Michigan Museday Wants Another Other Carr

Submitted by Seth on January 17th, 2012 at 9:39 AM

AAN UM v OSU biakabutuka LEWLloyd

This was Brady Hoke's first year at Michigan. Music was awesome because a) I was a sophomore in high school, and b) it was just way better than the music when you were a sophomore in high school. Michigan players wore deep dark navy mesh jerseys that stretched tight over massive shoulder pads and neck rolls, and exposed their abs. Most of the incoming Class of 2012 was born. And in 1995, Lloyd Carr took over for Gary Moeller in a move most everybody thought was temporary.

Had the internet at the time been more than BBSs that you logged into over 14.4 baud modems the general fan meltdown might have been better saved for posterity. A lot of folks thought Bo oughtta step back in; I mean you don't go from Schembechler, to his longtime heir apparent, to the affable defensive backs coach with a  penchant for quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson. Some tweed jacket might have said it was like going from Henry (Plantagenet), to Richard, to John.*modem


* OT rules don't cover comments section, so if any of you want to talk Angevins, it's on!


As an officially interim guy (and not a candidate in the initial coaching search), Lloyd built his staff more like a Luke Fickell than an Urban Meyer: no big-name hires, no extra budget, just mostly everybody from the '92 shakeup moving up. The RB coach (Fred Jackson) became the offensive coordinator. The DL coach (Greg Mattison) became the DC. Longtime linebackers coach (really our recruiting guru before that was a coaching position) Bobby Morrison became OL coach, replacing the departed Les Miles. Oregon State DL coach Brady Hoke, hired only a few months ago by Moeller, whom Mattison knew from Western Michigan and Lloyd knew as the dude who was always hanging around Michigan's summer camps, was given just the DEs. brady-hokeMattison retained the DTs. Carr's additions were DBs coach Vance Bedford out of Oklahoma State, and former Michigan receiver Erik Campbell, who had been an RBs coach with Ball State and Cuse but was given the receivers.

The cupboard at the time wasn't bare, but there were some key losses. Michigan would have to replace senior QB Todd Collins, starting RB Tyrone Wheatley, All-American CB Ty Law, and 1st round draft pick OT Trezelle Jenkins, as well as heart and soul linebacker Steve Morrison. Also gone was nose guard Tony Henderson, OLBs Trevor Pryce, Matt Dyson, and Kerwin Waldroup, and starting short corner Deon Johnson. Still, we were Michigan fans and expected better than 4-loss seasons.

It started in the Pigskin Classic, which back then was the only game that could be played Week 1, and the only way a team could play 12 regular season games. By some golden poop magic, Scott Dreisbach led Michigan back from down 17-0 to 17-12. That afternoon I was in driver's ed, doing the last training hours I needed to graduate, and we were listening to Brandstatter on the radio; at this point the instructor very kindly had me pull over in a Wendy's because I looked like I had to pee. Then on 4th down with 4 seconds left in the 4th quarter, Dreisbach found Mercury Hayes in the corner of the end-zone.


The rest of that year wasn't so 2011-ish. Dreisbach, a Henne-level recruit, was freshman-y maddening for five games, then he got hurt and a walk-on, Brian Griese, finished the last 9 games. Meanwhile the defense got so banged up that only one guy (Jarrett Irons) managed to start all 13 games (true freshman cornerback Charles Woodson, who earned his first start in Game 2, is the only other guy to start 12). We lost to Northwestern because Northwestern was weirdly doing that to everyone in those days (at the time I didn't feel this). We lost to Michigan State after MSU caught a late 4th down pass out of bounds and a yard shy of the marker, and this was ruled a 1st down. We lost to Penn State after they executed a perfect fake FG late. But Biakabutuka ran for 313 yards to beat No. 2 Ohio State (WH)…

…and it was good. Carr was given the job, and despite all expectations to the contrary just a year earlier, his assistants got to keep theirs. Over time he also won over most of the fans who'd doubted him.

Does this mean we'll have a functional DL? There's a story here that's not part of the Emerson-Quoting Good Guy Makes Good storyline, nor the Omigod-This-New-Cornerback(!) storyline. Behind the new Era of Good Feelings was some particularly good news coming from the defensive side of the ball. Michigan in '95 held opponents to 93.2 rushing yards per game, and 88.1 ypg in a Big Ten at its apex. This was an improvement from 112.3 ypg in 1994, which also happened to lead the Big Ten. Michigan in '95 also led the Big Ten in total defense  (314.5 ypg) for the first time since 1990. Points per game dropped from 19.3 (38th) to 12.0 (14th). This was despite losing Law and much of the front seven, and changing formation. Carr in '94 was running something like the 3-4 thing that was in vogue during the late exposed-belly period, and looked more like a 5-2. Missing all those 3-4 OLBs, Mattison switched to something like a 4-3 over that let murderous dudes with names like Steele and Irons and Swett and Sword hunt down ballcarriers.

This plays out a bit in the percentage of Michigan's tackles made by position:

Pos 1994 Tac% 1995 Tac%
NT Carr/Henderson 3.6% Carr 7.3%
DT Horn/Feazell 6.6% Horn/Feazell 9.4%
SDE Zenkewicz/Steele 8.8% Zenkewicz 4.4%
OLB/WDE Dyson/Waldroup 6.3% Steele 7.1%
SAM Hankins/Pryce 7.3% Bowens/Elston 5.0%
MLB Irons 13.5% Irons 13.6%
ILB/WLB Morrison 14.7% Swett/Sword/ Copenhaver 16.0%
DBs King, Sanders, Anderson, Thompson, Winters, Noble, Johnson, Law 39.4% King, Winters, Ray, Hankins, Thompson, Woodson 37.2%

Since interior DL is where we're petrified this year, let's look there. Mattison turned William Carr into a double-team-demanding nose guard, freeing Jason Horn to go from All-Conference to All-American. Horn was the first of four All-American interior defensive linemen on that team: Carr in '96, Glen Steele in '97, and (then redshirting) Rob Renes in '99. From there they turned Bowens, and then James Hall into rush WDEs, and Ben Huff and Josh Williams into quiet pluggers on some of the great Michigan defenses. They recruited the next generation of specialty guys: Rumishek (who as All-Conference as a senior), Shawn Lazarus, Eric Wilson, Norman Heuer, and the chef doeuvre of the Hoke school for hard-nosed nobody DTs, Grant Bowman.

The positional tackle rates for the 2001-'02 defense is eerily similar to another of recent memory:

# Pos 2001 Tac% 2002 Tac% 2011 Tac%
1 NT Lazarus/Bowman 4.9% Lazarus 4.7% Martin 4.7%
2 DT Heuer 4.5% Bowman/Heuer 5.7% Van Bergen 7.1%
3 SDE Rumishek 3.2% Rumishek 2.3% Heininger 2.4%
4 WDE Orr/Stevens 7.7% Orr/Stevens 9.2% Roh/Clark/ Black 8.5%
5 SAM Hobson 11.3% Hobson 14.0% Ryan/Beyer 5.9%
6 MLB Foote 11.1% Diggs/Reid 9.8% Demens 13.0%
7 WLB Diggs/Brackins 12.6% Kaufman/McClintock/ Sarantos 11.9% Morgan/Hawthorne 12.1%
8 DBs June, Curry, Drake, Shaw, Marlin, LeSueur, B.Williams, Howard 44.7% June, Shaw, Drake, Combs, Curry, LeSueur, M.Jackson 42.5% Kovacs, T.Gordon, Carvin, Floyd, Avery, T-Woolf Countess 46.3%

Obvious difference between future Jet Victor Hobson and Ryan/Beyer – it seems Demens, RVB and Kovacs split that difference. Maybe the SDE thing is a trend but this doesn't say very much; Dan Rumishek was All Big Ten in 2001, and yet wasn't the guy making tackles. From this however I think I'm starting to get an idea of what a Hoke carrdefensive line is supposed to do. The defense pivots on the SDE and NT, and then everybody collapses toward the ball with the DT handling cutbacks and the WDE a common late arrival.

Mattison left in '96, and Hoke, who took over the whole D-line in '97, departed for Ball State after the 2002 season. By then he'd helped recruit planetoids Gabe Watson, Larry Harrison and Alex Ofili, as was as the too-high Pat Massey, but their generation didn't take over until 2004, when Bowman, Heuer and Stevens graduated and Michigan went with a 3-4 again to give LaMarr Woodley a running start (the only other time in memory before this year that Michigan replaced all three of its interior DL).

Unfortunately I can't provide any better evidence that the return of the 1995 D-Line staff will be enough to make a functional defensive line out of Q-Wash, Campbell, Ash, Brink, and some freshmen. But the track record is real.



January 17th, 2012 at 9:48 AM ^

I mean you don't go from Schembechler, to his longtime heir apparent, to the affable defensive backs coach with a  penchant for quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson. 

This tail of this comment would have been accurate in 1987. By 1994, however, Lloyd Carr had been the defensive coordinator for 7 years.

Any chance this blog gets. Geez.


January 17th, 2012 at 9:55 AM ^

Rly jg? Because I thought the first half of the article was all about how Lloyd surpassed expectations and won the hearts of M fans in one year with gross competence and good coaching. You may spot the origins of nepotism but otherwise I'm calling out the naysayers of June '95 for being wrong about the guy.


January 17th, 2012 at 10:38 AM ^

You don't normally given an interim coach free reign to change a whole coaching staff.  And after they finally hired him, I'm not sure what massive changes were needed.  With minor changes the staff did win a National Championship 2 years later.  If anything, making changes late in his career and not having someone established to take over hurt us more than keeping guys around. (If Hoke had still been on staff when he jettisoned Herrmann, and who knows....or Terry Malone had been left in place as O-coordinator for some time....)


January 17th, 2012 at 10:57 AM ^

Well yes and no. It wasn't nepotism to promote from within in 1995. Rather Michigan was in a position where you really have no choice but to promote from within, which isn't nepotism but shares the effect.

What I'm saying is they did this, and then it worked, and that was the origins of nepotism. Lloyd himself was a prime example of coming up through the ranks. He promoted the DL coach to DC and BOOM Greg Mattison. He promoted Fred Jackson to OC and almost overnight Biakubatuka goes from that kinda good sophomore to almost literally Tyrone Wheatley except faster. Brady Hoke, Erik Campbell...these were almost in-house hires that worked out as well as you could have asked. I think when Carr won the Nat Championship with these guys it only made it that much more apparent to him that his guys were the guys.


January 17th, 2012 at 12:49 PM ^

You could go back to Bo making Mo head coach. Or really, just back to Bo. Everyone kills Lloyd for it, but how many big name coordinators did Bo go out and bring to Michigan? His guys came through the ranks at Michigan too, he didn't hire at the top from outside.  So it was a long going thing.  I was just saying that it may have continued afterwards, but '95 was a non-starter, because at Michigan or anywhere else interim guys don't get to go out and get big name coordinators who are going to get fired at the end of the year anyway...but they can fill out their staff.  It worked out in some cases, not so much in others. The funny thing is for all the Biakubatuka love (and he was actually a really talented sophomore...just had a REALLY great back in front of him), Fred Jackson wasn't much liked by the fans as OC.  Which is why (with Mattison leaving) he became Assistant Head Coach in '97 and we had two new coordinators for the National Championship year....the other being Mike DeBord.  The whole idea of promoting from within isn't really just a Michigan concept with successful programs.  Certainly there are others that are more mercenary about it, the LSU style, and that can obviously work too. Woody wanted Bo to take over for him when he retired "in a couple more years"...and coached like another 15. Rich obviously believes in having the same guys around.  It's just the idea that Michigan is some unique "The Hills Have Eyes" inbred situation distinct from how other colleges do it isn't really the case.  And it's not a new thing at Michigan, because Mo, Lloyd, McCartney and just about anyone else who coordinated under Bo got their start...with Bo.  So if you want to trace the roots, you can go back to 1969.  Or whenever Woody started coaching.

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January 22nd, 2012 at 1:29 AM ^

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January 17th, 2012 at 9:52 AM ^


Unfortunately I can't provide any better evidence that the return of the 1995 D-Line staff will be enough to make a functional defensive line out of Q-Wash, Campbell, Ash, Brink, and some freshmen. But the track record is real. 

You forgot Craig Roh, Jibreel Black, Frank Clark, and Jake Ryan (who can play rush end on passing downs). Also, "some freshmen" include a five-star DT and the reigning Ohio player of the year. The defense will be just fine.


January 17th, 2012 at 11:47 AM ^

I was talking interior. Roh, Black and Clark are WDEs, more like a 3-4 OLB (Woodley) than an SDE (RVB). Unless they move him Jake Ryan is doing the job of Bowens, or Hobson. The tackle rates in '95 for the SAM are more like what we got this year, but I think that is execution, not design.

Anyway we're not concerned about these outside spots. It's the interior I'm talking about. I think between Godin, Wormley, Pipkens, Strobel, Rock, and Wilkins we'll find a good three or four starters and likely an All-Big Ten performer or two. However not in any of the years between '95 and '11 was a freshman the nominal starter at any of these positions. Mike Martin and Alan Branch were both exciting third guys when they hit campus. Gabe Watson was a lot like Will Campbell. RVB was behind Graham in '08 and didn't nail down a job full time until he was a RS Sophomore.

The kids will get good, but I am very wary of predicting immediate success from any freshman on the D-line in this defense. I realize there were some recruits who got away in the last few years (Hankins, Graves) who were productive as freshmen but I haven't studied those defenses well enough to know much. For example Jerel Worthy was almost All Big Ten as a redshirt freshman, but I saw every snap of his that year and he was even more snap-jumpy then than he was as a senior, on a defense that overloads the middle and gave Worthy one-gap responsibility most of the time. In a 3-4 or a 4-3 under I think technique matters a whole hell of a lot more. This was something Bo Pelini echoed in that one seminar of his I got to attend on the 4-3 over. He said if he can get three interior DL trained well, the rest of the defense is vanilla. With Dantonio, and I think with Arkansas and Ohio State, and Penn State it's the opposite: the DL's job is to stand up the play and the tough jobs go to the linebackers.


January 17th, 2012 at 10:32 AM ^

The Kickoff Classic predates the Pigskin Classic, and was still in existence in '95. In fact, I believe Ohio State played in it. I do like how it's "week 1" a very current video-gamey designation, when they were kinda preseason bowl games, and played before the usual week 1 games started. Not "wrong", just an interesting look on how a game has changed perception. 

(Though I'm also not sure I get the wording on "b." and music).

Still a great reminiscence of the time.  So many great player names, coming back from the annals of Michigan history.  Not the Law and Wheatley level, but the Zenkewicz and Waldroup type players.


January 17th, 2012 at 10:35 AM ^

We lost to Michigan State after MSU caught a late 4th down pass out of bounds and a yard shy of the marker, and this was ruled a 1st down.

I could have swore that Banks scrambled for the phantom first down. I was at this game, sitting in the MSU student section. You could certainly be right... that it was a pass... as it's not exactly something I've tried to remember.


January 17th, 2012 at 10:39 AM ^

Miles had been given the HC job over Lloyd.  Maybe 97 doesn't happen.  Then again, maybe 2001-2010 never happens either.  The biggest differences between Lloyd and Miles (and there are a lot) seemed to be that Miles always surrounded himself with the best and brightest coaches while Lloyd tended to be more loyal to his guys and that Miles is/was a tireless recruiter while Lloyd seemed to lose his passion for it in the 2000's (if he ever had it).


January 17th, 2012 at 10:44 AM ^

Having read Bo's Lasting Lessons for the second time most recently, it seemed like Bo was a wonderful combination of the two people you mention, Miles and Carr.  Bo rewarded loyalty, but only if you were doing the job.  He demanded a lot from his staff, but took care of them at the same time.  Miles may be good at surrounding himself with good talent, but he has proven over the last number of years that the decisions he makes can be problematic, esp during big games...not to mention the off-the-field stuff.


January 17th, 2012 at 10:46 AM ^

He wasn't even a coordinator at the time. There would have been a half dozen guys on staff that would have been considered before him. In fact, he left in '95 to become a coordinator, and wouldn't be a head coach for another 7 years.  His career path is much more in Brady Hoke's age group than Lloyd's.

And it's funny looking back, because check out some old Tom Lemming stuff..he considered Lloyd and his staff along with Bowden at Florida State as the best recruiters in the Country.  I'm not sure Miles rep as a tireless recruiter doesn't also include the term "shady", so take the ease of that with a grain of salt.


January 17th, 2012 at 11:51 AM ^

My non-internet searched memory always remember the fake field goal as the 2nd year UM lost to a beatable PSU team, thus further exaborating the 3 loss seasons before playing OSU each year. Now I'll have to research the 96 game to store that memory as truth.

And WOW. That play was sooooo demoralizing. I've thought of that exact play at least once every year, especially with the recent Les Miles fake fg extravaganzas.


January 17th, 2012 at 1:10 PM ^

I wouldn't research the 96 game in Ann Arbor if I were you.  Dreisbach threw a couple bad interceptions and Penn State blocked a punt and fell on it in the end zone for a touchdown.  The final score was 29-17.  Just a pretty miserable game overall. 

The only thing I really remember personally about the 95 game in Happy Valley, other than the fake field goal, was Amani Toomer and other Michigan players getting belted with snow balls in the end zone by the Penn State student section.  Even JoePa apologized for that display after the game. 


January 17th, 2012 at 11:03 AM ^

I remember exactly where I was during a couple of those games.

Virginia game - I was playing in a Rugby tournament in Chicago.  We won our first match, but lost the second.  I got injured and was uber-pissed at myself for not being able to finish.  Someone tried to console me with the news that we pulled out the victory in the last second.  I didn't believe them.  To this day, I'm not convinced Hayes made that catch.

Ohio State - Inexplicably, I decided to not use my tickets for the game, figuring we were gonna get killed by the Buckeyes.  Instead, I went hunting with my brother-in-law.  I had never been to this particularly property and was set close to the property line.  The big ole drunk, armed, hillybilly neighbor happened to walk by on the way to his spot, saw me, and was not too pleased.  He started yelling at me and swearing and waving that shotgun around, much to my dismay.  I was legitimately scared for my life.   I left my spot and sat in the car to listen to the game.   <sigh> I wish I had gone to that game.  Dammit.


January 17th, 2012 at 11:11 AM ^

My junior year at Michigan (I was there during the 4 years sandwiched between Rose Bowl trips). I'm actually (almost) in the picture up there where Mercury Hayes is hauling in that pass....right behind the ref, in the band, to the tenor drummer's right, in the front row.  I remember Butterfield dropping a pass with about 4 seconds left in the middle of the field on the play JUST before the final pass. I remember feeling lucky that he dropped it because UM had no timeouts and wouldn't have been able to stop the clock.

My favorite player during those years (93 - 97) was Ninef F. Aghakhan. The DL with the very intimidating last name. Actually, I'm pretty sure that "The Agh" graduated in 93 or 94ish, so, he might not have been on the 95 team.

Thanks for the memories and thanks for listening. Great post!


January 17th, 2012 at 11:39 AM ^

Hey!  We're the same age.  That was my HS sophomore year as well. 

One nitpick: the HS class of 2012 was presumably born in 1994, not '95.


Brown Bear

January 17th, 2012 at 11:56 AM ^

my history teacher was a Ohio grad and loved to talk about it and how great they were. Needless to say I took great pride sneaking into his classroom before him on Monday morning and writing in large letters B I A K A B U T U KA 313 YARDS in large letters across his blackboard. Ahhhh memories.


January 17th, 2012 at 2:04 PM ^

#3 Normans 28, at #14 Anglo-Saxons 25

Oct. 14, 1066

RecapQuotesNotesPhoto Gallery

Boxscore and Play-By-Play

Scoring Summary

Score by Quarters     1  2  3  4   Score
-----------------    -- -- -- --   -----
Normans.............  0  7 14  7  - 28   (1-0, 1-0 Europe)
Anglo-Saxons........  3 14  8  0  - 25   (2-1, 0-1 Europe)

Attendance: 111,106

Harold Godwinson (Anglo-Saxons): 149
William of Normandy (Normans): 110
Odo of Bayeux (Normans): 95
Taillefer, Court Jester (Normans): 1

Norman Longbow: 2,480
Anglo-Saxon Shortbow: 420

In your EYE Harold!

Housecarls (Anglo-Saxons): 1,344
Cavalry (Normans): 1,250
Footsoldiers (Normans): 148
Fyrd (Anglo-Saxons): 135
Poitevins (Normans): fucking useless

Also your wins over Tostig and Hardrada this year look a lot worse now that the Vikings got eaten by Bears.


January 17th, 2012 at 1:47 PM ^

I was at that Pigskin Classic too. So exciting! When I read the title of this post I thought it would be about how Carr was more aggressive with his play calling early in his career and Hoke seems more in alignment with the younger Carr days in that regard. The D line situation is an angle most of us had probably missed the similarities to. Good work.