University of Michigan Head Coach Lloyd Carr
Comments Prior to Final Spring Practice (April 14)
Opening statement ... "What we'll try to do this afternoon is get some work in the kicking game. We'll have a designated number of snaps we want to take in the afternoon that will be like game-like conditions. We'll have officials there and we'll try to execute as well as we can. We will hold a number of guys out. But it is just one practice, and we'll have a number of guys that did not participate in spring practice, and a number of guys that we'll hold out. So we can go into the summer part o f our season healthy and ready to go."
On Carlos Brown ... "Carlos had a stint at cornerback, but he has decided to go back to tailback. That's where he will line up in the fall."
On the backup quarterback situation ... "David Cone missed some practice, but he made progress. Ryan Mallett picked things up very well, and he got a lot of repetitions throughout the spring. I think his development is continuing. He's a talented guy, a very bright guy. He's done some things that are going to enable him this fall to come into training camp with confidence, knowledge, ability and his understanding of what we're trying to get done. (Jason Forcier) has not practiced without limitations."
On the offensive line ... "I think Justin Boren has had a great spring. I think he's going to an outstanding football player. I think his development has been rapid. He's a very, very powerful blocker; he's very athletic. He's really solidified his role at the starting center position. Adam Kraus and Jake Long, of course we've limited. As far as some of the younger players, Steve Shilling has been cleared to play this week with full contact, and I've been very impressed with what I've seen from him. (Alex) Mitchell and Boren -- there's competition at right tackle. Perry Dorrestein has missed the last few days, and he's shown very, very rapid improvement at that position. Mark Ortmann has improved significantly, and developed the type of strength that he needed. He always had the height and athleticism, but I think his body has caught up and he has competed extremely well."
On the tackle situation ... "You're always looking for your best three. So normally, the third guy is going to rotate and try to play two positions, depending on his ability to pick things up. We're always trying to cross train guys so we can put the best player on the field."
On the receivers and fullbacks ... "(Greg Mathews) has been outstanding. I think he's capable of being one of those guys that has a great career here. He has great hands, he runs good routes, he's very physical and very tough, so we're very excited about his development. LaTerryal Savoy has really had a good spring too. We've been limited in the number of receivers that we've had, and it really impacted the tempo of our practices. That's always the case at some positions. One position I think we're really excited about is at fullback. We have really helped ourselves. Andre Criswell we moved to tight end; Andre's done a good job. His development has been excellent at fullback. I think Mark Moundros came here without a scholarship; (he) has been so impressive that he earned a scholarship for the fall. He's done a great job, and I think he's going to be an excellent football player. Vince Helmuth has had an excellent spring as well, and we've moved Quintin Patilla from linebacker to fullback. He has shown some flashes there. We're very confident where we are at fullback."
On Alex Mitchell ... "First of all, I think he's in a lot better condition. He went through the process of trying to find his ideal weight, and as a young player you come in with the mentality of bigger is better. He learned a lot a year ago. There were a lot of lessons to be learned. So I think he's made very good progress."
On returners and kickers ... "We were limited, but we get outside every day. As far as punt and kickoff return, we got outside every day this spring without any coverage coming down on us. The placekicking is very competitive, and I don't think it will be solidified until fall."
On tailbacks ... "I think Brandon Minor has had an excellent spring. He's much more confident because he's been around, and he got a lot of work. The disappointment of course is Kevin Grady. Kevin was having an outstanding spring, and he was developing the patience it takes to play at that position C particularly in this offense. We'll have to see how the surgery goes this Monday, and he'll begin the rehabilitation process. The good news for him is he does have three years of eligibility left. Depending on what happens this fall, we'll see where that takes us."
On linebackers ... "We've had a lot of guys that have been in there. We've got a lot of guys that have gotten work, and we've got a lot of guys that have missed some practices. So we'll go into the fall with a lot of competition. I think (Austin) Painter has improved. John Thompson has missed the past few practices, and so has Chris Graham. Jonas Mouton has gotten a lot of work in there. We're just going to have to see how that works out. Obi Ezeh worked at the SAM linebacker position all spring because Shawn Crable missed about three weeks. Ezeh made very good progress; he's a wonderful athlete, and a guy that has wonderful instincts. I think he's going to be an excellent football player here."
On the secondary ... "The competition will continue into the fall. I think Donovan Warren, who is a young freshman out of Los Angeles, we look at him as having an opportunity once he comes in. Johnny Sears has shown a lot of improvement. Doug Dutch has had a good spring. Morgan Trent has improved at the corner position. Charles Stewart has had an excellent spring. I think the move to safety has been very good for him. Jamar Adams missed the spring, as did Brandent Englemon. That was a position where we were kind of thin, but Stevie Brown got a lot of work there. I think Stevie Brown has made great improvement. He's a guy that can cover a lot of ground and has excellent speed. He really made a move; we're going to have great competition in the fall when everybody comes back."
On Antonio Bass' progress ... "I don't have anything new on Antonio."
On if Adrian Arrington's status is still the same ... "I don't have anything to add at this time."
On the defensive line ... "That's the area we've really shown marked improvement. There are four freshmen in there. Greg Banks is going to be a very good football player. John Ferrara is going to be a very good football player. I think Brandon Graham has had an extremely impressive spring. He's made a lot of plays, and he just keeps getting better and better. Terrance Taylor missed the entire spring. He had some problems before spring, and then about a week into it he go a hamstring pull and he has not played. Will Johnson has had an outstanding spring. Jason Kates, a freshman, has made wonderful strides. All of those guys I can look at as being very productive. All those kids will contribute this fall."
On the injuries leaving the team uncertain ... "I don't ever remember being 100 percent as far as putting a team together in the spring. The emphasis is always individual improvement. I like the attitude of this team. They've worked as hard as any team we've had. Practices have been very physical. I think we've made a lot of strides, but there's plenty of time for dramatic improvement at each position. With the young guys, you want them to come back stronger. If they're motivation and disciplined in the summer, they'll make strides. The stamina and conditioning factor is critical. So there's still a lot of ways to go, but like what we are, I like what we see. We need to get everyone going in the same direction and get healthy."
On the rules changes with the clock ... "I think we need to get out of the habit of changing the rules every year. I thought last year's rule changes were in the best interest of the players, and that's really what the rules should be for."
On Tim Jamison ... "Tim Jamison's had a great spring. He's a guy that's really developed physically. He's a powerful guy that can run. He's extremely impressive. Jamison is one of those guys we're expecting great things from."
On watching the NFL Draft ... "I try to. We've got four guys there that I think are going to go very, very high."
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