You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, Jan 3, 2012 : 1:57 p.m.

Ex-Michigan coach Lloyd Carr compares quarterback Denard Robinson to former great Anthony Carter

By Kyle Meinke

NEW ORLEANS -- Lloyd Carr had his share of issues trying to defend spread-offense quarterbacks.

So, he certainly can appreciate watching one shred defenses for the Wolverines.

The former Michigan football coach is in New Orleans to be honored as part of his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. He met briefly with the media before tonight's Sugar Bowl, and couldn't help but marvel at what quarterback Denard Robinson has been able to accomplish in his first two years as the Wolverines' starting quarterback.

When asked who Robinson reminded him of, Carr had to reach way back.

His answer: Anthony Carter.


Former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr before being honored for his College Football Hall of Fame induction at this year's game against Nebraska.

Melanie Maxwell I

"Anthony Carter is as exciting as any football player I’ve ever seen," Carr said of the former receiver, whose excellence began the tradition of doling out the No. 1 jersey to the team's top wideout.

"I can remember being in the press box, and I was (coaching) defense at Michigan Stadium, and every time John Wangler would throw the ball in Anthony’s direction, everybody on that side of the field would stand up because they were scared they were going to miss something. I mean, he could make something out of nothing.

"I think Denard has the same kind of electricity when he takes off because he’s made so many plays."

Robinson set an NCAA quarterback for rushing yards in a season last year, and he led the Big Ten in total offense this season despite transitioning into offensive coordinator Al Borges' system.

He'll lead Michigan against Virginia Tech at 8:30 tonight in the Sugar Bowl (ESPN).

Carr still can remember the first time he met Robinson, when an academic support staffer introduced them. The staffer warned Carr he would like the quarterback.

They spoke for about 30 minutes, and Carr already knew she was right.


The Sugar Bowl matchup between Michigan and Virginia Tech create some interesting storylines. We’ve been covering them all for weeks. Check out our Mega Guide for a compilation of links to all Sugar Bowl-related stories on our site.
"I think he’s just been a sensational representative of Michigan football," Carr said. "He’s handled the good and the bad, and he’s handled the success.

"When he became the starter for the first time (last year) and the success he had, he handled that extremely well. And, when things didn’t go well, he really handled it well -- which, to me, is really an important sign because it shows maturity."

Carr had trouble in his final years against spread quarterbacks such a Texas' Vince Young, Florida's Tim Tebow and even Appalachian State's Armani Edwards, which gives him an appreciation for what Robinson's been able to accomplish.

He's been especially impressed by his durability.

"The two guys that we played against was Tebow and Vince Young," Carr said. "Now, when you walk onto a football field and you see Vince Young, you don’t see many guys in a career that is more impressive physically, and so a guy like that, you say, he’s big enough that he can endure all the contact. And Tebow, of course, was sensational.

"And now Denard, he’s not like either one of those guys, yet he’s been extremely productive."

When asked if he would have tried to recruit Robinson himself, Carr replied, "Absolutely. Tried to."

Other topics broached by Carr in his 10-minute meeting a small group of reporters:

On maintaining contact with the fifth-year seniors, whom he recruited: "I had guys coming to my office because I told them when I left there, I said, ‘look, I’m going to be around if I can ever help you, and you know where to find me,’ but I don’t see them on a regular basis. But, I’m trying to make it clear I’ve been watching and cheering for them."

On whether coach Brady Hoke exceeded his expectations this year: "If you had told me back in August that this Michigan team is going to have the season have had, and end the season and improved so much from start to finish … I go back to the Western Michigan, where we had problems stopping them, and then you fast forward and, to me, Nebraska was a sensational performance in every phase of the game, and end up in the Sugar Bowl … If someone would have said you have to bet your life, I wouldn’t have bet my life."

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.


Ed daggett

Wed, Jan 4, 2012 : 10:20 p.m.

so much for Carr wanting to "stay in the background" after he 'retired'. Bacons book showed why he wanted to stay in background with the type dealings he was doing. Question for LC is 1) if you wanted to run football program why did you 'retire'? and 2) do you really think this media rehabilitation tour is going to get your name back? You did a lot of fine things as a coach and fundraiser but your undercutting of the kids and program the last three yrs has revealed you as a disgruntled traitor of UM


Wed, Jan 4, 2012 : 5:37 a.m.

Carr wouldn't have recruited Denard to play quarterback. Nor would have Brady Hoke. Michigan traditionally likes to play a pro style offense, so recruiting Denard to play quarterback wouldn't have made sense. Denard is a great athlete so he is able to adapt to a pro style offense, but so far he is not a great pro style quarterback. His passing is simply inconsistent. Unlike RR, Hoke is smart enough to work with the talent he has instead of scaring them off. Further, to be fair, some of the great players on the team, Carr recruited. For instance, the most valuable player in today's game, Junior Hemingway. Van Bergen also had a heck of a game today (another Carr recruit). Most importantly, Hoke is one of Carr's guys.


Tue, Jan 3, 2012 : 10:27 p.m.

As much as I've bashed Rich Rod, he did recruit a lot of classy guys to the play for Michigan. We can look back and say, if Rich Rod did only one thing right, he recruited Denard and groomed him into an outstanding QB. Credit Hoke and Borges to stick with Denard during 2011, believe and develop him into what he is now. GO BLUE!!!


Tue, Jan 3, 2012 : 8:53 p.m.

You know, I am not sure he would have recruited Denard as a QB


Tue, Jan 3, 2012 : 10:22 p.m.

You're right, he never would have recruited him as a QB. Funny how Carr is showing up at UM games again.


Tue, Jan 3, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

I doubt he would have. I doubt Hoke would have either. Or Borges. For that matter, ditto Urban Meyer and Nick Saban (he was offered Florida and Alabama, but as I understand it not as QB). Had he been 6'2" and 200+ with that kind of mobility the southern schools would have taken him as QB, I think. That Rodriguez recruited him as QB isn't really all that surprising -- Robinson is in the mold of Pat White. I think Robinson fit RR's vision of his ideal QB much better than did Tate Forcier.