I did not make this headline up
[Ed-M: We've been waiting for you Obi-Jim. The write-up is now complete: bumped]
Evening, folks. Last night I had the honor of meeting and having a pleasant conversation with Lloyd Carr, so I thought I would share the story. Nothing too exciting but some of you may find it interesting.
One of my friends, who is a prominent athlete from Windsor (prominent to Windsor people, probably not to you guys) was up for an award at the Wespys. So i went with him without even knowing that Lloyd was the keynote speaker. When I found out, excitement ran over me. After the awards, we went to his table and he told us to sit down as he congratulated my friend for being nominated, although he didn't win. I should mention at this point that when one meets Lloyd Carr, he exudes class and sincerity even before he begins to speak. He then asked me if I was up for any awards, to which I replied that I was simply a spectator and am currently in law school. His reaction to this was to ask what I studied as an undergrad. When I mentioned philosophy, he said "Wow, that's excellent, you must be a heavy reader."
As a Michigan football fan of gargantuan proportions and a boy who became a man during the Lloyd Carr era, my first reaction upon hearing that Coach Carr would be speaking at the event was to behave like a child meeting Santa Claus and ask him a million football related questions. However, as someone who intends to become a hockey agent after law school and who knows a few athletes, I understand that these people receive the same questions ad nauseum from the general public. It is understandable, but at some point they develop pre-packaged, often repeated, and extremely generic answers to these encounters after hearing them constantly. Thus, I decided to refrain from asking any football questions at all and just enjoy his company.
The conversation was about 8-10 minutes long and we mostly discussed literature and philosophy. There was a great point in the conversation when we talked about writers who make their work inaccessible to most people by unnecessarily writing in complex schemes just for complexity's sake. I said I prefered the simple, classic, and understated genius of writers like Mark Twain and Charles Dickens, whose complexities come from the depth of their characters. He agreed.
When it was time to go, I shook his hand and told him it was a pleasure to meet him, to which he responded, and I'm paraphrasing, "You're a very charismatic young man and I'm sure you will go far." This, to say the least, made me feel like a million dollars well into today, and probably beyond.
So, I have nothing new for you guys, no inside knowledge about about his opinions on Hoke, Denard, or Rodriguez. Just a very enjoyable evening with a world-class human being and someone we should all be proud to say coached our football team. Thanks for reading.
“Okay, boys. We have a one score lead. I want you to run up the middle three times and punt. We’ll play solid prevent, and then we’ll do it again, and again.”
As fans, we remember this as the most irritating trait of Coach Carr. His endless focus on reducing variance and stalling his way to wins was infuriating. We recall the many games against Tressel and our bowl opponents that this strategy cost us. We remember punting from the 40 on 3rd and 2. We remember that fourth quarter field goal when M was up only 3 that we just knew would come back to bite us.
What we forget is that in the years Lloyd had a satisfactory defense, it worked. It worked to the tune of an 88% winning percentage. It worked to the tune of 5 Big Ten titles and a National Championship. And it didn’t work because Lloyd was lucky. It worked because he knew exactly what he was doing. I mean, seriously, I assume that nobody who knows anything about college football would ever question whether Lloyd Carr had a plan. At times, certain coaches seem to be winging it, throwing things out there just to try to find a magic formula. Not Lloyd Carr. Even during losses, he was always in control.
Last night, the ghost of his coaching career possessed Red Berensen. Shawn Hunwick stopped 40 shots, and Michigan spent the final two periods of the game playing prevent. Defensemen flew all over the ice, clogging lanes and disrupting flow. When Michigan did obtain the puck, we made three rushes up the middle and punted, clearing the puck from about center ice and setting up the defense again and again.
“Make that lead hold up, boys! Drive them crazy!”
Just like a Lloyd coached game, UND had chances, and plenty of them. But what they got very little of was the break away, one on that makes goalies around the world wet themselves. Most of their good chances erupted from a pile of bodies, more of which were Maize and Blue than Green and White. But it was always in a pile of chaos that’s hard to take advantage of.
“We’re gonna out-execute them. No mistakes. Do it right every time.”
As fans, like so many Lloyd coached games we watched, a lead felt an awful lot like a deficit until a kid named Scooter buried an empty netter with 35 second to play. We spent most of the night screaming at the TV, “Cmon! Get it going on O! Get some shots! Generate some pressure!”
Red knew though, as Lloyd did, better than us. UND was, and is, an offensive juggernaut that will make you pay for your mistakes. But discipline, quality play and the refusal to make any of those mistakes will drive your opponent crazy. They continue to push, waiting for that moment when you dedicate four to their end and they can put out a two on one break. Don’t give it to them.
Does it always work? No. Can you do it with just anybody? No. You need a star, too; someone to make a play when variance does overwhelm discipline. It’s important to recognize those stars. They’re the guys that make Lloyd and Red’s brilliance work. Lloyd had Charles Woodson. Red has Shawn Hunwick.
But that’s all part of the plan. Play clean. Play smart. Execute. Get your stars in position to pick up the slack and win the big ones. Stymie everyone. Be solid. Be stoic. Be brave. Be Michigan, and you will be a champion.
We Salute You, Coach.
I just got an e-mail that Lloyd Carr will be speaking at the School of Public Health on April 5th at 3:30 PM in the SPH II Auditorium. He joins Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher of the Michigan NeuroSport Program and Dr. David Sleet, Associate Director for Science, CDC National Injury Prevention and Control.
The talk is entitled "Play Smart: Injury Prevention on and off the Field" and is free and open to the public. They are requesting that if you plan on attending, you register here: http://www.sph.umich.edu/scr/playsmart/
Hope some of you can make it out for this! Go Blue!
A nice article at Rivals by Jonathon Chait that compares/contrasts the rushing attacks of Bo and Lloyd teams.
I think most on this site realize that Carr's teams were featured the passing game. He also noted how Bo was fond of the WVU option attack.
Which era do most people beleive to be old fashioned Michigan football?
It's a free article.
I haven't seen anyone mention this yet, but maybe I didn't look hard enough.
The College Football HOF Ballot was released today.
Among the long list:
Don Dufek, Michigan, Defensive Back, 1973-75
Curtis Greer, Michigan, Defensive Tackle, 1976-79
Robert Lytle, Michigan, Running Back, 1974-76
Lloyd Carr – Michigan (1995-2007); with a 122-40-0 record (.753)
If Bo Schembechler was Bo;
And Gary Moeller was Mo;
Then Lloyd Carr was Lo (I thought people were straining when going there);
Is Brady Hoke going to be called Ho?
Or will the tradtion of making Bo lineage coaches have a nickname that rhymes with Bo die a merciful death?