Arrington emerges to torch UF

Published: Tuesday, January 1, 2008 at 8:43 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 1, 2008 at 8:43 p.m.

ORLANDO Each Thursday in practice during the season, senior Adrian Arrington and the rest of Michigan's receivers challenged themselves with a unique drill.

"We call it one-handed Thursday," Arrington said. "We try to make as many catches as we can with just one hand."

Apparently, practice makes perfect. With a one-handed catch that wrapped around Florida sophomore cornerback Markihe Anderson, Arrington made a highlight-reel, 37-yard catch that set up Michigan's go-ahead score in Tuesday afternoon's Capital One Bowl.

"They'll probably show that replay over and over again tonight on SportsCenter," Michigan senior tackle Jake Long said. "Adrian has had a great year."

"I had single coverage," Arrington said. "He was kind of playing me to the inside. I saw the ball and stuck my hand out and was able to hold onto it."

Arrington capped the drive with an 18-yard touchdown catch, his second of the game, to put Michigan ahead 38-35. With the Florida focus on stopping more-publicized senior receiver Mario Manningham, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Arrington ran free all afternoon. For the game, Arrington finished with nine catches for 153 yards and two TDs.

"He's probably one of the most under-appreciated receivers in America," senior Michigan running back Mike Hart said. "He's made big catches for all us all season."

Arrington said his motivation came from wanting to send retiring Michigan coach Lloyd Carr out on a high note. Carr was carried off the field from his teammates following the game and sang a final misty-eyed version of "Hail to the Victors" with his team in the locker room.

"We definitely wanted to do this for Coach Carr," Arrington said. "We wanted to have his legacy end the right way. He kept telling us, do it for the team and we kept telling them, no we're doing it for you."

Carr and Arrington endured a sometimes rocky relationship. Carr had suspended Arrington in past games for disciplinary issues and often woke up at 6 a.m. to watch him run extra steps at the stadium.

"This past offseason, when I saw that he was running those steps, I could tell that his attitude had changed," Carr said. "He proved to us that he wanted to stay. I'm so happy for him. He's had a great season from start to finish."

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