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Carr, coaching staff have the ability to motivate
their team -despite what the public may think
QB or not QB?
Tom Brady's the starter. But who's his backup? And how close is the competit
Only time will tell. Because Lloyd Carr sure won't.
By Sharat Raju
n September of 1948, when Bennie
Oosterbaan embarked on his first
season of Michigan football, he had
to follow on the heels of coach Fritz
Crisler's famed teams of the 1940s,
including the 1947 team that won the
"mythical" national championship.
He had to use a team composed of
several newcomers and transfers. He
implemented a new offensive strategy
that he had to teach the entire team.
The newspapers of the day decried the
preseason scrimmage in September,
saying that Crisler's "magical 11" were
gone and Michigan football would suf-
Oosterbaan's Wolverines eventually
tila ional title that year, despite
the navsaye i F the day.
Miry how histhry repeats itself.
cism was everywhere entering
i Lloyd Carr's third campaign last
on. People were saying the 'M' in
Michigan stood for 'mediocre.' The
media lambasted Carr's coaching abili-
VF :gat a difference a championship
"As a coach, I've never been so
excited in my life, and those guys who
are going to make up this team at
Michigan feel the same way," Carr
This season carries tremendous his-
torical significance. No Michigan
coach has had to defend a national title
since Oosterbaan in 1949. And with all
the magic and drama surrounding last
season, whatever happens this year
will beg comparisons to last year.
But that's the challenge facing Carr
and his coaching staff- to make this
season something special and not to
re-enact the last.
"This season is a challenge and I
don't think you can back off any chal-
lenge," Carr said. "I'm not going to
think about last year at all."
Carr is a difficult person to define.
One word or phrase cannot pin him
To begin with, he doesn't look or act
like the traditional football coach. He
isn't physically imposing. His voice
isn't loud or boisterous. He doesn't try
to make the media laugh with witty
He looks like your neighbor. You
know, the guy with whom you would
casually discuss lawn care while you're
walking the dog as he leans over his
But that's just his appearance. Ilis
motivational skill, which in previous
seasons was questioned because of his
innocuous demeanor, has since been
widely praised. Carr earned six nation-
al coach of the year awards following
his accomplishments in 1997.
Last season, he read the novel Into
Thin Air - a story about climbing
Mount Everest - and encouraged his
players to do the same. And through-
out the season, the mountain-climbing
theme was not only utilized by the
team but also publicized widely by the
"I kind of wish I hadn't told you
guys about that," Carr said before this
season started. "The mountain-climb-
ing theme was played up too much by
That's another side of Carr, the one
the writers and reporters get to see the
most - the thin-skinned, sensitive
man. He's been known to get visibly
upset at what people say about him in
print. Especially those who don't know
him well - specifically reporters.
In fact, after his first season, Carr
marched into The Michigan Daily's
offices and waited at the sports desk
for the sports editor to arrive. He was
upset at something a reporter wrote
about a player's recent brush with the
That sensitivity doesn't seem to be a
quality suitable for a person in the
most closely scrutinized athletic pro-
gram in the country. But he seems to
have the respect of all his peers and
"I had the privilege of working with
Lloyd," said former Michigan assistant
and current Indiana coach Cam
Cameron. "I was lucky to watch Lloyd.
He taught me how to coach."
Carr is obviously well-liked by those
around him. Just take a look at his
coaching staff. Everyone returns,
despite offers from other schools and
"If you have someone you love to
work for, it's hard to leave," defensive
coordinator Jim Herrmann said. "That
permeates through us."
Carr's leadership, from all indica-
tions, is unquestionable. He has main-
tained a strong foundation throughout
the three seasons he's been head coach.
"I am glad to have 'a great coaching
staff back in place, which is rare after
having the kind of season we had last
year," Carr said. "When you are able to
return your entire staff it adds to the
continuity of the entire program and I
am extremely pleased with our coach-
Carr has returned that feel-good
aura to Michigan, one that invokes the
feeling that must have surrounded Ann
Arbor during Schembechler's dominat-
ing teams of the 1970s and early
But Carr did something
Schembechler never did - he won a
national championship. And that's
something every Michigan fan won't
By Jim Rose
ason Kapsner used to beat up on Tom Brady in ping-
pong. 21-14, 21-13, the occasional 21-7. Oh sure,
he'd lose every now and then, but for the most part,
Brady took his lumps in a first-floor dormitory commons
But now, nearly two years removed from their West
Quad rivalry, it's Brady who has the upper hand - over
Kapsner, and the rest of Michigan's quarterback quartet
as well. But not in ping-pong. In football.
After nearly stealing the starting quarterback job from
Brian Griese a year ago, Brady watched the majority of
the Wolverines' perfect season from the sidelines.
According to Carr, "he has paid his dues." And so, after
three years of watching and waiting, his time has finally
"Tom Brady knows the offense, he's got a strong arm,
and he's a talented guy," Carr said. "He's a fighter. I'm
confident in his ability to lead this team."
Auter a great spring and a strong fall, Brady held off a
late charge from freshman Drew Henson, as well as
returnees Scott Dreisbach and Kapsner. And when all was
said and done, he found himself in the position he had in
mind from the time he committed to Michigan back in
high school: starting quarterback.
It wasn't long ago that the days and weeks on the bench
had Brady contemplating a transfer to another school, one
where he could step in and play immediately. But he
stuck it out. And his patience is finally being rewarded.
One of Brady's. toughest tests came from a player who
wasn't even on last year's team, but is nonetheless one of
the most popular players associated with Michigan foot-
ball these days: the latest freshman sensation, Drew
Henson. Hailed by the media as the future, and by many
fans as the present, Henson's arrival in Ann Arbor came
with as much fanfare as a full-scale Hollywood premiere.
And though these things tend to get blown out of pro- T
portion, the fuss over Henson - - already christened e
"Golden Boy" by Sports Illustrated --- is not entirely
unwarranted. He's already a millionaire, having signed to play
baseball in the Yankees' farm system during his summer vaca-
tions. He was recruited by everybody -- before he got to high
._ . if he thought Henson
4 :>y judging from Carr's c
late-game, 80-yard tc
Henson doesn't nece:
Dreisbach could be ti
>s>-' "He's got a lot of e
rCl from him," he said of
of adversity, and he's
The other name th
- ~much this fall - is IK
slowed after a groin1
and he's had his hand
time since the injury.
.< school, Kapsner's sto
Lots of watching anc
,.uBut sometimes, lot
lowed by a shot at th
"I never thought th
7 Brady said about his
comes to Michigan c
that if you want to be
"And if there's one
worry about other pe
That may be so, bi
he'll be faced with a
Of course, he's got a
went 12-0 and was n
Brady hasn't exactly
starting debut on the
* - Notre Dame Stadiun
season in 50 years. S
r pressure. But don't t
enjoying this. At lon
WARREN ZINN/Daily "The pressure of d
om Brady, according to coach Lloyd Carr, has "paid his dues." But he has little is pretty tough," he s
xperience running a team at the collegiate level. situation we'd all like
school. He signed early with Michigan, and got an assurance
from Lloyd Carr that Michigan would recruit no other quarter-
backs in his class. And, oh yeah - he's pretty smart, too. If
nothing else, he already knows what he's supposed to say.
"I understand that Tom is the No. 1 guy coming into the sea-
son," Henson said recently. "I'm not overly concerned with how
I'll respond. I'm still a freshman, and this is my first college
That much may be true, but Carr has been bold in his praise
of Henson after just a few weeks of practice.
"Without question," Carr said, "he's the most talented quarter-
back that I've been around. He's gonna play some this year."
So if Brady's the starter, and Henson will likely see time on
the field as well, then where does that leave Dreisbach and
Kapsner? Well, according to the official Michigan depth chart,
Brady's backup is, technically, "Scott Dreisbach or Drew
Henson or Jason Kapsner." So that's no help. But if it's true that
Henson's talent will yield playing time in the near future, then
the chances of either Dreisbach or Kapsner seeing much action
are probably somewhat slim.
For Dreisbach, who took a couple snaps in short yardage situ-
ations against Notre Dame, being relegated to backup duty must
be somewhat tough to swallow. After starting the first four
games of the 1995 season, he started 11 in 1996. He still holds
the all-time school record for passing yardage in a single game
(372 yards against Virginia, in his first career start). A fifth-year
senior, he's seen more at Michigan than anyone else vying for
the quarterback job. And, of course, he watched Griese win a
national title last year.
"It is tough," Dreisbach said. "It's a script I wouldn't write for
myself. But I've worked hard to get into good shape, and I'll try
to be ready when I get the chance."
Other than Carr, nobody really knows exactly how much
Dreisbach can expect to play. He would be the Wolverines' most
experienced backup, and Carr could slot him as the No. 2 man
Lloyd Carr was under a lot of criticism after his first two seasons ended with four
losses. But after bringing home the national titleI In his third season, most of
Carr's critics have changed their tune.
Drew Henson, freshman phenom, adds intrigue - and a fair amount
of talent - to the quarterback picture. But can an 18-year-old lead a
defending national champion?
Scott Dreisbach was the Woli
years later, he's in danger of
quarterback depth chart. Or I
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