CARR TO ANNOUNCE RETIREMENT

I'm out. Kiss my ass.

For three sources to all say the same thing in information-stingy Ann Arbor is a strong indicator of actual reality here: Lloyd Carr will announce his retirement Monday following the Ohio State game.

Set Miles in motion, as he's got to at least be on the priority list of coaches to face. Also page Tedford and knock the dust off the desks in the Michigan football offices, since none of them will be staying under a new regime. Cue a piqued Tressel, who has to be curious what rough beast/retread/tyro/NFL refugee will fall into possession of the Most Despised Opposing Headset.

And exit Carr, who leaves with a national title, a clean record on program probation, and a reputation as giving the least predictable halftime interviews ever: refusing to divulge even a hint of information about injury, hugging Suzy Shuster after a brief quote, or ripping Todd Harris after being asked "a stupid question" about Michigan's conservative play at the half. Carr was a curmudgeon off his meds during a game, railing at kid-speckled lawns, clueless linebackers, and staring icily onto the field as the clock wore down on victories or losses--either way it worked, Carr stayed entertainingly crotchety to the end.

What else will we miss about Lloyd Carr? Not much, really. He never manifested much of himself outside the locker room, though there were flashes of a charming personality and giving man. He never changed much, which was great! Michigan stayed on an even keel during his tenure no matter what happened. He never changed much, which sucked! His offenses clung to the same plays, he stayed loyal to assistants when their schemes were going rancid on the field, and generally gave Michigan football at its worst a dirge-like flavor of ancient obstinacy mixed with joyless, plodding tactics.

We love writing career obits of the glowing sort, and would like to write one here: a coach with a 121-38 record and a national title deserves that. It's hard to do with Carr, though, both because of his personal elusiveness and the pattern of disappointment and near-miss flirtation with national titles and wins against Ohio State that marked the last five years of his tenure. (Hey, they did win Big Ten titles in '03 and '04.) It's counterintuitive--writing about someone so successful should be like breathing. Yet with Carr, there's a difficulty in this, especially given how tired Michigan fans are of losing bowl games to teams who coach rings around their "rock-throwing" coaching staff. It's time for him to go, and without a trace of sentiment, tears, or nostalgia.

Not that Lloyd gives a shit what we, you, or Daniel Dennett thinks of any of this. He's done, and you can kiss his ass. He's off to coach rugby in Australia with BFF Russell Crowe. Whoever takes over the Durmstrang Institute of Football Studies now--that's the story from here on out. It's never too early to start tracking planes, people. That's what the FAA and flight manifests were invented for in the first place.

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