Penn State Post Game: Coach Carr

In Coach Lloyd Carr's post game presser he commented on the the poise of Chad Henne in his team's 27-25 last second victory, Mario Manningham's big play ablity, the defensive performance, and more.

Opening statement:

"I think it was a great football game played by two teams that fought their hearts out. I'm awfully proud of our guys because they've not been in the easiest circumstance. But I think they displayed everything you want in terms of character perseverance, will to win, never say die…all of those things. They are more than just clichés. I take my hat off to them. It's a great win over a great program with same kind of guys, from a character standpoint, that we try to get here at Michigan. I know it's a heartbreaking loss for them, but certainly for our guys, I couldn't be prouder. That goes the same for our coaches. I think our coaches have been able to keep this team together through a lot of tough times, and that's not easy to do in this day and age."

On Chad Henne's performance:

"Well, Chad Henne is a great quarterback, and anyone that knows anything about quarterback play would understand that. But there are a lot of people out there that don't know a quarterback from a first baseman, so they don't know that. Excuse me if I vent a little bit (smiling). But I think the way this kid has been treated has been just unbelievable. Just unbelievable."

On how big this game was:

"I told our players…this is the biggest game in the history of Michigan football. I read that in the paper this week. Some guy wrote it (smiling). I told our players, 'you know, it's true because it's the next one.' They're all big games here and the expectation is that you'll win every game. Learning to fight through all of the things that you're confronted with when things don't go your way, when you're 18 or 19 years old, that's damn hard to do. I think that's the value of the game and the value of athletics at the amateur level."

On if he was worried if the team would panic after the fumble return for a touchdown.

"Well I was worried several times. Then they fumbled the snap and ended up with two points. I said to myself, 'you know, this isn't fair. This is not fair (laughing).' Of course we put together a great drive there. I thought our kickoff return…I thought we did some great things in the kicking game. Fortunately for us we had the wind in the fourth quarter and got good field position. Then we threw the ball to Mario, and that was a smart thing to do because he found a way to get open down there. Then I thought we had a great call on the two-point conversion. That's as wild of a game that I've ever been in. Just unbelievable."

On Mario Manningham's performance:

"First of all, the credit that I want to give is to our defense and to our offensive line. We're as banged as we could ever be in the offensive line. And against a great front with two of the best pass rushing defensive ends that I've seen, we had some guys that just fought their hearts our for 60 minutes. We came out early and we were just trying to get some first downs and hit some short passes because early in the game against that front, if you try to go back and throw the ball deep, you're going to get sacked. Your quarterback is going to get hit and a lot of bad things are going to happen. All of those guys up front…I'm not saying they played great because I haven't seen the film. But I know one thing, they fought. Henige and Stenavich came back in…I didn't think when I saw [Stenavich] come off that he would come back in the game. Adam Kraus, Rueben Riley and Lentz…Lentz is a champion. They did a tremendous job."

"We worked that same (two-minute) drill. It is interesting…Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week we put about fifty seconds on the clock and had one timeout in our two-minute drill. Normally we just work it on Thursday. We worked it Tuesday and Wednesday because we were hoping that we'd have a chance to get out there either defensively or offensively to win the game at the end. I think we cut it a little too close, but I give Henne the credit for having the poise to just continue to fight. That's what they did."

On Penn State's decision to kick to Steve Breaston on Michigan's final possession:

"If I had been over there I would have done exactly what they did because the wind was unbelievable. It didn't look like it down there, and it didn't maybe even feel like it. That wind was significant. They could have squibbed it, but the ball gets down there faster that way. They kicked the ball high, and Steve Breaston, I think, made a great individual effort. What are you gonna do? I wouldn't second guess that call."

On if the refs would have put time back on the clock without his lobbying:

"Well, I think they would have put it back on. When I asked for the timeout I looked at the scoreboard and what I saw was 32 seconds…so I was lobbying for four. I think the referee didn't see 32. By the time the call got in to him, he saw 30. The linesman was trying to spot the ball, so he wasn't in position to see. He had to spot the ball first. But the referee of course should have looked at the clock, which is what he did."

On if this game is a turning point:

"Well, what are turning points? I thought we had turning points two weeks ago. We've just got to take one game at time. There is a lot of football left and we are not obviously a great football team because we've had too many things happen to us. That isn't an excuse. It's just the truth. We've had three games where we were in a position in the fourth quarter in some way shape or form to win the game and we couldn't find a way to do it. Then we've had two others that went down to the lat second and one that went into overtime. It's a great conference and anyone that demeans winning the big ten championship…that's their problem."

More on Mario Manningham:

"Well, I think I said earlier, nothing Mario does will ever surprise me. He's got competitiveness about him, he's got wonderful ability, and he listens. He's coachable. He wants to be good. He came in here all summer. That's hard for high school kid to give up a summer. Some guys don't want to do it because most guys don't have to compete like that in high school. He understood that he needed to learn and he needed to compete to be able to play. I told him early on you're going to have to be here to learn how to workout, run, lift, and these guys will teach you some things. I give him a lot of credit. He comes from a great high school athletic program. They don't get any better than the guys that coached him. So he's had a lot of advantages, but he has done what it takes to be able to do some things well. Now he has got a lot to learn and a long ways to go, so don't give him the Biletnekoff award today."

On the defense:

"Well, I think our defensive coaches did a great job. In my mind, in looking at the film, Michael Robinson is an electrifying athlete. I thought we had a good plan in terms of the way we rotated guys in there. Terrance Taylor gave us some snaps. Our linebackers were good. But if you had told me that we would play as well defensively as we did with a true freshman at safety and Jamar Adams getting his first start, I never would have believed it. So Ron English, Steve Stripling, Jim Herrmann…they kept those kids believing and they did a lot of good things out there today."

On if he believes in program wins or program losses:

"Well they're all losses if you lose. This program is in great shape because we've got outstanding players. We've lost some games but you measure a program over a number of years. So this program is in great shape…and it has been. Now every time you lose a game there are people that say the sky is falling. One of the measures of this program is the Big Ten championship. We're disappointed when we don't win it. What we're trying to do is recruit good people and have them compete to the best of their ability. Sometimes, because of the numbers that you have when you get injuries at certain positions, you're not going to be as good a football team."

On is this is the same feeling he had after the comeback victory over Virginia 10 years ago:

"Well that was so long ago...I forgot (lauging). They're all special. When you come from back, when you come from behind…that's what I used when I was a kid playing games with myself. The count was 3-2 and I was throwing the strikeout pitch to the batter. Or I was throwing balls and it was 4th down and 6 and we had to have a touchdown to win. That's what every kid does growing up. He puts himself in those positions, and a lot of times in life they come true if you believe. These guys believed. We had a great week of practice. I mean a GREAT week. Believe me, that takes special people when you lose like we did a week ago."

On if he felt the Big Ten title would have been totally out of reach had they lost:


On the upcoming game:

"We're going to go on the road. We've got to prove that we can handle a big win. Minnesota…I respect the way they played. These games are all physical. Guys come out of them, and a lot of times they can't practice Tuesday or Wednesday because they're hurt. They want to play so they get ready to play by Saturday. I think Jim Herrmann deserves some credit because God knows he took a lot of criticism about the spread offense. I think against he's done against Michigan State and against Penn State a pretty damn good job! So some of you that wanted to criticize, I think it's only fair that you give him some credit."

On the offensive series after Leon Hall's interception:

"If we had lost this game, I would have blamed myself. When Leon Hall intercepted the ball, that penalty was costly. We had a holding penalty. What I should have said was, let's throw the ball in the endzone. But we were so concerned with making Penn State use their timeouts because our defense had played so well…the one touchdown they scored was when the defense isn't even on the field. So had we lost this game, I would have blamed myself because instead of being so concerned with them using all of their timeouts and maybe kicking a field goal…we left them out there. In that situation they've got four downs. Normally you've got to stop them three downs and then they punt. In that situation there wasn't going to be a 4th down where you're going get the ball back. You've got to stop four downs and their damn hard to stop. That's a good football team and he's a great athlete, so I got off the hook there."

On Chad Henne's poise:

"When it's one second on the clock, the game is on the line, there are millions and millions of people watching on TV, and there are 111,000 people in the stadium, and you take the ball and throw it perfectly with people who are trying to sack you…I'd say that's a lot of poise. Because it isn't like there are going to be any second chances."

On what he tells kid about criticism:

"What I do is I get some clips of some articles that are about our team and about some of the criticisms they take because that is all part of it. I want to be able to call a guy and say hey, I know what you're going through. Don't pay any attention to it. I know it bothers you. I know you know it about it. But it doesn't mean anything. It doesn't mean ANYTHING. And it's part of this arena, so don't feel sorry for yourself. Don't get mad."

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