Monday Presser Transcripts - Week 3

Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr met with the media yesterday to discuss his team's loss to Oregon last Saturday and look ahead to this week's match-up with Notre Dame. Among the topics covered were Chad Henne's injury status, Ryan Mallett's first game as starter, the problems on defense and more.

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Opening Statement:

"What we will attempt to do tomorrow and Wednesday and Thursday is become a better tackling team, which means keeping the ball inside the defense, and preventing big plays. I think that's where it starts on defense. And offensively, we've got to do a better job taking care of the football, eliminating penalties that stop drives, and being a better team in the red zone because we passed up too many opportunities to score points that would have Saturday certainly have kept us in the game and give us a better chance to win. So that's what we're trying to do and we look forward to another rendition of one of the great rivalries in sport, Michigan-Notre Dame."

On who will be quarterback:

"Ryan Mallett."

On how this compares to when Chad Henne was thrust into the starting lineup as a freshman:

"Chad Henne came in, in July and spent a month with us as far as conditioning. Ryan was here throughout the winter. He had spring practice. And so from a standpoint of being able to do some more things, certainly he has more experience than Chad had at the same time. And yet, the reality is that it's a fine line. You can do too little and not give us a chance, or you can do too much and make it impossible. So our job as coaches is to give him a plan that he feels good with and that gives us a chance to point puts on the board."

On Chad Henne:

"I did. I talked to him yesterday. He's in good spirits, disappointed. He'll come back quicker than most."

On John Ferrara:

"I thought John Ferrara did a very, very good job for a young guy. He's not where he's going to be at the end of the season because inexperience is a factor right now. But John is one of those guys that will give you everything he's got. He's a smart player and a guy that really plays with a lot of emotion. He did a good job on Saturday."

On the defensive struggles:

"No, it's simply in the big plays we had, we let the ball outside the defense and two things occur there. You lose the pursuit of your defense, because the ball is somewhere where you don't expect it to be. When the ball is outside the defense your defense has to run further and it wears you down. I think it was good effort but I think we have to play team defense. That means that when you're responsible for putting the edge on the defense and turning it back, then we have to do a better job of it."

On the Michigan/Notre Dame rivalry:

"For me it always is a special game, because of the history, the tradition of both programs, and for me, I've studied and read that book and read some other books on the coaches at Notre Dame and of course the coaches here at Michigan, that part of it. What I'm really tickled with, I think I made this statement earlier in the year when Bill (Martin) and Kevin (White) were able to renew this series; I think it's a great thing for college football, and I guarantee you it's something that the players don't forget. You don't forget that game, because you know it's a special game. You know that there's respect on both sides of the ball. It's a special game. That's the best I can do for you."

On Ryan Mallett:

"I think he's a bright guy. He comes from a football family. His dad is a high school football coach. He's been in great competition at Texarkana; comes from a great program. I went down and saw him on my visit, saw him play. I've been down there several times. I saw him play basketball, and so he's a competitive guy. He likes to compete. He's got very, very good poise for a young kid. Now, this test, of course, will be different than any test he's had. So he's going to make some mistakes. He's going to learn some things. But I can guarantee you, he's not intimidated by anything. I think that's one of the things I like about him. He's got a lot of confidence. He's got a great arm, and yet he's got to go into this week and play within himself and within the context of the game plan, because it's really about winning. And it's not about Ryan Mallett. It's about doing the things that will help this team win."

On Notre Dame:

"We have respect for Notre Dame, and obviously from the standpoint of two young quarterbacks, we're in the same situation there. It's an excellent football team. They have lost two games, and in my opinion, it's been against two outstanding football teams. I think you'll see they will be a team that gets better every week."

On Notre Dame freshman quarterback Jimmy Clausen:

"I thought he showed really good poise. I thought there were a number of times in that film where it's just obvious that he's going to be sacked, and yet he finds a way to get rid of the ball so that they don't lose yardage. I think he moves around well. He's got a good arm. He's a smart player. I mean, you can see those things on film."

On his team's confidence:

"I know them as people, personally. I know that there's leadership on this team; when you've got guys like Mike Hart and Jake Long lead your team, you know that they care and that you're going to get everything they have got. And that's really where it all starts. The measure, the test, I guess of any athlete, any player, any team, any coach, is how you respond when things aren't going well because that's when I think you get your greatest challenge. There are always challenges out there but if you've got good people, you don't worry about those issues. You know what it takes, though, what is required, is you get into the competition itself is a concentrated ability to focus on the things that you need to do individually, the player, as a coach, to do your job. That's, to me, what it comes down to. And then being prepared psychologically to go into a game where you know there's a fight. This game will be a fight. That's the nature of it. There will be two teams that are fighting to win, and, that's the fun of it."

On Greg Mathews' kick at an Oregon player:

"I think it's not excusable and it's not acceptable. I watched the play and I think the official should have been on the play. I think there was something there that was done by the other player. So in the spur of the moment, sometimes those things happen. Certainly it's nothing we're proud of. Greg is not proud of it. We don't want it and we won't tolerate it."

On if he has had an experience similar to this season to draw upon:

"I think we are where we are. What I've all done throughout my career every week is try to address where we are, the reality. We know where we are. The reality is that we very much would like to change that to become the team that we're capable of being, and there are fundamentals that are important in terms of achieving that end. So it begins with hard work. It begins with an attitude that I will not be denied. I am in charge of what I want to accomplish, and I will accomplish it; an attitude that is positive; an attitude that says, you know, we can, we will, we must. And then of course, you've got to be able to perform your part in the fray. You've got to do your job because ultimately it's not about individual stars; it's about team. It's about playing together as hard as you can, and as well as you can, and for as long as the game goes."

On why players are struggling with fundamentals three weeks into the season:

"I think we're early in the season and every team has some young, inexperienced players. That's the nature of college football. It's probably the nature of football at any level. And so there are things that go into coming together. So that's what I think they are alluding to. Some of the guys earlier said the mood of the team is a high level of confidence; how would you describe it? ... "I think the mood of the team is that we've got a game. We've got a game. We've got the same amount of time to prepare as our opponents. We've got a game, a big game, a fun game. The things that you have to do are prepare to win, that's really what I think they are focused on."

On Adrian Arrington:

"I think Adrian, when I looked at him last Saturday, he was outstanding. Adrian Arrington in my mind had one of his best games at Michigan. You see some of the blocks he made when he didn't have the football; a guy that was hustling running good routes; a guy that made a sensational catch for a touchdown; a guy that played with very, very good consistency. I like Adrian, I like him personally, he's had some challenges but is an easy guy that has a lot of ability in a lot of areas, and hopefully he can do the things that will enable him to fulfill his potential before he leaves Michigan."

On the confidence level of the team:

"Coach every day, be positive, and believe in all of the things that it takes to be successful. You have an attitude, work ethic, and a belief."

On howMario Manningham has performed this year:

"I don't think he's played as well as he can."

On the negativity from fans and the media:

"I think any time you have that type of situation, as a coach, you're worried about the impact it has on them. I mean, as a coach, if you can't handle that, then you won't be in this job long. I've been in this job a long time. So it does not bother me a bit. But it does present for me a challenge in terms of 18, 19, 20-year-old kids, who can be victims of that. And yet, it's one of the great values that athletics has. You have an opportunity to deal with criticism, and criticism is always a learning experience. You can ignore it; you can deny it; some of it, you need to deny and ignore. But there's always, when you have honest critics that enables you to learn. That enables you to go forward. But you've got to be able to recognize who the honest critics are and that's the tricky part. But it is a part of this challenge. I don't think there's any question about that."

On the what Manningham needs to improve on:

"I'm not getting into that. That's part of coaching and we'll deal with that. I think he's done some very good things. I just think that he's capable of playing better, and I'm confident that he will."

On Brandent Englemon:

"Brandent Englemon has really done a wonderful job in these first two games. I think he's been a physical player. He's been through some ups and downs, and he's been through some difficult times in his career here. But he's really a solid guy, of strong character, and a guy that really takes his role seriously. He's a team guy. I hope he continues to play like he has."

On Englemon's choice to return for a fifth-year:

"We both had a choice. There were some things I expected of him, and he proved to me that he was serious in what he said he wanted to do, and I'm glad he came back."

In the difference between preparing for a spread option team and Notre Dame:

"I think it's much different except they had a quarterback at the start of the season for them; they have some plays that we have to prepare for. I know I wouldn't be surprised to see some of that. And yet, traditionally, their offense going back the last two years, there's a lot of similarities in what we do offensively and what they do. And so that makes the preparation not easier, but certainly it enables us to work more against our own defense in practice this week."

On correcting the tackling issues:

"That's what we have to address. That's what we have addressed. I think that's our challenge, and I think the answer will be our performance. I mentioned this earlier, our basic inability to be a good tackling team has been because we have not leveraged the ball. Somebody in every defense is responsible for containing the ball. If you contain the ball, now you've got more people to get in on the tackle. That's what they call gang tackling. When the ball gets outside the defense, now you're chasing the ball. You don't have anybody to contain it. And on the perimeter, you've put yourself in one-on-one tackling situations, and most good athletes in the open field are going to make people miss. Now, there were some missed tackles in there, and part of that is those were two outstanding backs (for Oregon). But most of it was because we either didn't get off our blocks or we left the ball outside."

On Tim Jamison losing contain against Oregon:

"Some of that is, Dixon hurt us twice where he went back to pass, and he ran inside the defensive end for good yardage and the first down. So when you contain the quarterback, it's not as easy as just staying outside of him, because if you get outside of him, if you get up the field too far, that creates lanes where he can scramble. You're trying to contain the quarterback with leverage and when you lose containment on a quarterback, that's something you don't like. But some of these guys are such great athletes that it's hard to contain them; it's not just one guy. And certainly did he lose containment, twice. And that's something that we need to work on and do better."

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