Monday Presser Transcripts - Week 6

Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr met with the media yesterday to discuss his team's 28-16 victory over Northwestern and look ahead to this week's match-up with Eastern Michigan. Among the topics covered were Chad Henne's return, the progress on defense, and more.

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On Chad Henne's performance:

"I thought Chad did a wonderful job. I think the drive to open the game for us, he did a great job. And then when he came in there in the second half, took us out another drive, the second drive, 10 plays, 77 yards, I thought he made a great touchdown pass to Adrian Arrington. He really managed the game -- as did our offense -- extremely well."

On Northwestern's effectiveness against the run:

"I think we had a 23-yard gain called back because of a holding call, so I think Northwestern did some good things. We struggled in the first half after our touchdown drive, the next four drives we were three-and-out four times, we were four-and-out once. There were four drives there we didn't have a chance to get anything going. The fifth drive we put together a 10-play drive and missed a field goal. Their nose guard, they gave us some different looks. But if you want to know what the zone schemes are all about, watch Hart's run down to the one-yard line in the fourth quarter. We started off right end, right tackle, and brought it back all the way outside the left end. It was a great run, it was a well-executed play."

On place kicker Jason Gingell:

"Jason Gingell has proven in practice that he's an excellent kicker. He has struggled in the games, and there's no doubt in my mind at this point confidence is an issue. He just has to fight his way out of this adversity, and we have to look at giving K.C. Lopata an opportunity this week. I'm going to look at him in practice. I have a lot of confidence in Gingell, and yet -- as players at every stage in your career -- there are guys who struggle and you just have to dig deep and find a way to get your way out of it. And coaches and as teammates we'll try to help him do that."

On Brandon Harrison:

"I think Brandon was always a guy that really has played hard, and he's tough, he's a smart guy, plays extremely hard, and I think this year he's an excellent blitzer. He made a wonderful play there that caused a turnover or was certainly part of causing a turnover, and I think he's gotten better every game. I think with the experience he's played -- that nickelback position is not easy. There are a lot of adjustments, a lot of checks, and he's also working at cornerback. But he's an awfully good football player."

On Will Johnson:

"Will is having a great year. He didn't play as much in this game, but this guy is really what you want as far as he's tough, he's competitive, he's a very strong, powerful guy, and he's not necessarily one of those guys that you notice a lot until you look at the film. But when you look at the film, he doesn't make mistakes, and I think he's developed into a leader. He's a very quiet, laid-back guy on the field, but there is an intensity about him that I think everybody admires."

On Eastern Michigan's front seven:

"They're not a particularly big front, but they have very good mobility. They move well. Their regimen entails what we called angling and slamming the front and allowing the linebackers to make plays. So they're very active. This (Daniel) Holtzclaw, he's in the top ten tacklers in the NCAA, 12 tackles a game. That's a lot of tackles, that's a lot of work. That's getting to a lot of footballs."

On Greg Mathews' performance this year:

"He has been able to build on what he did as a freshman. For a freshman he played a lot a year ago, but he's bigger and stronger and he's more knowledgeable, and he's sure-handed, he's tough, he's competitive. I think he's doing a great job."

On Mathews as a pun returner:

"He's fast enough. The first thing you have to look at in a kick returner, a punt returner for sure, is can they catch the football. They can do all the other things, but if they can't handle that ball, then you're going to give up some points. You're going to give up some field position. You're going to lose some games. So that's a critical position, and Greg has done a good job with it."

On Brandon Logan's performance:

"Brandon is one of those guys that is undersized. He's not the biggest guy, but he has really worked hard. He's got a great attitude, and he's one of those guys that was ready when his name was called, and that's really what the season is about. You're going to always have some guys that get a call, and if they step up and do a good job, then you'll be successful as a team. So he's been in some games now. I think he's gained confidence, and I like what he's done."

On the injury status of Chris Graham and John Thompson:

"I won't know until tomorrow. I just won't know enough until I see them run."

On Obi Ezeh:

"I thought Obi Ezeh, the first play of the game -- which was one of two very disappointing plays -- Obi was in a position to make the tackle, and I think we relaxed there. He relaxed, I think we had another defender relax, and he didn't get the guy on the ground. They were anticipating that he was down and they were concerned about getting a penalty late, but the whistle didn't blow so the ball came out. But I think Obi as the game went on got better and better. He's a wonderful athlete. I think he's going to be an outstanding linebacker."

On Perry Dorrestein's injury status:

"I don't think he'll be back this week, but it's not a major injury. It's a sprain. Again, you know, a lot of things can happen over a week on a sprain.

"I will say Mike Massey suffered a knee injury and will have surgery sometime in the next week or so, and he will miss the rest of the season, and that is a big loss for our team. Massey was a wonderful competitor, a guy that brought a lot to our team, outstanding on our special teams, and has done a great job at tight end. We're going to miss him."

On the depth at tight end:

"Well, Chris McLaurin last week did a great job. McLaurin has done a great job on our special teams, and he's one of those guys that I think is very dependable, and we have a lot of confidence in Chris. Andre Criswell has been hobbled since training camp with a high ankle sprain, and he's getting better, and so now is an opportunity for him; Martell Webb is a freshman that has played. So we have some guys there. They're not as experienced obviously as Mike was, but they're all guys that we can depend on as a team."

On his thoughts on Florida calling a timeout a right before the ball was snapped as Auburn attempted a game-winning field goal:

"I don't know how you could address it. I think what happened there is a couple of years ago -- up until, I don't know when the rule, the last two or three years, I think, they've allowed for the first time coaches to call time out from the sideline, and once they did that, I think other than that, it would have to be done on the field."

On coaches calling timeouts prior to field goal attempts:

"Well, you know, I think it's within the rules. I think obviously I haven't really had a lot of time to think about it. You go into basketball games, and this whole idea of trying to ice a guy, I guess they call it, I am certainly not being critical of it. I think it probably deserves some debate at the rules committee level because it can work against you. If he misses that first kick and then makes the second one, I mean, it's a different story. That's always the guessing game, I guess."

On Eastern Michigan's offense:

"You understand on Saturday, for the first time in my coaching career, first time I've ever seen our defense, we ended that game. Normally at the end of the game a defense is not, in terms of a pass rush, they're not able to put the pressure on that they are early in the game. But our defense forced four turnovers in consecutive drives. So I am very pleased with what they did there. But I thought our defense, with the exception of those two plays, played very well. I mean, Obi Ezeh, as I mentioned, got better. Chris Graham played a wonderful game, and Shawn Crable was outstanding. If you look at the second half, we were just outstanding. Now, what we've got to learn how to do is play 60 minutes and not give up big plays. We have to do a better job in the running game, there's no doubt about that. And that's the goal. I mean, you're never where you want to be. But the other part of it is that injuries impact you, and injuries are a part of the game. They impact the other teams, too. But sometimes you're just not capable of being as efficient because you have a young guy in there that hasn't learned what to do yet."

On having Chad Henne

"First of all, I thought Ryan did some very good things in that game, and when you consider that he basically has three games under his belt, and as far as his development and as far as his potential to come in -- in critical situations if needed -- I think he's prepared to do that. But Henne, when you look at the experience he's had and the times that he's been there, there's no question that your chance to operate more efficiently is better because of his experience, and he's a tough guy and he knows where to go with the football. He made some great throws in that game. I think that helps us from the standpoint of he's going to get you in the right play. And that's really what the game is all about. I mean, if you can't get the right play, then you've got a problem, because your chances of succeeding if you're not in the right play are really poor. So now you're in trouble."

On if Henne's limited mobility limited the playbook:

"We did not do some things in that game, but that will not be the case from here on out."

On Zion Babb's move to cornerback:

"When we recruited Zion, he was an outstanding defensive back and an outstanding receiver. I asked him what he preferred, and he said, Coach, it really doesn't matter. He came in, and we looked at him because he could run. He's a wonderful athlete and he's tough and he's competitive. So it was very obvious that all three of those freshmen are talented guys. We got into a point a couple weeks ago where we had an opportunity for him to grow and an opportunity for him to look ahead to next year. So we talked to him and he was excited to move."

On playing a non-conference game in the middle of the Big Ten season:

"Well, the whole idea originally was a bye week, but when we decided to go the 12th game that eliminated that. I don't worry about it. Once that schedule is set, I don't worry about what it is and what it isn't. I think that's part of the challenge."

On Henne's resolve:

"Well, I've always liked him. I've always felt that being a quarterback is a process. You grow every day. You learn something every day that you step on the field as a coach and as a player; that's the beautiful thing about the game. You know, I don't want to get into all of the things that a quarterback goes through because it's not the time to do that. I'll put that in my book."

On if Henne is showing more:

"He's always got fire. If you know him, and that's the problem, a lot of people are judging him that don't know him, and those perceptions, it's easy to understand because you think you see something, you think you know something, and you really don't. Look, you don't come in here and do what he's done and not have a fire. I mean, the guy, first of all, he started 39 consecutive games. He's played hurt down through his career that nobody ever knew. He came back from this injury a lot faster than you would expect. Why, because he was in that training room all day and all night. His will to play, his will to compete is unquestioned."

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