Monday Presser Transcripts - Week 5

University of Michigan head football coach Lloyd Carr addressed the media Monday afternoon. He recapped the 27-13 over the Badgers, looked ahead to the Minnesota game, discussed the improvement shown by Adrian Arringotn, and more.

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Opening Statement:

"I thought the story of that game was special teams. Our coverage teams were outstanding. We did a great job on kickoffs. LaTerryal Savoy came down, made a great play once, knocked them back inside the 20 yard line. Johnny Sears made two great plays on kickoff coverage. Steve Brown made a great play. So we had three young players there in the kickoff team. It's been a point of emphasis since early in the season. Normally your special teams get better as the season goes on if you're playing a lot of young players. But those are three guys I want to mention because they were really outstanding. Our punt team, Darnell (Hood), I think we talked about him on Saturday after the game, but he made a great play. Of course, Zoltan (Mesko) had a great punt. Turner Booth made a big play in that game hustling down and getting the ball. Garrett Rivas continues to kick the ball as well or better than he has since he's been here. Of course, Steve Breaston, 116 yards of punt returns, we had the kind of field position because of our special teams that gave our defense a chance to play at the long end of the field. It gave our offense awfully good field position throughout the game, particularly in the second half.

"On defense, I want to mention Willis Barringer. Willis is one of the more positive guys I've ever met. He's a fun guy to be around because he's always upbeat, he's a team guy, extremely unselfish. He's developed into a great leader in our program. He's a fifth-year senior. He broke a bone in his hand two weeks ago, came back, I think the surgery was on Monday or Tuesday, but he came back and wanted to travel, felt like he could play in an emergency. Painful injury. Then on Saturday, Ron (English) put him in. He had an outstanding game. A year ago he had some great, outstanding efforts for us before suffering a knee injury. Barringer, I'm really proud of him. I thought Terrance Taylor had his best game. He played over 50 snaps. That's a lot of snaps for a nose guard. And Will Johnson is having a bang-up year. Will is a guy that alternates in there with Terrance, Alan Branch at the other tackle position. He's healthy for the first time in his career. He is one heck of a football player, doing a great job. Of course, Alan Branch I think had the best game of his career.

"Offensively, Adrian Arrington, I want to mention him because he's a guy that I see getting better and better. I think his role will expand. He's a talented guy. He's a big, strong guy, 6-4, over 200 pounds, and he can run. It's great to see him gain the kind of confidence that should enable him to play at a high level the rest of the season. Of course, Alex Mitchell, we went into this season, there was all kinds of question marks about our line. Alex was competing for a starting position. I think he's gotten better each game. He really has developed some confidence. He's playing with much better leverage. I think he's doing a good job. I think Mike Hart, even though we didn't break any big plays in that game, primarily because Wisconsin was bringing an eighth and ninth guy down into the box, there's always people to block. But Hart made a lot of very good runs, gained a lot of tough yardage. I thought he had an excellent game. The disappointments, I'm disappointed in the big play for a touchdown. That's the last thing you want to do when you're playing at home is get off to a start where you give up a big play for a touchdown. We had a missed assignment. Sometimes people think, well, assignments are easy. Well, that play came off of play-action. It wasn't an easy assignment, but certainly it's one that we have to learn from. I don't like our third-down conversion. I think some of that credit goes to Wisconsin because they have an excellent defensive team. The biggest issue is when you get to third down, you can expect man coverage and you've got to beat the coverage. Somebody's got to get open. You don't have long to do it because a lot of times they're bringing five guys or maybe six. It's hard to pass protect when people know it's a pass. But certainly we will work hard to improve that area. I was very disappointed in the personal foul penalty that led really to their score there at the end of the half, in the second quarter. That drive may have gone the other way. Maybe it wouldn't have. We lost our poise there. That's part of learning to play. You can't make those kind (of mistakes), you can't lose your poise because it hurts your team and certainly it did there. The turnovers, Chad was responsible for one in the second quarter. He should have dumped the ball down. Because Wisconsin was in a coverage to match up, they had everybody covered deep, and Chad has always been good about dumping that ball down. Certainly we were taking a shot. He needs to dump the ball off in that case. The first one, Mario has to catch that ball. I take responsibility for the third one because the first two plays there in that last drive that we had, there's 10 guys in the box. We can only block eight. The tailback can't block anybody, the quarterback can't block anybody, and the wide receiver's out wide. We had eight to block 10. Our back got hit two plays in a row, guys that are unblocked. I just decided to take a shot. It didn't work.

"Then I'm disappointed. I normally don't criticize our players, but I'm very disappointed in Rueben Riley because Rueben and Jake Long have been bugging me since they got here to get a pass to them, to let them carry the ball. So I designed that play to get Rueben a pass (laughter). I don't like what he did with the ball. He lost five yards. He didn't run with it. That play's out of our playbook. If these guys come around complaining about not getting the ball thrown to them, just tell them that, if you get a chance, you got to do something with it.(laughter)"

On Minnesota's running backs:

"I think they've been very, very productive. Any time you've got two, it's a great advantage because the way they play ball, they're going to get a lot of eight or nine-man fronts. It's hard to stay healthy. They had two great backs a year ago. They've always seemed to have at least two. These guys don't have the experience, but they're very, very talented. I think they really complement each other because one is 256, a converted linebacker, so you know what he brings to the table. He's gained over 300 yards. Amir Pinnix is the same thing. He's a 200-pounder with great feet and finds the hole well. I think it's a typical Minnesota team with an outstanding offensive line. What I think they really present that makes it so difficult to defend is they've got a quarterback, Bryan Cupito, who is very smart. The passing attack that they want to utilize, he's outstanding because it's based on the run. When you get eight or nine guys up now, he looks out and sees single coverage, he sees a free safety in the middle of the field, now he's going to audible to individual cuts. They've got excellent receivers. Ernie Wheelwright is in his 10th year, at least it seems like he's been there forever. Matt Spaeth, Glen Mason has called him the finest tight end in the United States. As a coach, you don't make that kind of a statement unless you're sure. Offensively, they've always given us and everybody problems. Defensively, a year ago we couldn't move the football. It should be a real test for us."

On the offensive approach when teams take Mario Manningham away:

I think everybody's going to try to take him away as a deep threat, when you have a guy that's made the big plays he's made. That's why if you watch the game, he made two or maybe three very good catches on the intermediate routes, in front of the corner, man-coverage. You have different ways to get him the football. But certainly everybody who watches those films, the thing they're going to say is, hey, don't give up big plays. That's fundamental to this game. There's nobody that's not going to try to take it away. There's certain ways you can take it away. You have got to find other ways to move the football. It's not a one-man, we're not designed to statistically get the ball to Mario. We're designed to get the ball to the open man."

On if the increased attention on Manningham makes it more necessary for someone like Arrington to step up:

"Absolutely. You can't double-cover. If you're going to play a three-deep zone then obviously that opens things up in the running game. If you're going to play man-coverage, double Mario, then that means there are other guys that are single-covered.There's no question that on third down, even second down a lot of times, and first down, if you want to be in a one-back set, three-wide receivers, then you can -- if you know what you're getting, you get some opportunities to get other people the ball. Adrian has certainly proved to be reliable. The ball he caught where Chad was coming off the bootleg where he was running to his right, that ball was thrown with great velocity. Adrian, it was not an easy catch. He's proven to be reliable. I think certainly he's gained confidence."

On Brandon Graham:

"I think when we recruited Brandon, he played part of his high school career as a defensive end. He's a great athlete. He loves to play. He reminds me in some ways of LaMarr when he first came here. He's not intimidated. I think he's going to be a terrific player. He also understands that, when you're 270 pounds, you're as athletic as he is, you're going to be able to do some things up front. In terms of his future and Michigan football, it's something I think he understands is in his best interest as well as our team. He took to it like a fish takes to water, so to speak."

On Adrian Arrington:

"Adrian. Adrian Arrington was in our camp prior to his junior year. We liked him from the beginning. We saw enormous potential. Of course, we recruited him as hard as we could. We were excited he chose to come to Michigan. He's a good student, he's a bright guy. He has wonderful talent. A lot of times as a freshman, you really don't understand what it takes at this level to be as good as you can be. Yet I think he was making some strides. I think the injury a year ago was really a difficult time for him. When he came back this spring, he was not full go. Attitudinally, he wasn't where I felt he needed to be. I just felt I was going to confront what I saw from an attitudinal standpoint. I felt he had so much ability that I would be doing him a disservice. But I give him the credit. I think he's listened. He's really coming on. That's the best I can state it."

On if the preparation is different for a night game:

"Hopefully the sun will shine so we'll be able to see the ball (laughter). No, we're not going to practice at night. We're not going to practice inside unless the weather dictates that."

On the Little Brown Jug:

"Unfortunately, I was unable to show our team what it looks like. I love the little brown jug. I think looking back at it, the history, the tradition of that trophy, it's the oldest in college football history, which you all know, and you probably don't care. If you're a Michigan football player, if you're a Minnesota football player, I guarantee you care."

On if the players are aware of the Little Brown Jug's historical significance:

"Yes. Terrance Taylor volunteered to tell the other players about it. He knew the essentials. He knew the fundamental story. Carson Butler. There's a guy who has only been here a year. I know they're paying attention."

On Tim Jamison :

"That's one of the real disappointments thus far, that he hurt himself. He got hurt in training camp. He had a great spring. Coming out of spring practice, you would say he was one of our best 11 football players because he is explosive. He made a couple plays in that game. They ran a counter play once, pulled a guard, he destroyed the play. He's a very tenacious pass-rusher. He's just now getting healthy. He's not a hundred percent. He still played. His best football this season is yet to come."

On the versatility Jamison showed when he dropped into pass coverage:

"I'm glad you mention that because here is a guy who is dropping off to zone blitz, so he's the end away from the blitz. The blitz is coming from the other side. In those plays, you ask a defensive end to drop. That's something that they're totally unaccustomed to doing. They don't get as many reps because normally they're rushing, they're playing their position. But he (Tim) made an outstanding play. That ball is probably going to be completed, and it's probably 15, 20 yards down the field, just hustling. He's got a great intensity about him. He came back after that play. I think the sack was a missed assignment on the part of Wisconsin. So he was free. The thing I liked about that play was that he never hesitated. He's so explosive up the field. When he made those two plays back to back, I was excited for him. It's easy to get discouraged if you're not playing because you're not as healthy and you can't play as well as you want to. I think it's a good sign for us that he played more in that game. He brings a lot to our defense."

On how Michigan's zone blocking scheme compares to Minnesota's:

"I think there's part of it that's very similar. They have a zone scheme. When they run the ball to the perimeter, they use what we call a man scheme, which we don't do. There are some similarities."

On if he wants his players to think about last year's game:

"My take has always been I don't think there's much to the revenge deal. It comes down to how you prepare, the emotional approach that you take in terms of getting the rest you need, particularly we're getting now these next four, five weeks into the heart of the season. You see a lot of teams that wear down. It's physical. That game last Saturday, was a physical, hard hitting football game. If you don't take care of yourself, you can't recover, you don't come back, you're not as sharp mentally. I think those are the important things you go in with: It's a new team, it's a new season."

On Steve Brown:

"Steve Brown, the one thing you can tell is a guy's competitiveness if he loves special teams. Steve Brown has had a wonderful impact on our special teams. He runs extremely well. He is extremely tough. I think he's going to be a wonderful player here. A lot of times a guy, if he's not playing on offense or defense, he's not excited about special teams. I can remember as true freshmen, Chris Floyd and Chris Howard, ran down on kickoffs for two or three years. It was pretty easy to predict what kind of football players they were going to be. Steve Brown's the same way. Greg Matthews, has made some plays in practice that you'll see. He's going to be something."

On if Carlos Brown will redshirt:

"Yes. I want to talk to Carlos because I want to know what he's thinking. When you get to this part of the season, you've got to make some decisions on some guys. Really, I want to know what they think. I don't want to waste a guy's eligibility for a season unless he is excited about doing that. You cannot predict what kind of a role they're going to play. It's just impossible to do."

On if Steve Schilling is a candidate for a redshirt because of the time he has missed with mono:

"I think at some point he's going to return to practice. My guess is it's going to take him another month to get back. He has lost a substantial amount of weight, strength. He's missed all that practice time. I would say your assessment is probably accurate."

On what Minnesota's breaking ground on a new stadium will do for them:

"For their program, it's going to be an unbelievable difference. So I'm happy for them. I've taken a lot of teams into the Metrodome. They get great support. It's different going and playing on a campus. I just think the students really mean everything in college football. I think it will be a different atmosphere. I think that will be great for all of us in this conference who compete against them."

On the right side of the line:

"That's why I mention Mike Hart, of course Alex. It's difficult. A lot of times when you don't run for 200 yards, people say, they're not blocking anybody. That isn't true. Defensive football has changed. Obviously every guy wants to get better. We want to get better. Against outstanding defenses, you're just not going to be able to run the football like you do in some other games, which means that you have to be a balanced team. If you have the ability to throw the ball, then they've got to mix their coverages. They cannot bring eight guys down every down. If they do and you're balanced, they're going to pay a price. That's the chess match part of it. That's the fun as a player and a coach, when you play against people that are mixing it up. It makes it tough because then if you can be successful, you know you've really done something that's difficult."

On Terrance Taylor:

"Terrance is a fun guy to be around. If you've been around him at all, he has a good time, he's got a great sense of humor. As an athlete, he has wonderful strength, he's tough, he's competitive, he's got wonderful athleticism. He's 300-some pounds. He likes to mix it up. He loves the fray."

On if it feel different to play after a Minnesota Twins afternoon game:

"It is a little bit different. I see where somebody was saying if they had to play on Thursday night, they'd have to leave on Wednesday afternoon. We're going to leave Friday night. We're going to have dinner here just like we would for a home game, then we'll take a flight. We don't have to miss any class. We wouldn't want to do that. There will be a difference. Saturday normally we would go over of to the stadium and work on some things in the kicking game that gives us an opportunity to prepare on that surface. But because of the baseball game, we won't be able to do that. That's out."

On Morgan Trent:

"I don't think that competition has changed. I think Johnny Sears has a chance. Sears, if he can maintain his concentration, because that's the difficult part for a young player. Charles Stewart has done a great job on special teams. Charles Stewart is continuing to compete. That competition is extremely close. I've been very pleased with the way Morgan has tackled. He made a couple of big tackles early in the game. Wisconsin gave us a scheme where they were bringing their big wide receivers. They were coming inside, cracking down what we call a crack block, a legal crack block. They were blocking our safeties. The ball squirted through there twice. Morgan made two very good tackles on a big back. I'm pleased with where we are there."

On defending the short passing game after Wisconsin's success:

"I was pleased with our pass defense. I think we didn't give up any big plays, with the exceptions of the play I mentioned earlier. But I thought we had such good pressure. What I really liked, David Harris had an outstanding game. Early in the game, they hurt us with some crossing, some short routs off of play-action. That's the same play I talked about where they beat us for a touchdown. We've certainly got improvements to make. But I do think we leveraged the football. We didn't let the ball outside of us. We didn't let it behind us, with the one exception. In some games, that's enough to beat you. We got a lot of things to work on, no doubt about that."

On getting Forcier snaps:

"I think that's the thing you can't control, you can't predict. Certainly I like an opportunity to play young players. I think there's two things, number one, the games (that we have on the schedule). Look at the schedule, you tell me where you think that's going to happen before it happens. I don't think so. And, secondly, this timing, there's not as many plays. The games aren't as long which creates a much more difficult scenario in terms of playing young players."

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