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August 12, 2004

Lloyd Carr

COACH CARR: Welcome to University of Michigan. Great to see all of you. It's great to be here. We have reported early, so I can say a little bit more about some of our freshman. Our goals will be determined at a meeting later on in training camp after the selection of our captains, and so I can't speak to those. Except I can tell you that speaking for the tradition of Michigan, our expectations are high. And after the extended practice we have, we got into full padded practices on Monday, so we had two yesterday for the first time, goal line scrimmage, passing scrimmage in the afternoon. We've got a long way to go. We have a lot of things we need to shore up. We have tremendous competition at a number of positions, a lot of guys fighting for playing time, and certainly one of those positions is quarterback, where the competition I think is outstanding, and at center at the offensive side of the ball. We've got time here, because of the early reporting, and so we'll see how we go from here on. Questions?

Q. Can you talk about the freshmen coming in, the running backs?

COACH CARR: Well, I can mention several freshman, Michael hart, Max Martin, two freshman, the former from Syracuse, the latter from Huntsville, Alabama. I think truly you've got to get in some heavy-hitting scrimmages. You've got to get into game competition. But we have had some contacts and that's really where you find something about a running back. I like them both, I think they are both going to be fine football players. I'm not here to make any predictions about where to start them, but I do think that as a whole this class has got a really great upside. Chad Henne has done a tremendous job, very, very talented guy. I think people of Michigan are going to be excited to see him here. Roger Allison from Lake Orion High School is one of those guys that probably didn't get as much publicity in the recruiting magazines because he committed early to Michigan, but this kid is really going to be quite a football player. Chris Graham, a linebacker from Indianapolis, has had a very impressive beginning. Tim Jamison, Thornton High School, great Michigan player, Tim Jamison has made a very good impression. And there are a number of others. Alan Branch from Mexico, the family grew up here in Detroit, his mom and dad. But Alan came in, he was a little heavy, 340 pounds, but I think he's going to be great.

Q. Lining up this year?

COACH CARR: Well, Leo Henige, and as I mentioned I think following spring football, worked with our center yesterday and our fastest scrimmage, we worked with him, the No. 1 group and he's a very, very powerful guy. You know, I think he's training as hard as he can and I don't know how it's going to turn out but I wouldn't bet against him.

Q. Of the receivers -- inaudible -- which one of those guys is going to catch it?

COACH CARR: Well, I don't know about all that, but I will say, I will say that we do have outstanding group of receivers. I don't think there's any question about that. Steve Rustin is hampered a little bit here in the first few days, he had to have a pin back earlier in the summer but he will be fine according to Paul Schmidt who stakes his reputation on that factor. But, yeah, it's really an excellent group. Avant is one of those guys, said it so many times, he's a guy that you love as a football coach, you love as a fan. The thing about these guys that I really like is that particularly Avant and Braylon, they play as hard without the football as they do with it. They are devastating blockers and when you have two receivers that go down and block the safeties, block the corners, eventually, it takes its toll and that's how you can break some big runs in there. If you get some guys knocked down in the secondary and you hit a crease, then you have a chance to make something happen. So it's a group with very good depth. Adrian Arrington, the freshman from Cedar Rapids, Iowa has had made a very good impression. So we've got some depth there.

Q. Is it comforting to know that you have depth and experience at receiver?

COACH CARR: Well, it will be comforting if we can protect the quarterback and get the ball to those receivers so they can run with it. That would be comforting, yes.

Q. What are you looking at with kickoff returners, what are you looking at there?

COACH CARR: One of the things that was a big factor a year ago for us was the returns and the punting game of Steve Preston (phonetic), absolutely sensational debut in there, and we would like to do the same thing with our kickoff return. We've got a number of guys there and I just tell you, we are working almost all of our backs there. Of course, Steve will factor in there and Jason Avant because normally in our kickoff return scheme, we have two guys back, one on each hash mark, and so you've got to have a guy -- the guy that doesn't get the football back there, has got to be a guy that will block, and you can't always predict who they are going to kick the ball to. So they kick the ball to a guy, and the other guy won't block, then your opportunity to get successful positive down distance at the starting position is not very good. So, you know, there's a number of things that we're looking at, and we've worked throughout the spring with a number of guys back there.

Q. Inaudible -- do you envision having that situation?

COACH CARR: Well, I think the kickoff returners, it is a higher-impact collisions in a lot of cases. So that factors in. And yet, if you can get a coordinated team effort from those other ten guys, then it becomes less dangerous, and that's really what we're working on right now.

Q. The defensive line, goal line, how have they performed the first week?

COACH CARR: Well, we had a hard time getting the ball in the end zone yesterday morning, I can tell you that. We put the ball down in there and had some great looks at it and our defense was good. And really, that's one of the things I'm encouraged about Marcus Walton, already mentioned Alan Branch, Will Johnson, those are three freshman. And of course Will is coming off surgery where he missed his high school senior season. He's a teammate of Roger Allison's at Lake Orion. Those three guys all have the potential to get help us inside. We have some guys, Larry Harrison came into camp very well conditioned. His weight is good. He's worked hard, and you can see some improvement there. Pat Massey, I think is doing -- Massey is 6'7, 6'8, he's a big guy and has now grown into his body and he's much stronger than he was a year ago. But we've got to stay healthy in there, and as I continue to say, Alex feel is going to be a key for us and Rondell Biggs. We've got some younger, inexperienced guys, but the biggest concern I have is that we've got to stay healthy.

Q. Can you talk about the conditioning, how has that played out early in practice?

COACH CARR: Well, based on the days that we've been in training camp, I think David Underwood, what he's done this summer, he's built on -- I really like the fact that he dropped some weight. He looks much quicker. Dave is a powerful guy. He's probably one of the fastest backs on our team. I would say he's taken a big step here the first week and a half.

Q. Can you talk about some of the quarterbacks you've had in the past and what kinds of things might you be able to instill in the offense?

COACH CARR: Well, I want to -- this quarterback situation, trust me, is open. And I like all three. They all have different abilities. I think -- I don't think Matt and Clayton are the same types of quarterbacks. I think Clay is more of a classic, dropback guy. Although, that is not to say at which , you know, if you're the Michigan quarterback, you're going to get labelled; you don't have any mobility, you can't do this, you can't do that. So whoever he is, that's going to be part of the things that he has to deal with. But Clay has good mobility. But I think Matt, you know, has better mobility. I think Henne reminds me of another guy who wore the same number here playing for the Cowboys. So, we've got three guys that are competing hard, that's all I can say. One of the advantages of coming in early is that we do have a little bit of extra time to work with our young players and that's particularly true of our quarterbacks. So I can't tell you how it's going to turn out, but I like them all.

Q. How hard is it for you as a coach -- following them --inaudible?

COACH CARR: I cheer for all of them. I want them all to be the best they can be, and ultimately, we have got a great quarterback coach here, Scott Lefler, who is teaching as well as you can teach the game. You know, in the end, we want to be fair and then we want to choose a guy to start that gives us the best chance to win, because that's what it's all about, trying to win. You're not playing for second place. You're just trying to win. So that's what motivates you. Now as a coach, you know at some point somebody is going to be disappointed. But, dealing with disappointment is also the mark of greatness. You're going to be disappointed at every position because guys, some days they aren't going to be as good as others so you have to go back out there the next day and compete and fight and try to win again. So, that's what it's all about, it's not going to be determined by one game. This is not a one-game race. These guys are all young, they are all competing, and so just do the best we can every day and see what happens.

Q. Inaudible?

COACH CARR: Well, I like our athleticism. I think the fact that we've got three cornerbacks who all have a lot of experience. Leon Hall was a freshman a year ago who played an integral part of that team. Of course Marques Walton, I think Ernest Shazor has a chance to be one of the greatest safeties we've had here. And so I'd like to back into the defense. Yet, you know, the key is going to be as far as being able to put pressure on the quarterbacks and we need to do a better job with some turnovers. But with that said, I think everybody in the country is trying to force more turnovers. And offensively, you know, nobody is trying to turn the ball over. They are trying to keep it -- that's one of the challenges of the game. But I do like the fact that we've got enough quickness that we should have a lot of people around the football. Defensively if we can get a lot of people the football, things are going to happen.

Q. What do you look for in evaluation of your quarterbacks?

COACH CARR: Well, I would say there's one that I look for: Intelligence, toughness, accuracy. If I had to put it down to three, those three things in terms of our offense, in terms of being a quarterback, you'd better be tough. Physically, because you're going to be that take a beating in the course of a season. You'd better be tough mentally because you are going to take a beating outside.

Q. Has anyone -- or have they all -- inaudible?

COACH CARR: Quarterback? You know there seems to be a perception that I'm predisposed. And I wouldn't tell you, I would not have come out publically and say that this competition is open if it weren't. Now, that would not be fair to the guys that we're coaching, that we brought here. So we are trying on a daily basis to give them an opportunity to compete, and then, we'll see what happens.

Q. Is there one guy you would prefer or could there be two?

COACH CARR: Well, you know, I think I would prefer to go with one guy, but is that doesn't mean that two can't work, and you know, I think the -- I didn't mention Spencer Brinton, and I want to make sure I do that. Spencer Brinton was the fourth quarterback. When Spencer first came here, I told you, he had surgery last winter, he is just not where he was when he came here. He's competed extremely well. He's as fine a guy as you'll ever meet and like, but he's just not where he was, which has made it difficult for him to compete. So I want to make sure that I mentioned Spencer.

Q. Can you talk about how it nice it was --

COACH CARR: Nice? It makes my job easier and harder. Not really, I'm just kidding, just kidding. Strike that from your notes. Well, I was delighted, obviously, because I think both of them, they are guys that you like to have around. They make everybody around them better, and I think that's the mark of a truly great football player; does he inspire other people. And I think both of them, you know I don't know if Seth (phonetic) told you, this but when the season is over, I always talk to some of the guys that are leaving, and one of the things I remarked on a year ago is what a great job Marlin Jackson did encouraging and continue to try to be a leader on our football team through those four or five weeks when he was out, and I think that is what you want. So with anything, with guys that love to win.

Q. Is there possibility of having a guy like a Chris Perry -- inaudible?

COACH CARR: Well, the reason I'm trying to play a freshman in a significant role is I think it prepares him to be a sophomore; and as a sophomore, an increased role; and then as a junior, you learn how to take the talent and be a starter; and then you're ready to be a great player as a senior. To me, it's a process. I think that's what happened to Chris Perry. Unfortunately, that process has not worked out with David, so it's hard to predict how a guy is going to react once you get into the middle of a season, does the pounding they take, they don't have anything to relate it to. And, you know, it's week-in, week-out, and so that, I can't tell you . I mean, I don't -- I can't tell you that. But I do think there's probably, you know -- we're going to be able to have more guys to play. That's something we didn't necessarily have a year ago and Dave is a much, much improved football player today. Came back in great shape and lost some weight, and Jerome Jackson is having a very good fall. Tim Bracken is going to do some things. You know, as I looked at football the last five or six years, one of the real changes that's become much more of a situation, and so that creates more opportunities for guys to have important roles is to be 11 guys starting, they play most of the game. It's not that way anymore. So you've got guys that they play when it's passing time on offense or defense, short yardage, all of those things.

Q. Inaudible?

COACH CARR: Well, I know one thing about contending for a National Championship, and that it's better to focus on today.

Q. Inaudible?

COACH CARR: Well, I think the decision to make is based on what you need as a team more than anything else. Preparing them on a daily basis so that if you get to the end of the season, and he has a play, but the guy is left because of injuries or some situation, then, you know, you're playing.

Q. Inaudible?

COACH CARR: Well, we've got great competition at the tackle position. Jake Long's health is very good. He's going to be, I think, something special. But, you no know, we've got Stenavich, Kolodziej, Riley and Long, and we've got four guys that are very competitive. They all have good mobility, so that's another position in terms of starting, you know, I think they will all play a role, but it is a position at this point that we've got good depth.

Q. Can you talk about the depth --

COACH CARR: Well, I think Forest Green, understand he has sophomore eligibility a year ago, is a wonderful football player, and I think he's having a very good spring. He's really quick. He can diagnose his plays well. He's always around the football and he makes some great plays. I think Scott McClintock, and then David Harris, who suffered a knee injury early last season missed a season. He's competing in there. And then I mentioned Chris Graham. Chris Graham is going to be a factor somewhere because he's explosive, he's quick. He's not very big, but he's in that mode of going over that some of that stuff, and we just have to see how he continues to develop. But he could factor in there. And Joe Sarantos has had a very good fall, following a very good spring. So we've got probably the best depth at linebacker that we've had, that I can remember.

Q. Inaudible?

COACH CARR: And that's a result that Miami and Ohio will be able to play -- they will open their season a week before we get to play them. So the rule, we appealed, or we asked for a waiver for being able to practice early. We're not going to be able to play a game but we will have practices.

Q. You'll use that extra time -- inaudible?

COACH CARR: Yeah, I think the players love it. I will say this. You know, I talked with our seniors before we got into this, and as we got into the process, our seniors , it's one of those things. There was no hesitation on their part, and that to me meant a lot, because they want to win. They have got to give up an extra week, and that extra week is a lot because you get guys in summer school.

Q. Last year, do you feel like you got caught up a little bit -- inaudible?

COACH CARR: Well, I think -- first of all, Braylon is a very outgoing gregarious guy. It's like becoming a senior tailback who is coming off three really good years, or any other position. You know, sometimes you get distracted by all of the things that go on outside and around you, things that you listen to. You've got to listen to the right message and I think that's a challenge for all of us. But, you know, there was never any question about what kind of person. The coach and player relationship wasn't what I wanted and so I think, dealing with college kids, they learn a lot, and of course as a coach you learn, no matter what state you're in, there's always a lesson to be learned.

Q. If you're not entirely convinced that he will be playing, didn't Brady -- inaudible?

COACH CARR: Those guys are both gone. I don't think I've pressed that issue.

Q. Well, I'm asking you're not opposed to the possibility of playing -- inaudible?

COACH CARR: Well, I'm interested in winning, so whatever it takes. Willis (phonetic) is competing at one of those safety positions and special teams. I think this is an important year for him and he needs to make a stand, make a statement.

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