Monday Presser Transcripts - Week 3

University of Michigan head football coach Lloyd Carr addressed the media to break down the CMU game and look ahead to Notre Dame. Among the topics covered were the performances of Shawn Crable and Kevin Grady, defending the Notre Dame receivers, his record in South Bend, and more. A link to player comments is also included.

To review the comments from the players, click here.

Opening statement:

"I thought Central Michigan was a very physical team on both sides of the ball up front, and I think as a result of that, we got some very good things out of the game. I think Central Michigan, based on the way they played Boston College and the way they played against us, is going to be a factor in the Mid-American Conference. I thought we did some very good things, first of all. I thought our defense did a good job against the rushing game. I thought we gave excellent pressure on the quarterback, and I thought we played fast. We had one touchdown in there where our safety overran the post, but that's a play that was new and certainly he'll learn from that. I thought the thing that we improved dramatically on was our field goal team. Our protection was very shoddy the first game, and typically that's something that happens because it's a high-injury play and the practice at the training camp was something that we tried to avoid. I thought Garrett Rivas had one of his better days at Michigan. He kicked the ball and got great height on it and made his field goals. The other thing that as I looked at the film, our kickoff team struggled some, and I think part of that is the fact that we're kicking off -- as I look at our is statistics and our statistics across the country, the intent of the rule change to limit the tee to one inch I think is having the impact that they wanted it to have, and that is that more kicks returned because the ball is not being kicked as deep. With that said, we had a couple guys that got blocked, didn't get out of their lane, missed a tackle. But certainly we've got to do a better job this Saturday. I thought Kevin Grady played as well as he's played here. He ran extremely hard. I thought he hit the holes, and it was good to see that. On defense, Shawn Crable had his best game at Michigan. He should be a dominating player if he continues to play the way he has. David Harris has played extremely well in both games. Offensively, Chad Henne played well. So we had a number of guys that got better, and I think as a team we got better, and going to South Bend we'll need to be at our best. Notre Dame is an outstanding football team, great balance offensively. The Penn State game they controlled the ball 19 minutes in the first half, and if you do that, you're going to win the game. I think that's fundamental, and certainly that's something that is up to our offense and our defense. It means not allowing them to sustain long drives where they wear a defense down, and certainly our offense needs to help them by putting some points on the board."

"I think Notre Dame is going to score points. They're too good not to. So we've got to play our best game in terms of field position, special teams, but we've got our work cut us for us on defense because they've got two outstanding receivers in Rhema McKnight and Jeff Samardzija. Darius Walker is in my judgment a great football player. They find ways to get him the ball other than handing it to him. He's the third leading receiver. I like Notre Dame obviously; Brady Quinn is an outstanding quarterback. "Defensively, they return all the guys -- the main guys are from a year ago. They're a very, very active front. They move the front a lot. Their linebackers are not big but they're extremely athletic. I think two of the better safeties in the country, (Chinedum) Ndukwe, and (Tom) Zbikowski is a great football player and an outstanding return man. I mean, it seems like he's been there forever. The corners are quick and their special teams are outstanding.

On Brady Quinn:

"I think he struggled as a true freshman like all true freshmen struggle. I remember playing him in our game his first year. I think he has gotten bigger. I don't know what he weighed at that point, but it's obvious that he's developed physically. He's been in a lot of big games, and he's made tremendous strides in terms of his presence, his understanding of the game, and of course the more pressure you're under, the more you learn to deal with that. Certainly he's had all those things, so he's right where he wants to be."

On defending different schemes week after week:

"I think that's one of the challenges that defensive coaches and defensive players have. If you can simplify and yet still have enough that you create problems for the other team, that's the ideal thing. But there's always the risk and it's always a delicate question on how much to do because when you do too much, your players think too much, and when you're thinking too much, you're not reacting, you're not able to play fast. So it is a challenge that I think defensive players have today. They have a much, much tougher job than ever before because you're getting so many different formations each game that you didn't get the week before because almost every team, that's what they're doing. They're built on multiple formations, multiple personnel groupings. It's the greatest challenge at any time in the (history of the) game."

On Notre Dame tight end John Carlson:

"He's a big guy, a senior. He's a good blocker, and he's their fourth leading receiver. If you add the two catches that (Marcus) Freeman has, their tight ends have caught 12 balls. Carlson is averaging over 10 yards a catch. He's a guy that runs well for as big as he is, I think an excellent football player."

On Chad Henne's progress since his first game at Notre Dame:

"It's night and day. Chad, if you go back and analyze that game, he played remarkably well for a guy in his second start. I think it was his second start. But the communication part of it, getting the plays, just the signals, and getting plays checked at the line of scrimmage even though we had to redo some of the things at that game, but we had some problems because of that that we don't have anymore. He's a completely different guy physically, emotionally, intellectually. I think he's changed, he's matured, and he's excited about this game."

On running the ball against Notre Dame:

"I think the teams that we've played are good teams. There are a lot of good teams out there. But I think you can stop the running game. There are fronts that you can get into that force teams to throw the football, and if that happens, then certainly we have to be able to throw it. We're confident that we can run the football. Now, whether we're going to run it that effectively, probably not, 250 yards a game is not something that is easy to do against any competition, and we certainly will have to be more balanced. I think that we have thus far, but I think he's done a good job of getting us into the right plays, and I think he's done a good job, particularly on Saturday, of throwing the football from different launch points. I think he threw the ball extremely well on the run, and I thought he threw the ball well in the pocket."

On kicking the ball off the new tee:

"It's much more difficult to get the ball as high as he did a year ago, so any time they're catching the football on the 10-yard line -- in the game on Saturday we averaged taking over the ball in field position I think 35 yards, and the 35 yard line central was at the 30. We did some very good things after the first kickoff in the second half. I might mention Anton Campbell did a wonderful job in our first game on the kickoff team, and he did an excellent job again on Saturday. It's a combination of things. But any time you kick the ball off, you know that there's going to be a talented guy back there, and I think teams have spent a lot more time than they used to on kick returns. We're all talking to guys in the NFL. I think especially teams that have dangerous kickoff return guys, and Notre Dame did a tremendous job in the Georgia Tech game creating great field position on their kickoff return team. That will be a challenge for us."

On the difficulty of winning a road opener:

"I think any time you go on the road, and particularly in the opener, you've got some new players, young players that have not been in that environment. In our case the first two games we've had a lot of people cheering for them, and so the crowd noise, the things that go with the roar of the crowd when something goes great for Notre Dame, all of those are things that you have to try to prepare them for, and yet there's a certain part of it that you can't prepare them for. It comes back to the poise and the discipline that you want to have as a team, and that's really up to the young guys to pay attention as they go in there and know before they get there that it's not the same and listen to the older guys, the guys that have been there. They're all going to tell them, hey, you're going to be nervous. If you're not nervous going into this game, then you don't have any blood in your body. But that's all part of it, and once the ball is kicked off, then that field is the same size as it is at home, you just have a little bit of noise that you have to deal with."

On what made Shawn Crable's performance Saturday the best he has had at Michigan:

"I think Crable should be a great pass rusher before he's through playing here. In the opening game, I was disappointed with the way he rushed the passer and he was disappointed. I thought his mindset, he was much lower (against Central Michigan), he got off on the snap much quicker and he really came as hard as you could expect anybody to come. He drew a penalty there late in the game, and if you watch him rush on a big tackle there, it was something to see. I think he's confident, I think he likes where he's playing, and we've got a lot of things on his plate as far as different rushes. We'll try to utilize his abilities."

On what made Kevin Grady's performance Saturday the best he has had at Michigan:

"I liked that he really ran with power. One of the issues that we've had with Kevin in terms of his improvement and his development is that he's a big strong guy but he has a tendency to run too upright. I thought in that game he got his pads down, he ran lower, and he's always run hard, but if you get your pads down and you can hit, then you have the ability to run through the tackle, to break tackles, and that's what I liked about him in that game."

On the differnece between the environment at Notre Dame and that in other rivalry games:

"I think the biggest difference is when you go in to Notre Dame Stadium, you know the colors. But the crowd noise, I think there are a lot of stadiums that have great fan support. I think most of the places we go, when we go in there, you know what you're going to deal with. I'd say the biggest difference is the visual keys."

On Notre Dame freshman tackle Sam Young:

"We recruited Sam, he's a great football player, but I think what has happened there is he's earned that starting position. I think there are a lot of things that may be said in recruiting, but the reality is, regardless of all the promises, a guy needs to know when he comes, he's got to earn it. I don't think that's different anywhere, any time."

On Mark Bihl:

"I think Mark Bihl is a kid that grew up on a farm down in central Ohio, and he had some very difficult times here when he was a sophomore because he thought he was ready to play and he was not big and strong enough, but yet he had some opportunities. He really had to make a decision on whether he wanted to fight through all the discomfort and the unhappiness that he had. I'm glad he did because I think, first of all, what we're doing up front is a tremendous thing for him personally because he's a very athletic guy and he's a very smart guy. I think Bihl has great character. Did you know that he just bought a farm. Did he tell you about that? I'm going to go down and farm for him here in a while (laughter)."

On Obi Oluigbo:

"I thought Obi played well in this game. I thought a week ago on Kevin Grady's touchdown run, he made a great block out on the corner. He's another guy, he came here as a linebacker, and he's one of the few guys that I think he's probably the only guy I can remember that I called him in, and when I recruited him, I told him I'm not sure where you're going to end up playing here, but he's done a great job at school, he's a quality kid, comes from a great family, great character. I called him in at one point a couple years ago and told him I'm moving you to fullback. Well, he didn't like it so we didn't have a very good relationship there for a while. But I kept telling him I felt like it would give him a great opportunity to play if he would embrace the role, and I would guess now he's happy where he is because he's a heck of a player."

On covering Notre Dame's wide receivers:

"I think it's a team game, and if Brady Quinn can stand back there and not have pressure and never get knocked down and never get sacked, then you can put Deion Sanders and Charles Woodson out there and it's not going to do any good. So it starts with being able to have great pressure because if you don't, you're not going to stop them. Now, if you give pressure, it's still not easy because these guys are fast, and I think they're playing probably as well as two receivers anywhere. And then they've got a back that they dump the ball to. They've got their work cut out for them."

On the play of Charles Stewart and Morgan Trent:

"Charles has got a lot of valuable experience. I think as a young player playing for the first time, he learned some things. I thought he played much better in this game than in the opener, and Morgan Trent played better. It's a competitive situation, and I think it's worth it for us to have two guys that compete as hard as they do, and I think it'll make them both better and I think that should make our team stronger."

On some of the Notre Dame players that stand out on defense:

"(Derek) Landri and (Trevor) Laws up front, they are very, very active guys. (Ronald) Talley is a guy that got a chance to start last year at one defensive end. There's another guy that we recruited that got injured in the middle of the season. But their front four are athletic, and Laws and Landri are two guys, they just don't stay blocked. They move them by design and line up on the card and they'll slam down into the inside or they'll loop out. And of course the linebackers, I think they're not the biggest guys but they're guys that run extremely well. The guy that has shown up, (Mike) Richardson, the nickel back, made a lot of plays in the Penn State game. I mean, he can run. So they're playing their nickel back in sometimes against normal personnel, which I think they like that because it puts more speed on the field.  I already mentioned (Tom) Zbikowski and (Chinedum) Ndukwe. Those guys up front, they're the real deal."

On Lamarr Woodley:

"I think LaMarr, first of all, he understands that this is his last year at Michigan. When I met with each guy last winter before we started spring practice, he had some specific goals that he wants to achieve as a player, and of course as a captain. He understands that leadership is more about what you do than what you say. So I think he understands as a leader on this football team it's important that he play as hard as he can. But I think LaMarr has always been a motivated guy. He loves to play, loves the competition, so I think those are the things that motivate him."

On his record at Notre Dame Stadium:

"What I'm trying to focus on is this date, this week. I tell our team, the truth is all the things -- in a game like this, one of the fun things about it is all the hype, all the tension. I mean, it'll be nonstop, and that's part of the fun of it, but it's also a part that you have to deal with. So you want to go in (to South Bend) in a positive frame of mind, focused on just the things that you need to do as a player or as a coach to help your team win because it's a team game. I mean, there's nobody going down there that's going to win the game for themselves or by themselves. I think that's true in this game. That's why it's so much fun, because together you can do a lot of things that you can't do separately."

On if running the football better makes them a better red zone team:

"I think running the football makes you better at everything. Now, you still have to protect the football. These games, if you look back on them, what they come down to, turnovers, kicking game. Just take a look. I'm not going to do your homework for you, but that's what happens. Every guy is going to play as hard as he can on both teams, and there's going to be great effort. There's going to be some great plays on both sides of the football, and that's the joy of playing in a game like this against Notre Dame -- in a tradition that we both have. What else could you want?"

On if he is searching for receiving roles:

"I think Adrian Arrington has done some very, very good things in the first two games. He missed some significant playing time in the fall with a bump and a bruise, pulled muscle. So he didn't go into the opener (healthy), as a matter of fact, he missed one day of practice that week. But what I've seen in the games I really like. I think he's done a great job blocking. In the limited opportunities he has got the football, I thought he has done a good job, and he's done some very good things in practice. I think Arrington hopefully is ready to play a bigger role."

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