The Wolverine

January 2013

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 75 of 83

  where are they Now? Former LB Carl Diggs Went Out A Winner F By Chris Balas ormer Michigan linebacker and 2003 captain Carl Diggs is one of the last Wolverines to enjoy a winning record against home state Ohio State, having gone 3-2 in his five games against the Buckeyes and helping beat the personal rival 35-21 in his last meeting. While he'd have liked to win them all — and felt as though at least one, a 14-9 loss in 2002, didn't turn out like it should have — the record is somewhat of a source of pride, Diggs said recently from his office at Springleaf Financial near his hometown of Warren, Ohio, where he serves as branch manager. The lack of success against the Buckeyes since is something most expect will change under head coach Brady Hoke (1-1 against the Buckeyes), Diggs among them. "They're already turning the corner, and they're going to be hard to contend with," said Diggs, now 32. "I felt they should have given Coach Hoke the job in 2008 after Coach [Lloyd] Carr retired. You've got to look at it as far as recruiting — he was always able to recruit. He got Justin Fargas and Charles Drake, two of the biggest recruits out of Los Angeles. He's just a great coach who understands what it is to be a Michigan coach and the tradition. Players love him, so they're always going to back him. "You know he has your back and that he's there for you. As long as you do what he expects you to do, he'll walk through a wall for you. He was a giggly type of guy. When he recruited me, he was as straightforward and honest as it gets." But not quite as giggly these days as head coach — nor should he be, Diggs noted. Hoke was somewhat somber, in fact, in recounting his most vivid memory of MichiganOhio State games past, a 26-yard pass to running back Maurice Clarett in 2002 that set up the winning score in a victory that capped OSU's undefeated regular season. Diggs, unfortunately had a good view of it from the sideline. He'd enjoyed an outstanding season and seemed on his way to a big day when 76  the wolverine    January 2013 Diggs was a four-year letter winner (2000-03) and a three-year starter, and he finished his U-M career with 191 total stops (135 solo), 23 tackles for loss and two sacks. photo by per kjeldsen a freak injury sidelined him early in the second quarter of an extremely tight game. As he often did, Diggs sought contact in chasing OSU quarterback Craig Krenzel on a third-andshort situation, sticking a shoulder in to make a play. The pile descended on him from the side, breaking his leg in two places. He was on crutches when Clarett's crucial play occurred. "I don't have many regrets, but that's one of them — getting hurt in that game," he recalled. "I felt like I was on my way to a big game, felt like we had a good chance at beating them. We still had opportunities; we just didn't finish in the red zone. That was the biggest problem. We should have beat them going away. "But I was watching a replay of that game the other day. Clarett noticed we weren't respecting him on play action, and they hit him on the sidelines. We had a younger line- backer in at the time, he didn't go with him — he jumped the underneath route to the fullback who had no catches on the year and let Clarett run the wheel route. It was just an inexperienced linebacker thrown into one of the biggest games of his life. I feel like I would have read that. They can have the three yards — I would have gone with the wheel route." That was one of many breaks the Buckeyes received during head coach Jim Tressel's tainted career at the school, one marred by NCAA violations that eventually led to his dismissal. For Diggs, the aftermath included the beginning of a long road back. He spent hours in rehab after having plates and pins inserted into his broken leg, using spring ball to try to work himself back into shape. Teammates took notice of his hard work, voting him captain of a 2003 team that would capture the Big Ten title.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - January 2013