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Mark This Down

There will come a time this fall when Michigan, win or lose, plays a close game against a mediocre-to-good opponent. In this game, there may be several instances when Michigan fails to move the ball or score points when it needs to do both. In the wake of this failure, someone will ask Lloyd Carr what he was thinking as the offense sputtered. During a usual, mildly discursive response, Carr will note Michigan's inability to deploy and/or properly execute a special formation with Antonio Bass at quarterback. Carr will explain that it had been his intention to get Bass some snaps in this formation at practice during the spring, but that this wasn't possible because Bass was hurt.

Bass's injury was the headline news item that emerged from Lloyd Carr's pre-spring-practice press conference on Thursday. You can get the gist here and a more detailed synopsis here and/or here if you pay.

Some notable information:

  • Special teams will be coordinated using a committee approach. Offensive Coordinator Mike DeBord will coach punting; Cornerbacks Coach Ron Lee will coach punt returning; Defensive Line Coach Steve Stripling will coach kickoffs; Running Backs Coach Fred Jackson will coach kickoff returning.
  • Adrian Arrington is almost back to where he was before being injured and in the doghouse; Jerome Jackson will not practice in the spring due to injury and inappropriate rap songs; Doug Dutch will only be available for the final week due to an injury sustained during Alamo Bowl practices.
  • Kevin Grady is now just 218 pounds and has improved a lot (so they claim).
  • Ryan Mundy is cleared to play in the spring.
  • Terrence Taylor and Eugene Germany are doing well.
  • The offensive line will look like this: Jake Long, left tackle; Adam Kraus, left guard; Mark Bihl, center; Rueben Riley, right guard; Mike Kolodziej, left tackle.
  • Carlos Brown will be used as a defensive back and will focus on learning nickel packages. Said Carr of Brown at DB, "We'll move him there."
Some not-so-notable analysis:
  • Let's start a pool right now with regard to when we'll hear a crippling special teams blunder explained away with the term "communications error" or something analogous. I just don't understand why Michigan won't hire someone who knows how to coach 'em up on special teams and make that part of the game an advantage for the Wolverines.
  • I believe NO hype about which players are good and which players are not that comes out of the spring. Every year, we hear retread promises and the seductive optimism of renewal. And then Michigan loses three games in the fall despite the hype about an aggressive, varied offense and a 1997-like defense. This is a Missouri-like website: show me, don't just tell me.
  • While moving Carlos Brown to DB might help address DB depth issues; and might help get a talented athlete on the field sooner; and might not seem so significant since Mike Hart and Kevin Grady still matriculate at Michigan; and might not preclude Brown from participating on offense, I CANNOT understand why Michigan has potentially chosen to take the only real non-WR speed that it has out of the offensive backfield. Michigan has long struggled to effectively run outside, and it seemed as though Brown would be part of that solution, offering the breakaway speed obviously lacked by the other running backs. Additionally, Brown played QB in high school and would not only have provided UM with another winkle to work into the offense, but he is also a player who is comfortable with the ball in his hands. Please keep an eye on this development. It has the potential to be discouraging.