University of Michigan head football coach Lloyd Carr named junior Tom Brady as the Wolverines' number one quarterback at a press conference Thursday, Aug. 27, in Schembechler Hall. Brady, a 6-foot-5, 213-pound fourth-year junior from San Mateo, Calif., is slated to make the first start of his college career on Saturday, Sept. 5, when Michigan opens its 1998 campaign at Notre Dame in a 3:30 p.m. EDT kickoff.
"Tom Brady has paid his dues," said Carr, who led the Wolverines to a 12-0 record and share of the national championship in 1997, his third season as the program's leader. "He has worked extremely hard. He's a bright guy, he has a good arm and he has the respect of his teammates. I'm anxious to see Tom play. He's got all the right stuff."
Last year, Brady completed 12 of 15 passes for 103 yards while playing in four games and serving as backup to Brian Griese, the 1998 Rose Bowl Most Valuable Player. He played in two games in 1996 and completed 3 of 5 aerials for 26 yards.
Also battling for playing time at the quarterback spot are veteran Scott Dreisbach, a fifth-year senior who has made 15 career starts; third-year sophomore Jason Kapsner and freshman Drew Henson.
"They're all competing," said Carr. "You compete everyday and you get better because you don't know what's going to happen. I've seen two quarterbacks go down in one quarter. In my judgment, you don't have to worry about where you are on the depth chart; you have to be ready when your time comes."
When asked about Henson, Carr said the highly-touted rookie from nearby Brighton, Mich., is "improving rapidly" in preseason workouts and will most likely see playing time this season.
"Drew has made excellent progress," said Carr, adding that Henson "has gotten better almost daily. He's picked up the offense well. He is without question the most talented quarterback I've been around. It's just a matter of continuing to compete and continuing to prepare. He's going to play some this year because he's not just 'another guy.' He's got everything you want. He is a guy who really adds a lot of mobility to that position."
Carr noted that the selection of Brady as the starter for the opener came down to experience. "I think it goes back to the fact that Drew Henson has been here two weeks and Tom Brady's been here three years," said Carr. "Tom Brady knows the offense; he's a talented guy. Tom Brady is a fighter, he's a competitor, so I don't sell him short at all."
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