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January 03, 2008 - Image 13

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2008-01-03

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BEfR: Wolvr n C ak AlPeA2
Even before Rodriguez, Wolverines open playbook. Could that mean a quick transition for Blue? Page 2C

The Michigan Daily michigandaily.com ( January 3, 2008
UP11 FTI NG EXIT

PHOTOS BY RODRIGO GAYA/Daily
(ABOVE) Michigan coach Lloyd Carr ended his coaching career with a win in Tuesday's Capital One Bowl. (BELOW LEFT) Wide receiver Adrian Arrington scored two touchdowns in the Wolverines' victory.
Spo tligtfinds Carr
in final victory

ORLANDO, Fla. -
He fought hard against the
individual attention lead-
ing up to his final game,
but in the end,
Michigan
coach Lloyd
Carr lost that
battle.'
And in
doing so, he
passed his so-
called impass-
able final S
test: ending SCOTT
his coaching BELL
career on top, - -
both literally Too
and figura- Soon?
tively.
Carr left
Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium on
the shoulders of his players, the
ones he repeatedly told not to play
this game just for him. It didn't
work for Bo Schembechler 18
years earlier, so it wouldn't work
for Carr, either, right?
Not quite.
Carr's team would have none of
that talk.
No. 9 Florida may have been
the heavy favorite on paper - the
home-state, defending National
Champion from the supposedly
superior Southeastern Confer-
ence was playing an unranked
Michigan squad, after all - but it
'didn't translate on the field. Trail-
ing early, the speedy Gators and
their Heisman Trophy-winning
quarterback did everything they
could to regain the momentum.
INSIDE SPORTSTHURSDAY
With draft roming, WRsshine
See page 2C
w What's nextfor assistant coaches?
See page 3C
" The game in photos
See page 4C

But fake punts and misdirec-
tion can only get you so far when
you're battling a team hellbent
on sending its beloved coach out
in style.
THE PERFECT STAGE
Though Carr's intentions to
retire didn't become official
until after the Ohio State game,
most people within the program
figured 2007 would be his last
go-around as Michigan's sideline
general. The 62-year-old coach's
team had a chance to send him
out on top, but by mid-September,
a National Championship was
already out of the picture.
Once Michigan bookended its
regular season with back-to-back
losses, a positive ending for the
Lloyd Carr retirement tour looked
like a near-impossible fate. A
team with top-notch talent and
an excess of leadership suffered
top-notch disappointment and an
excess of injuries.
Time and time again, it became
obvious that good things don't
always happen to good people.
Storybook endings may make
people smile walking out of movie
theaters, but they're a rare fate in
real life.
But on New Year's Day, with
millions watching on a national
stage, real life made an exception
for Lloyd Carr.'
CARR'S NOT ALONE
The game had all the ingredi-
ents of being yet another disap-
pointment for a team too familiar

with the feeling.
Mike Hart fumbled twice in
the retd zone. Chad Henne tossed
a pair of costly interceptions.
Michigan's defense got tricked by
misdirection in crucial situations.
Mistakes like that are supposed
to be deadly, especially against a
defending National Champion in
a hostile environment.
But this time around the Wol-
verine miscues were just a side-
note - not a cause of misery.
Hart's two touchdowns made '
the fumbles stingless. Henne
threw for a career-best 373 yards
and tossed more touchdowns
(three) than interceptions. And
the Wolverine 'D' yielded just
four total yards during Florida's
two final offensive possessions.
Yes, after a season full of
almosts and what-ifs, the Michi-
gan football team finally closed
with an exclamation point instead
of a question mark.
Defensive coordinator Ron
English, who, like most of his
fellow assistants, was having an
involuntary swan song, designed
a gameplan that attacked Florida
repeatedly.
Pressure, the word the highly
scrutinized coaches leaving this
program know all-too-well, ended
up being the defense's greatest
asset.
Offensive coordinator Mike
DeBord, who, like secondary
coach Vance Bedford, is saying
goodbye to Michigan for a sec-
See CARR, Page 3C

Florida trash talk breaks
through to inspire Blue

By KEVIN WRIGHT
Daily Sports Editor
ORLANDO, Fla. - Asingle wall
separated the Michigan and Flori-
da locker rooms in the Florida Cit-
rus Bowl Stadium.
That wasn't enough of a barrier
to keep the Gator trash talk from
seeping through the barrier into
the Wolverine lair, and the Michi-
gan players took notice - espe-
cially when the Florida swagger
carried onto the field during pre-
game warmups.
"Before the game, the wide
receivers were coming over and
talking trash," senior safety Jamar
Adams said. "Their team was
coming over and talking trash. We
could hear them talking through

the walls."
Since the Capital One Bowl
matchup. was decided on Dec.
2 pitting the defending Nation-
al Champion Gators against
unranked Michigan, the Wolver-
ines heard everything the expert
analysts had to say.
None of the predictions gave
unranked Michigan any chance to
compete, let alone win.
The Florida offense, boasting
that heralded Southeastern Con-
ference speed and a Heisman-
Trophy winning quarterback, was
supposed to have a field day with
a Wolverine defense that helped
launch Oregon quarterback Den-
nis Dixon's Heisman campaign.
"You hear all throughout the
weeks that it's not even going to

be close," wide receiver Adrian
Arrington said. "It's going to be a
rout. They're going to beat us by
5. Even their players were say-
ing that. We had a big chip on our
shoulder, and we came out here
and played."
With all the odds stacked
against them (Las Vegas had
the Wolverines as a double-digit
underdog), Arrington and the rest
of his teammates came out with
jawing rarely seen from the Mich-
igan sideline.
Most fans expected to see the
gator-chomp motion throughout
the game, but from those in the
orange and blue uniforms, not the
maize and blue.
After just about every positive
See MOTIVATION, Page 3C

4

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