Troy Polamalu interview

Carroll walked in our room the first day and said, "I want you to repeat after me, take the secondary oath that I will never get beat deep." That was the first day and every day since he is always quizzing us and talking to us on the field. He's real aggressive, he told us if it comes down to the hit or the interception, take the hit.

"Talk about the changes you have seen with the coaching transition."

"We're more professional in the way we go about things and it seems like Coach Carroll relates to us a little better. He is more in tune with our bodies because last year the way we trained it seemed like we peaked after the first three games of the season and then our bodies started degrading for the rest of the year and then came back up at the end of the year. This year with the new strength coach it seems like everyones doing better mentally and physically. I actually lost weight since last season but I'm much stronger. It's like track when you want to slowly get better and peak at the end of the season, that's not to say we won't be at our best for San Jose State, we'll be at our best for that time, but we want to be better at the end of the season."

"Is the excitement right now because of the coaching change or normal for the start of the season?"

"I would say half and half. Change isn't always good but it seems this time the change has been great. We've never laughed so much in team meetings yet Coach Carroll knows when to put his fist down. In winter workouts he would come straight out and tell us, "Hey, we need to work you guys hard today" and everybody would be like "yeah, let's go work hard." Then another time he would say "Let's take it a little easy today because we've been working you guys hard." When a coach does that it makes you want to work for him, that's what they mean when they call him a players coach."

"How much of a difference have you noticed with a head coach whose specialty is the secondary?"

"Very seldom does a head coach work one on one with players, Carson had it with Coach Hackett because he was a quarterback coach but Hackett never talked to us in the secondary. It's a lot of pressure now but we got beat deep a lot last year and Carroll walked in our room the first day and said, "I want you to repeat after me, take the secondary oath that I will never get beat deep." That was the first day and every day since he is always quizzing us and talking to us on the field. He's real aggressive, he told us if it comes down to the hit or the interception, take the hit. (smiling) That's what I like."

"Are you going to miss Frank Strong and Matt Grootegoed in the secondary?"

"It's only going to help because it gets them on the field. To tell you the truth I was surprised because I thought I would be moved before either of them but I'm happy to still be back there."

"Talk about having camp on campus instead of Irvine."

"Man, the food was so good down there. I like the living arrangements here, though, we have air conditioning in the rooms now. When we were down in Irvine we would be stuck in the dorms and have no idea what was going on in the rest of the country, you know, we could have been in World War 3 and we wouldn't have known it."

"Give us one player who is going to surprise people this year."

"Grant Mattos. He stayed with us at the house for a while over the summer, he's got great size, real good hands. He's just a big possession receiver and I think he could be a real surprise."

"Talk about the good and bad of having your uncle on the coaching staff."

"Well, you can't relax at all, not at all. It's been great, though, because he's always there, somebody to talk to. Whenever I need money I can always hit him up and it's not illegal. Hopefully he'll give me a car or something like that one of these days."


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