Monday Presser Transcripts - Week 7

Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr met with the media on Monday for his weekly press conference. He recapped the 31-13 victory over Michigan State, looked ahead to the Penn State game, touched on Mario Manningham's injury and more.

To hear the player comments, click here.

Opening Statement:

"I'm very impressed with this Penn State team, when you look offensively they rush for 191 yards a game, which is amongst the leaders in this country. They also have a great tailback, Tony Hunt. We tried to recruit him here. I thought for a minute we were going to get him, but he's having a great year. And of course, Levi Brown, I think is one of the best tackles in the nation. They have probably more speed at the skill positions than anyone we've played this year, and a quarterback that gets better every game. So Penn State, offensively, gives you a lot of problems. Defensively, they are equally impressive giving up less than 80 yards a game rushing. When you put those two statistics together, they've lost to two excellent teams on the road. So now we have to go back on the road and play our best game."

On Penn State's defense:

"Penn State, they are an eight-man front by design. They contain the football extremely well. They are well coached. I think (Jay) Alford is certainly an All-American candidate, a three-year starter, an outstanding football player, and of course their linebackers are extremely talented. Their secondary has two corners that can really run and cover. So it's an outstanding defense."

On his linebackers:

"I think Shawn Crable's role a year ago was more specialized. He didn't get off to a good start at the beginning of his junior year in training camp. He just didn't perform like we all knew he was capable of. So I think he's made dramatic improvement. I think he's having a great year. And Prescott Burgess at some point in training camp began to play like we expected him to. He played a year ago, he started a lot of games, but I think he's made dramatic strides. He's having an excellent year. I thought Saturday was his best game. I always expected that David Harris would become a great linebacker, and I think he's having a great year. I think they're all motivated. They all can play the game. They're all tough. I think they've done a great job."

On Steve Szabo's impact on the linebacking unit:

"I think they understand that Steve's expectations are extremely high. I think they've come to understand that his praise is hard earned. When they earn it, they know they're playing at a very high level. So I don't know other than that. For whatever reason, they're all playing extremely well."

On Ryan Mundy:

"I think Ryan has played extremely well. Going back into the spring, I was not very optimistic that he would play, because my experience with those injuries has not been very good. So when he came back in the fall and was allowed to have contact, he's really been a physical player. He's made a lot of good hits, a lot of good tackles. He can run. He's athletic. He's having a very, very good year."

On if Chad Henne is playing the best football of his career:

"I think he's played awfully well since he's been here. He's been through a lot of circumstances that have enabled him to gain a wide range of experience in a lot of different situations. I think in the Central Michigan game, even though we didn't throw the football much, that week in practice, that week in the game, if you watch him throw the football, there was a change. I think he's throwing the ball extremely well. I think he's very confident where to go with it and he's made a lot of plays."

On what kind of change there was in Henne:

"I don't know. You would have to ask him, and he might disagree with me. That would be unusual (laughter). I saw the ball...he's always had a strong arm. He's always had a good release. I just saw something it's hard to put my finger on. You might ask him that."

On if Mario Manningham going to play versus Penn State:

"Is he going to play? Well, we'll have to see."

On if he will comment on Manningaham's status:

"I don't have any comment on Mario. I'm sure you will understand, because I don't know everything there is to know. At some point I will. Make sure you leave your cells with me and I'll call you (laughter)."

On if he acknowledges that there are issues that he needs to find out about:

"I'm not acknowledging anything."

On if he will comment on the rumors that Manningham is out:

"Well, no, I can't. I just don't have anything to tell you. I really don't have anything to say."

On the emotion Penn State miht play with based on last year's outcome:

"First of all, I've always believed that the idea of what happened last year is, with very, very few exceptions, a dead dog. It doesn't matter whether you won. It doesn't matter whether you lost. It's really about the concentration that you have on this game this week. It's about what we do. We have no control over the opponent. We have no control over what they think or how they're going to play. We do have a lot of control over what we think and how we play. To me, that's what it's all about."

On when there would be an exception:

"When you have a real, real bad experience that you don't forget, that you can't forget, that's the exception."

On Deon Butler:

"He's an amazing football player. When you see what those guys did a year ago and the season they had. Of course (Derrick) Williams was highly touted and (Justin) King was highly touted, so it wasn't surprising that they would come in there and play like they did. But (Jordan) Norwood is an outstanding football player. They're fun to watch because they can run and they're tough. They're competitive. When you come in someplace a true freshman and play an important role in a great program, it speaks to your confidence, your composure to the fact that you're not a guy easily intimidated."

On the atmoshere at Penn State:

"I think when you fly in there, it's a beautiful place. It's a college town, much like Ann Arbor from the standpoint there's not a big metropolitan area there. What I like about their stadium from a playing standpoint is there is room on the field. It's not one of those places where you're backed up against the wall. So there's plenty of room; and the enthusiasm with which they support their team. And of course, it's the second largest stadium in the country, I think. The guys that always play for Penn State, they have great tradition, so they play the game like you like to play it."

On the importance of time of possession:

"I think it's like playing great defense or great offense. The key is to win. If you can run the football, stop the run, and you are good in protecting the football and not turning it over, then you have a great chance to win. I think the time of possession is an outcome of playing the game totally. So I think it's important. I don't know anybody who would not like to have the ball more than their opponent. If you have it more than your opponent, in most cases you have got a good chance to win."

On if he feels comfortable with Greg Mathews and the other receivers having to step up if Manningham can't go::

"I think Greg Mathews has done a great job up to this part of the season, and we felt confident in his ability from the first game. That's why we played him early. I think we anticipated at some point that his role would increase. I'm hoping that Carl Tabb, who has been nursing an injury throughout training camp in the fall, is close to 100 percent. I don't know if that answers your question."

On being without many injuries and playing with a consistent lineup for much of the year:

"It means a lot. The timing, the understanding, the experience, all those things are important. With that said, this is a game. Tyler Ecker missed the last two games, and so injury is a part of it. It's the least fun part. It's the worst part of my job. It's the part I hate the most. Yet it is a part of the game and it is a test of how your team responds. That's always the case."

On if Tyler Ecker will play this weekend:

"I don't know. I know Tyler told me on Friday that he expected to play this week, but I do not have a report yet so I can't answer that. I think Ross Ryan is okay. I don't know that he's where he was."

On having a healthy Jake Long this year:

"He's a great football player at a position that is as difficult to play as any place on the football field, maybe with the exception of quarterback. He's got every quality you want in a person and athlete. He's smart, he's tough. He loves to win. He's willing to do whatever his team needs him to do. He's made a major difference."

On the sack total for the defense being down the past two games:

"I think there is no question. I thought Michigan State had an excellent plan to make it difficult. They moved Stanton around and they had some great ideas in terms of the formations. They hurt us a couple of times because they did have a good plan. You hat to understand this, that you can keep from being sacked. I think Minnesota's plan was to throw the football five steps and get rid of it or play action. So we haven't had sacks, but I think we've had some pressure. At times in that game, we weren't able to get the kind of pressure we would like. But when you keep eight guys in there to protect, you're going to cut down on the sacks. Now, you don't have as many guys out. So there is a trade-off there."

On the noise in Beaver stadium:

"I've always told guys I recruit, you may go play 15 years in the NFL, but you're never going to play in front of a bigger crowd than as an 18-year-old freshman at Michigan. With that said, it's extremely loud. I think the positive for us is that we've been to Notre Dame. We've been to Minnesota, which was an extremely loud place to play. So I think that helps you. Still, that doesn't make it any less daunting a challenge in terms of the noise. It's not like every guy that will make that trip has been in those circumstances."

On playing Justin Boren and Carlos Brown instead of redshirting them:

"It was not, as it isn't many times, an easy decision. We just feel like (Boren) is in a position on that depth chart where he will get enough opportunities to play to make this a valuable year for him. That's why. (Carlos) had played earlier. I think there's something about the experience that you've gained in practice. For example, it's hard at this stage of the season to take a guy and put him in a backup role if you know you're not going to play him. That's not good for your team. Even though they may not get a lot of work in the games, they are going to get a lot of work in practice and hopefully they'll get enough game competition to make it worthwhile. But it's never an easy call. Sometimes it works out that it's easy, but sometimes you don't know until very late in the season whether it was the right move or not."

Is that your call or did you leave it up to him:

"I talked to him about it, yes."

On if it's easy to coach this team on taking the season one game at a time:

"I don't say that it's ever easy because you're dealing with a lot of personalities and personal goals that people have. Any time you're trying to take that many people and get them focused on one goal it's never easy. What I do say is that it's been a lot of fun because they have been highly motivated from the first day, from the winter, through the spring, through the summer. There are always some issues that are part of college life that as a coach you're involved with. It's really been, from a chemistry standpoint, a group of guys that get along well and support each other; guys that have played very hard on a daily basis. That has enabled them to improve throughout the course of the season. Anything they accomplish is going to be based on their ability to continue to improve and continue to stay focused on the task at hand."

On how much of that is coaching and how much of that is leadership:

"I don't have that answer. I think both are important. Without leadership from players on a football team, you're up against it. You're not going to be successful in terms of big goals."

On who's going to retire first, he or Joe Paterno:

"I read where Coach Paterno said he's going to coach how many more years? Ten? Well, I can assure you I'm going to be first."

On how he got into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame:

"I honestly don't know how I could get into any hall of fame. I received an award (from the organization), I don't know that I'm a member. I received an award there and I was honored to do so."

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