Ironically, the first words out of Lloyd
Carr’s mouth were, “The marathon is over.” Little
did he know, it had just begun. It was 11:15 in the morning, and it
felt like a lecture, but worse. There were only about 25 people in
the room, eliminating the opportunity to take a nap, and my
recorder was at the podium with Coach Carr, eliminating the chance
for an early getaway.

Candace Mui

You have to give him credit for trying to get out of there early
— his opening statement only took about a minute. The
reporters weren’t in as big a hurry, though, keeping Carr and
myself there for over an hour. And Coach Carr definitely had it
worse: At least I didn’t have to answer pointless
questions.

This isn’t your average column of, “You never know
which recruits are going to turn out to be good players, blah,
blah, blah” or, “Recruiting these days has become so
corrupted, blah, blah, blah.”

No. These are Carr’s comments that I failed to repress
from my memory, followed by my inner monologue in italics (in no
particular order, except for the last quote):

“ … I want to say this: Jim Boccher really did a great
job recruiting (quarterback Chad) Henne and (running back) Michael
Hart, his work there was instrumental in getting those two kids to
come to Michigan … ”

Jim Boccher — the former special teams coach? That Jim
Boccher? I guess Henne and Hart didn’t see the Iowa game …

“… Well, (offensive tackle Alan) Branch has great
athletic ability. I saw a play where he was in the backfield and
ran 55 yards for a touchdown, and in one play, you can see a guy
that possesses wonderful athletic ability … ”

I don’t care how athletic the kid is or what position
he plays, how does a 6-foot-6, 315-pounder score a 55-yard
touchdown? What is the competition like in Albuquerque, New Mexico?
Was he being tackled by a team full of Mini Mes?

“ … (Running back) Max Martin grew up in Chicago.
So, in getting to talk with him, he is one of those kids that grew
up as a Michigan fan … ”

Are these reporters going to ask about every recruit on the
list? I wonder if Carr would think it’s funny if I say:
“Tom Lemming has Martin ranked as the 73rd overall recruit
— do you think he got screwed out of the 72nd
slot?”

“ … I don’t know of anyone that receives an
inordinate amount of publicity and buildup that — anyone that
deals with those kinds of things is going to have to handle it. And
it’s a very difficult thing to do at that age. It’s
very easy to believe that ‘The rules apply to everyone else
but me’ and ‘I’m great.’ And of course, as
those of us that are mature and understand those things, we know
that complacency and arrogance will destroy you. It will certainly
make it much more difficult for you … ”

Who brought up Kelly Baraka?

“ … (Wide receiver) Adrian Arrington out of Cedar
Rapids, Iowa, is a bigger guy … ”

I like it — stealing recruits away from Iowa coach Kirk
Ferentz. But wait, Iowa’s two best players last year were
both 5-foot-8 (Fred Russell and Bob Sanders) and we still lost.
Someone find a Mini Me that Branch played against.

“ … I think (Chad) Henne has a chance to be an
outstanding quarterback … ”

Carr really has Joe Pa’s number. Six straight wins and
three huge recruits from Pennsylvania — Henne, Marlin Jackson
and Steve Breaston.

Is (Assistant Athletic Director) Bruce Madej going to jump in
and cut this thing off? … I guess not.

“ … outstanding … ”

I lost count. How many times has he said
‘outstanding’?

“ … Jeremy CIULLA (pronounced CHUH-la) I like Ciulla a
lot … ”

That sounds important — better write it down: Carr …
likes … Ciulla … a lot.

“ … I thought for sure (Tom Brady) was going to
(transfer). He leaned forward — now this kid is only 19 years
old — and he said, ‘I’m going to prove to you
that I’m a great quarterback. I’m going to prove to you
that I can take this team to a championship.’ And he did, he
did … ”

I thought this press conference was about recruiting. Is the
reporter next to me about to start crying?

“ … Well, Marques Walton’s father, Lloyd, played
in the NBA a number of years and is still affiliated with the
NBA… ”

What the … ?

“… (Former linebacker) Sam Sword is RETURNING TO
MICHIGAN — one of my favorite guys … ”

What? He’s still got eligibility … Oh, he means as a
graduate assistant.

“ … Some of you are falling asleep here … ”

I was just resting my eyes, coach — I swear.

“ … Alright, thank you. Good to see you
again!”

What? It’s over? Quick — someone douse Coach Carr
with a cooler of Gatorade.

 

Jim Weber should not be confused with a realist: one with
realistic expectations. He is The Realest: the most real. Jim can
be reached at
“mailto:jamesmw@umich.edu”>jamesmw@umich.edu, but don’t
bother e-mailing him to ask the point of this column. His answer:
There isn’t one.

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