deal with last week was when we lost Rondell Biggs and Jeremy Van Alstyne did not return, we had to move Alan Branch. Normally Alan plays in over the guard or over the center, and these last few weeks he really did an outstanding job. But we had to move him to over the tackle which was new for him."

"I think the last play…the 61-yarder that broke out…we had Prescott Burgess, who played his best football game, except for that play. I think he got caught looking into the backfield instead of at the tight end. He was just unable to turn the ball back inside because he was looking in the backfield and that part of his technique broke down and the ball got outside."

"If you look at the number of defensive plays we were on the field for, we were on the field 91 plays. That's 25 or 30 more than you would like. I think part of that in the third quarter was the fact that our defense made a great stop after a long kickoff return that gave Minnesota great field position. Then Steve Breaston ran the kickoff back and our defense had to go right back out. There were six minutes to go in the third quarter when we ran our first offense play. Considering our inability on third down to keep drives alive, the number of plays that our defense was on the field, and the fact that Willis Barringer and Brandent Englemon went out of there, I give our defense some credit there. I think the most disappointing thing defensively was the drive before the end of the second quarter when they hit a big pass in there. That drive hurt us because we had a 13-3 lead. But that's the way it went."

On the injuries at the safety position:

"We are awfully thin. We lost Ryan Mundy earlier, so we're very very thin. I expect that Brandon Harrison will start at free safety and Jamar Adams at strong safety this week. But, because of the packages that Penn State runs, we're as thin as we possibly could be. We will just have to see what we can come up with."

On the psychological aspect of coaching a team in this predicament:

"I think you always have a role from a psychological standpoint because whether you are winning or whether you are losing. You have got challenges there in terms of what your team is thinking. Sometimes it can be a problem of overconfidence, of complacency. Sometimes, you take the opponent lightly. When you are not doing well, then certainly confidence and all those issues that go with being in a situation you'd rather not be in take over. It's challenging every week. The challenges do not change. They're just a lot more fun if you have to deal with things when the situation is positive."

On whether effort has been a problem:

"I don't see any lack of intensity. Mike Kolodziej came back and played some snaps in there, and Rueben Riley is playing on guts and heart. Mike has missed almost a month there. So we're struggling at that position."

"I think when you look at dropped passes, receivers not getting open…there are a lot of issues there. In that particular game, we didn't play like we're capable of playing. I don't think it had anything to do with effort and intensity. That was a hard-hitting football game. I thought Willis Barringer made a great hit on Maroney and knocked the ball loose."

On the status of Rondell Biggs and Willis Barringer:

"Rondell will not play. Willis Barringer won't play."

On if Tim Massaquoi's cast has caused him problems catching the ball:

"No, I don't think Tim is bothered at all by the cast. We have thrown to him. The first week he played there was some soreness and tenderness in there. But the cast is very soft. If he had not caught the ball very well in practice, we would not have thrown him the ball in the game."

On the play of David Harris:

"I think David Harris had a great football game on Saturday. I think Harris is having a great year. He is one of the real outstanding linebackers in this conference. There are a few of them, but David Harris is certainly one of them at this stage. He played great."

On if there were players loafing on the 61-yard run:

"No, there was no one loafing on that play. We took two bad angles. First of all, we didn't get the ball turned in. That's because our corner on that side got blocked by an outstanding block by the Minnesota wide receiver. We didn't turn the ball. Had we turned that ball in, it's going to be a no gain play in my judgment. But our safety took a bad angle. If there would have been anybody loafing there, we wouldn't have run them down. Our linebacker got caught underneath. But no, that's not accurate."

On Leon Hall:

"Leon has been a starter here since he was a freshman. He started some games in there. The last two weeks Leon Hall has played extremely well."

On Penn State quarterback Michael Robinson:

"I think Robinson is a great player. I think he is a great quarterback. I saw him throw a pass this morning on a tape I was watching. He threw the ball 70 yards. He's got a very very strong arm. I thought against Ohio State he made some outstanding throws. In the second half I think Penn State buttoned it down and played to their defense. What I saw from him in the first half was outstanding. I thought he made some great plays. He made the play of the year for them on 4th and 15 against Northwestern…a play that kept the drive alive and made a great play there at the end. He is a great athlete, and he runs like a tailback. I think he has really developed as a thrower. I think they're using him in the option. When you are dealing with an option team…the stress that it puts on the end of the line of scrimmage…the perimeter guys up front…they don't block them on the option. If they get up the field too far, the quarterback darts inside. So they have to be disciplined. Where that really gets to you is that you're thinking pass rush. If that tackle doesn't block you, now you have got to come to a stop. So it really stresses the end in your defensive scheme. Then they'll run a different option where they block everybody and he either pitches the ball or takes it free depending on what he sees. They use him in a lot of different ways and they have been extremely effective doing it."

On the success Joe Paterno is having this year:

"I think he has always maintained a confidence that they were going to have a good team. I could remember last year hearing him a few times on the teleconference. He told everybody that they built it around the great defense. They have had a two quarterback situation there for a couple of years. But I think now they have got a guy and they're doing some things to take advantage of his ability. So they're back. That's for sure."

On Paterno's career:

"I think, obviously, if you look at the career he's had -- I mean who has done better? He's done awfully well."

On Penn State's defense:

"I think it is certainly one of the better defensive teams in the country."

On Garrett Rivas' misses and how he deals with them:

"I think it's so much like golf. There are so many things that you need to do to make a great kick. His first kick…he just miss hit it. The second kick was inches away from being good. I think the main thing is he has to be able to control the things that are important to him, and that's not easy. It is not easy, but he's always been a guy that's very very tough mentally and he will be okay."

On if it is hard to keep the team motivated at this point:

"Our stress is on trying to get better and trying to get ready for this game…playing an outstanding football team. There are things now that are no longer under our control. I think the approach, as it always is here, is let's do what we can to get the best game plan. Let's do what we can to have the best practices and let's get ready to play or best game this Saturday."

On not playing some of the young receivers or running backs last week:

"I think we're trying to, but Steve Breaston came back so that limits some opportunities. Antonio Bass got an opportunity to play some in there. Doug Dutch made a big block. We're trying to win a football game. I do think we should have played Kevin Grady. We're going to play somebody else this week because simply it's too much to play Mike Hart every down like we did in that game. So looking back on it, that's something certainly I would have done different."

On if Steve Breaston at 100 percent:

"If he isn't, that's good, because he looked pretty good on that kickoff return. So if he's better than that, if he is not full speed, then good because that means he is going to get even faster."

On if Jake Long or Adrian Arrington will be back anytime soon:

"I think both of those guys have really gone the extra mile to rehab those injuries. I can't really tell you anything on them. I think certainly Adrian could possibly come back."

On his use of timeouts at the end of the game:

"I used those time outs because of a couple of reasons. #1, we had the wind. They were going to punt into the wind. Their punter did not have a good day. The wind was significant. I felt like if we could hit a couple of plays, get the ball back in decent field position, get a couple of plays, we might have a chance to kick a field goal. The other really critical part of that answer is that Bryan Cupito was out of the game…their #1 quarterback. We had two timeouts there and we told our guys they were not going to throw the football because I didn't think in that circumstance, that deep in their own territory, that they would throw the football. I thought there was enough clock that had we stopped them, they would have had to punt the ball to us. And of course we've got Breaston back there. So that was my thinking."

On not being able to get the younger backs experience:

"I think I mentioned this earlier I think in the season. Once we lost Jake Long, and once we lost a couple of other guys in there, like Grant DeBenedictis, it really has changed the way we have been able to practice. We have lost Van Alstyne and Rondell Biggs. So our practices have had to change, and that has really slowed the development of our backs, because that's really where you really learn to play tailback. It's really where you learn to play the game. If you are learning in the game, it's a hard place to learn."

On Chad Henne's play against Minnesota:

"I think he made three overthrows, all three to Jason Avant. On our touchdown drive on second down, we threw from the five-yard line…2nd and goal at the five. We threw the ball outside to the right at the south end zone, and he made a bad throw. But that did not hurt us there because we scored a touchdown anyway. In the second quarter, he missed him by five or six inches on a play I think from the 20-yard line. The ball was just missed on 3rd and 10. And then he missed on a play at the north end zone where he had Jason and he threw the ball low. I think on that particular case, he simply rushed the throw. That's what it looked like to me."

On if the mechanics Henne mentioned correcting after the Wisconsin game still need work:

"I think there are some things there that we worked on. But you know, I see those plays every week in the NFL. I see them in college. I see them in high school. You miss a pass. That pass he missed Jason in the south end zone…the timing of that route is always a difficult thing because it was a stutter-and-go. He missed him by six inches."


The Michigan Insider Top Stories