Benched: Former University of Michigan coach Lloyd Carr on college football amid pandemic, who he’s Zooming with

Former coach unsure if college football will return in the fall amid public safety concerns

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – With sports “benched” for months due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it’s unclear if college football will return to the field in the fall.

“It’s a terribly big time in college football,” said former University of Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr. “We’ve got these great players who want to play. Fans that want to see them play. We just don’t know because this virus is not telegraphing what it’s doing.”

Carr said he doesn’t know if there will be a 2020 college football season due to many variables facing the league right now.

“Michigan, MSU, Western, Eastern, those guys want to play -- but we have a lot of decisions to make based on how you fit people into a stadium,” Carr said. “That virus is still going to be around.”

Carr says if there is a way for players to safely return to playing this season, then he is all for it. The former coach says he loves the game and always will.

One of Carr’s fondest memories of his 13 years at the U-M was “the game” in 1997 -- but not for Charles Woodson’s punt return, his Heisman pose or the 20-14 final score. Carr says it was the end of the game when the fans begged for the team to return to the field that he remembers.

“The deal at Michigan was once the game ended, you go up the tunnel to the locker room. It took a while immediately after the game. There were so many people, it was a tight squeeze," Carr said. "Once we were in the locker room, Bruce Madej (the sports information director) came in. He said, ‘these people are not leaving. You’ve got to take this team back on the field.’ So, we went back on the field. I’m hoping we’ll have another Michigan team that will have to come back on the field like that again.”

These days Carr spends time in South Carolina with his wife. While isolating at home Carr has been meeting with former payers over Zoom, though he admits his technology skills aren’t the best.

“I was on a Zoom a few weeks ago, Brian Griese called me and got a group together of former players,” he said. “I couldn’t get the camera right.”

Current U-M football coach Jim Harbough told ESPN this week that he would rather play the 2020 season without fans in the stands than not at all.

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Jamie anchors sports coverage on Local 4 News Saturdays at 6 & 11 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m., in addition to hosting Sports Final Edition.