Big Ten Media Day: Carr Goes In-Depth

Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr stepped away from the dais to speak more in depth with the local media about some of the issues facing his 2007 squad. Among the topics covered were the future of Carson Butler, offseason attrition, the status if his incoming freshman class, and more.

On if he can shed any light on what happened to keep to Michigan/Notre Dame series from going on hiatus:

“Not really. There was a point there where I understood the same things that some of you had learned… that there was going to be a period in there where we wouldn’t play. Quite honestly that was really disappointing to me because I don’t think it made any sense scheduling. I’m just excited that they were able to work it out because I think it makes a lot of sense.”

On the players that are not on the current roster that were on the spring roster (Quintin Patilla, Justin Schifano, Cobrani Mixon, and James McKinney):

“James McKinney has a medical issue, so I can’t really speak to that other than to say that we’re hoping that he can get his health back to where it needs to be.”

“Cobrani has transferred.”

“Justin Schifano has decided that he’s not going to any longer play football.”

“Quintin will be… he will report next week.”

On if Schifano is still in school:

“I think he was trying to find a way where he could stay in school. It was an issue that he just decided that he didn’t want to play anymore. He would have to tell you (if he is staying in school).”

On if there is any chance Carson Butler can rejoin the team:

“I’m evaluating that situation right now. I’ve got to make a decision on it. There’s a little bit more information I need to evaluate. I may have something for you on that next week one way or the other.”

On if all of the incoming freshmen are cleared:

“Yeah, to the best of my knowledge they are all clear.”

On if walk-on Mike Milano will still be part of the wrestling team this year:

“He is going to play football. I don’t know that (he’s going to wrestle). Those seasons overlap. He had such a desire to play football that he talked to his coaches and his parents…and he definitely wants to play football. I’m not sure how that will work.”

On if Mario Manningham is back to where he wants him to be:

“Early in the summer he was having some issues, but I think his conditioning has really come along. He did some things late in the summer that our players… he can make everybody stop and say “wow!” Those are the reports I get.”

On one or two things that he would like to see work themselves out when fall camp starts:

“I think Justin Boren has really distanced himself at center. I think the right guard and the right tackle position...we’ve got to sort those out.”

“Defensively, Obi Ezeh had a great spring, but he was at the SAM linebacker position. He played last fall at the inside position. Based on what we saw in the spring and based on where Shawn Crable is, we’ve got to give (Ezeh) a chance in there at the MIKE linebacker position with John Thompson and Austin Panter. We’ve got to give him a chance.”

“The freshmen that have come in…the freshmen defensive backs are all really talented guys. They’re all guys that can really run. We’ve got to find out how fast they’ve progressed in the secondary.”

On if it’s unusual to be talking about true freshmen starting at that level:

“I think if you look back, Ty Law started as a true freshman, Marlin Jackson started as true freshman, and Charles Woodson started as a true freshman. I wouldn’t say it’s unusual. I think it takes a special player to do it. I wouldn’t count that out.”

On if this crop of DB’s has the kind of talent that Law, Jackson, and Woodson had:

“These guys come in with enough hype. The expectations are great for all of them. I’m not going to add to that. Certainly we’re hoping. But until you get them on the field and you’ve been with them a couple of weeks through the drudgery of training camp and all of the meetings and see how they respond to that… for some guys physically and mentally, it becomes too much and they regress a little bit. We’ll just have to see.”

On whether Morgan Trent is set on one side or if competition is open for both sides:

“I think you prefer to put a guy to one side, but we’ve just got to find out how fast they pick things up. Certainly with the receivers we have we’ll get a pretty fast read on how they react to the pressure of guys that can run and are experienced. I don’t think it’s going to take a long time.”

On if he is in favor of a bye week in the schedule:

“Yeah. I think that’s an issue that I think everybody recognizes as important for the players. It’s only fair to them. There’s no easy way to do it without extending the season. My preference is to start a week early and build a bye week in. I think our coaches in the Big Ten prefer that, but to do that would take a change in NCAA rules. Because you’re playing some non-conference games at the beginning of the season, there would be a lot of other conferences that do not favor that. So it’s a pretty complicated issue. If you keep the rule as it is, then you would have to play in December. I think that’s probably going to happen at some point.”

On how well he knew Bill Walsh:

“I had an opportunity to meet him in 1998. I had a couple of questions that I asked him and he at one point wrote me a letter. I talked to him at another convention. I didn’t know him well, but certainly he is one of those guys that has the great respect of everybody that played or coached against him.”

On Bill Walsh’s book:

“It was a great book. That was one of the wonderful things about him. He shared a lot of information there that made a lot of people better coaches. Tremendous organization guy. He was a hall of famer. That’s the deal.”

On Marques Slocum:

“Marques has not had an easy road here. What he had to do go through…to pay his way through… showed a real desire to seize the opportunity that could be here if were able to come up with the money and he were able to get admitted to school. I’m hoping that he’ll be able to realize the dream that he has been seeking.”

On if he is cleared to go:

“I think there is one thing left with he has got to do with one class, so I can’t say he has been cleared, but I expect him to be.”

On conference expansion:

“I think we have a great conference. I’ve talked to coaches that are involved in that conference playoff game and I don’t find many guys that like it, so it’s hard for me to get excited about that. But that’s really the presidents and the AD’s. I think if you go to twelve teams, I don’t know how you avoid…if you add a conference game, you play ten conference games and continue to do what we’re doing now, which is you don’t play two. I’m sure there would be some people who would prefer that as opposed to having a conference (championship) game. But once you go to twelve, the prospect of passing up that much revenue that would come with a championship game would probably be too much for the conference to pass up. We’ll see. It will be interesting to see what happens.”

On the difficulty of coaching at a program with such high expectations:

“Well I think if you love competition and if you love trying to be the best and if you love being in a place where you have a chance to be the best, you have to take what comes with it. If you’re going to coach football at Michigan…and there are other places that are no different… the expectations are going to be high. When you don’t meet those, you’re going to have to deal with all the things that come with it. Sometimes it’s fun and sometimes it’s not so much fun (laughing). I don’t know of anybody that coaches that doesn’t truly love what they’re doing. It’s not a job that you do for the money, for the fame, or for the glory. There’s something addictive about the game and about the guys that you get a chance to work with and hopefully impact in ways that will have a positive influence on their lives.”

On if the issue with Butler is seeing where his head is…and if he is in any shape to come back:

“Those are some of the issues that we have to discuss…and I want to make sure that it’s the right thing for our team first of all…and for Carson second of all. I’ve got to make sure of that. As sure as I can be. Part of that will be dependant upon what his responses are. “

“I have met with him, but I have another meeting scheduled for the end of the week where I’ll really find out where we’re at.”

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