Carr assesses team heading out of spring
Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr touched on a number of topics heading out of spring ball, including injuries, Carlos Brown's status, position battles and much more. Here's the rundown …
On the spring session overall: "We've had a very, very productive spring. We've gotten a lot accomplished. The concern always is to make sure you get your young players enough reps in practice so you can enhance their development. We've been able to do that at a number of positions.
"This afternoon we will try to get some work in the kicking game. We have a designated number of snaps in game-like conditions. We'll have officials there and try to execute as well as we can. We will hold a number of guys out … it is one practice, and we will have a number of guys that have not participated in spring practice, and we'll hold some other guys out. We'll try to come off that field feeling like every guy learned some things and improved so we can go into the summer part of our season healthy and ready to go."
On freshman Carlos Brown's status: "Carlos had a stint at cornerback, but he has decided he wants to move back to tailback. That's where he will line up in the fall."
On the backup quarterbacks: "David Cone missed some practice, but made progress. Ryan Mallett picked things up very well. He got a lot of repetitions throughout the spring. His development is continuing. He is a talented guy, a very bright guy, a guy that has done a lot of things this spring to come … that is going to enable him to come in this fall with confidence and [enhance] his ability and his knowledge and his understanding of what we want to get done."
On backup quarterback Jason Forcier: "He has not practiced without limitations."
On the offensive line: "Justin Boren has had a great spring. He is going to be an outstanding football player. His development has been rapid. He is a very, very powerful blocker, he's very athletic, and I think he's really solidified his hold on the starting center position.
"Adam Kraus and Jake long we limited. We've gotten a lot of work from our younger players. Steve Schilling was cleared to play the last two weeks full contact, and I've been very impressed with what I've seen from him.
"At right tackle, Perry Dorrestein has missed the last few days, but showed very, very rapid improvement at that position. Mark Ortmann has improved significantly. He has developed the type of strength he has needed. He has always had the height and athleticism, but I think his body has caught up and he's competed extremely well.
"What you are always looking for is your best three. Normally, the third guy is going to try to rotate and 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 players on the field.
On Greg Mathews' spring: "Outstanding. He's capable of being one of those guys that has a great career here. He's got great hands, he runs well, he runs good routes, he's very tough, physical, very competitive. We're very excited about his development. LaTerryal Savoy has had a very good spring, too.
"We've been limited in the number of receivers we've had, which has really impacted the tempo of our practices. That's always the case at some position."
On the fullbacks: "One position I'm really excited about … at fullback, we have really helped ourselves. Andre Criswell we moved to tight end. Andre has done a good job; his development has been excellent.
"Mark Moundros, who came here without a scholarship, has been so impressive that he has earned a scholarship in the fall. He has 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 moved Quintin Patilla from linebacker to fullback and he's shown some flashes there. We're very confident with where we are at fullback based on losing a great fullback a year ago in Obi Oluigbo and Brian Thompson."
On whether Marion Manningham has practiced: "Very, very little."
On guard Alex Mitchell: "First of all, he's in much better condition. He went through the process of trying to target his ideal weight. As a young player you go in with the mentality bigger is better. He learned a lot a year ago, and there are a lot of lessons to be learned. But he's tough. I think he's made good progress."
On practicing the return game: "We got outside everyday. As far as punt and kickoff returns, we caught the ball outside every day this spring without any coverages coming down on them. We were limited in the things we got done with our returners. The place kicking has been very competitive, and I don't think that will be solidified until the fall."
On the running backs: "Brandon Minor had an excellent spring. He is much more confident because he has been around, he got a lot of work. The disappointment of course is Kevin Grady [knee injury], because he had an outstanding spring. I think he learned the patience it took to play that position, particularly in this offense. We'll have to see how the surgery goes on Monday. Then he will begin the rehabilitation process.
"The good news is he does have three years of eligibility left, depending on what happens this fall and how he responds … we'll have to see where that takes us. The good news is he has three years left … you don't know [if he'll return this fall]. I would not even hazard a guess except to say I have talked with Kevin. Whether he redshirts or not will be a decision I would leave up to him. We'll see how it goes."
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 in (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 Steve Brown got a lot of work there. I think Steve Brown has had 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 got 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 ever being one-hundred percent as far as putting a team together in thee 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's 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."