Michigan coach Lloyd Carr never likes to reveal too much about injuries at his Monday press conference. And with the Big Ten Championship on the line against Ohio State this Saturday, he was more tight-lipped than usual yesterday.
Never mind Chad Henne and Mike Hart. Even the status of special teams player Anton Campbell was off limits.
“Saturday,” Carr said when asked about Campbell’s injury.The same went for Henne and Hart: “We’ll have to see on Saturday.”
Carr’s only comments about the injuries rehashed his statements following the Wolverines’ loss to Wisconsin. Hart wanted to play, but Carr said he sat him because of something he saw in pre-game warm-ups. Henne looked good in warm-ups, but Carr said after the quarterback threw an interception on Michigan’s second drive, it was “pretty apparent at that time to him and to everybody that it wasn’t going to be his day.”
Many speculated Carr rested them because the Wisconsin game wouldn’t impact Michigan’s Big Ten Championship chances. Coaches denied that was the case.
“You play every game to win,” offensive coordinator Mike DeBord said after the game.
Oddly enough, the game did sort of matter. With Ohio State’s loss to Illinois, Michigan could have clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title with a win. Now the Wolverines will have to beat the Buckeyes to win the championship.
Considering the offense’s struggles with freshman quarterback Ryan Mallett on Saturday, that probably won’t be possible without Henne and Hart.
But given the injuries Henne and Hart have played through this year, some of their teammates say they the duo will compete – even if not at 100 percent.
“I predict (Hart’s) return. I always expect Mike Hart to play,” safety Jamar Adams said. “Always expect Chad Henne to play.”
Said safety Brandent Englemon: “Anybody who is playing in this game, whether they have any nicks, bruises, anything, they’re going to play in this game.”
Walking away?: For much of the season, Michigan coach Lloyd Carr has avoided the big question that has followed him the past few years: Will he back to coach the Wolverines next season?
With the increased media focus on this weekend’s game, though, the coach inevitably had to answer it. But it didn’t mean he had to do it well.
“The only thing on my mind is this game,” Carr said.
But the popular Michigan sports blog MGoBlog.com fueled speculation among Wolverine fans yesterday with a post that said Carr would announce his retirement next week. The website cited three anonymous sources as saying the coach was already informing people inside the athletic department of his decision.
Athletic Director Bill Martin told the Ann Arbor News he would not comment on the post. But he did point out that the conversation about Carr’s future always seems to crop up around this time.
“It’s like clockwork,” Martin told the paper. “Lloyd Carr can coach here as long as he wants to.”
Back in Ann Arbor: Last week, ESPN College GameDay crew covered the 122nd meeting between Division-III schools Amherst and Williams.
This Saturday, the Boys from Bristol will attend a rivalry not quite as old, but just a bit more notable.
Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit will be in Ann Arbor this weekend for the 104th matchup of The Big Game. It has not yet been decided where the set will be placed.
GameDay was at the Michigan-Ohio State game last year, but this will mark its first time in Ann Arbor since Michigan beat Ohio State 35-21 in 2003.