Life After Lloyd: Why Michigan Will Miss Carr

Nino Colla@TheTribeDailySenior Writer INovember 17, 2007


It's expected that Michigan coach Lloyd Carr will announce his retirement at a press conference on Monday.

To say that Carr is going out on bad terms would be the understatement of the year.

Lloyd is leaving the Wolverines to a chorus of jeers—from fans and media-types alike.

And the truth is he deserves far better.

Carr has won five Big Ten Titles, and only once finished lower than third in the conference (fourth place in 1996, his second year). He also has over 120 wins and a national title to his name.

Only a few coaches in college football history can match that kind of success.

Some say the game has passed Carr by, pointing to his recent struggles against Ohio State and in bowl games.

But those arguments fail to give credit to the man himself.

Players love Carr, and he loves them back. You'd be hard-pressed to find one soul who played under Coach Carr and doesn't respect him to this day.

If you have a problem with Lloyd Carr, in other words, you have a problem with 100+ angry football players.

Which leaves the Michigan athletic department in a peculiar position.

The Wolverines are losing three key pieces of a talented offense, a defensive captain, possibly their defensive coordinator, and, most importantly, their head coach.

It's been over 10 years since the Michigan brass have had to find a new man to lead the football team. The decision they make will be instrumental in shaping the future of the program.

The obvious candidate is LSU coach Les Miles, who has been mentioned in connection with the Michigan position for years. Miles has said he isn't considering the job at the moment—but you have to believe that could change on very short notice.

Icon Sports MediaThe darkhorse is Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly, who knows the state from his days at Central Michigan. Kelly's explosive offense could be even more dangerous with the caliber of players in Ann Arbor.

In any event, the new Michigan coach will have his work cut out for him.

First, he'll have to light a fire under a program that's lacked it of late. Second, he'll have to fine-tune the offense—which may mean cutting ties with offensive coordinator Mike DeBord.

On defense, coordinator Ron English may be headed for the NFL (assuming he doesn't take the Michigan job). English or no English, the Wolverine D needs more speed in the secondary—to say nothing of some work on basic tackling technique.

If Les Miles does take take the reins, the Wolverines will hope he can bring some of that Southern speed up north. With athletes like Juice Williams roaming the landscape, college football is changing—and you've got to be able to run if you want to keep pace.

And then, of course, there's the matter of relationships. The new coach might be able to fill Lloyd's headset—but I dare him to match Carr's love for his players.

For that, at least, Carr deserves a round of applause on his way out the door.