Coach Lloyd Carr Comments from Weekly Press Luncheon
We are done with training camp and ready to go. This is game week, so the anticipation is building. I think everybody who is going to be a part of that game is terribly excited.
Carr talks with the media at the weekly Michigan football media luncheon Monday, Aug. 31, in Schembechler Hall. (photo by Barb Cossman)
I think in any season, what I believe is that you try and build a foundation that will prepare you to deal with all of the circumstances that you might be confronted with. There are going to be some great times. There are going to be some tough times. There is going to be some stormy weather and you have to be able to chart your course and stay with it. We don't know what's going to happen. We know that it is a long season. I just try to build a foundation with a team, with a group of people that will enable us to be successful in dealing with all the problems that a season brings.
I really like the kids we have at Michigan. They are people who are goal oriented. They are fun to be around. They work hard. Their attitude is extremely positive. They love Michigan and yet I think you find out about leadership in the stormy weather. A year ago we were down 21-7 at the half to Iowa and we had tremendous confidence and leadership and I think those things enabled us to take what appeared to be a desperate situation and make something positive out of it. Because we were able to come out of there with a win, I think it gave us tremendous momentum. If you can deal with the tough times, it strengthens you for the rest of the fight.
On whether he has been tougher on this team than ones in the past
A lot of the things I believe in I learned from Bo. I think certainly in talking with some of the guys who I've tried to seek out, one of the things Mike Holmgren talked about was the idea that you can't be satisfied. If you are satisfied then you are headed on a downward spiral. We've had a very tough camp. I'm pleased with where we are and we'll see how we measure up. We've done all the preparation and now we'll see how we measure up.
On defending the option
We understand the option. Our defensive coaches have a scheme. The key will be to see how we adjust to Notre Dame's speed and execution of the option, because we have not been able to simulate that.
On playing at Notre Dame
I think we have a fairly large stadium here. But there isn't any question the freshmen going into that as a first game, into an arena like that, that's something they are going to have to get used to. We've been on the road before. You understand that you have to deal with the noise and the fact that you are going to have a heck of a lot of people cheering against you than for you, so you have to put those things out of your mind. I think you understand when the momentum shifts, and it will during this game, when the momentum shifts for Notre Dame the crowd will be tremendously vocal and we have to be able in those time to concentrate on what we're doing so we can execute.
On opening the season against Notre Dame
We've always played a very competitive non-conference schedule here at Michigan. I think it helps you in the preseason because your concentration from the players is very good. They understand they are coming out against an outstanding football team right away. I think as a coach, I understand that when you play a game like this everybody is going to be emotionally up, they are going to be excited, they are going to be nervous, because maybe it is their first start, their first chance to play in front of a big crowd, so there is a certain amount of tension that is involved no matter who you are. I think that kind of a situation almost always results in some great plays and in some mistakes. We understand that everything is not going to go our way in that game. What we have to do is maintain our poise when things start going against us, never stop believing that we are going to win and finding a way to win when it is necessary. I think that is what a game like this comes down to.
On the quarterback situation at Michigan
The quarterback at Michigan is going to be chosen based on what is fair and what is in the best interest of our team, which means who gives us the best chance to win, period.
On Notre Dame entering the Big Ten Conference
I think it would be great if it was a Big Ten Conference game. We play them every year anyway, so we might as well count it in the schedule. In terms of the national rankings it certainly has a major impact.
On Notre Dame's off-season struggles
People did not tout us very highly in '97, and I'm not concerned about anything at all but this Michigan team.
On the freshmen expected to play against Notre Dame
David Terrell and Marquise Walker will play. Justin Fargas will play. Evan Coleman certainly will play. After that it will come down to a situation where you would substitute.
Contact: Jim Schneider, David Ablauf (734) 763-4423