Anno talks Trojans

Sam Anno is a former Trojan linebacker (83-86) who has been a frequent guest at practices lately. We asked Sam to give us his thoughts on practice in terms of the energy of the team and the preparation by Pete Carroll and staff.

"There is such a thin line with how hard you want to prepare a team with four or five weeks before your next game. It's an art to keep it going, how you ride the waves of emotions, how you allow for the humanity of your players and coaches. It's a whole different state of mind for the team when they are practicing on campus compared to when you are there, I always thought by the 2nd or 3rd day of being away things started to get tighter as the game got closer.

One of the things I think Pete Carroll does a damn good job of is running a loose ship yet a tight ship. Anytime you go into foreign territory there is going to be a fear factor but you can't get caught up in that too much. Your mind needs to be focused. Coach Carroll has done a great job of letting the air out and then pumping it back in at the right times. He has such a professionalism about the way he does things but it doesn't involve fear. Too many coaches need to rely on fear to get their players to respond but Carroll doesn't do that.

Football teaches you how to deal with life on life's terms because you must deal with each game on that game's terms. What does the opponent do, what will be the conditions, what can we do to adjust, control what you can control. Carroll does a great job of preparing them to the utmost. They set a standard for how they prepare and the ball just keeps rolling. I was at practice four weeks ago and I was there this week and not much has changed. They're still going after it the same way, it's starting to pick up a little bit with the frenetic energy but what I love is that there has been no dropoff at any point. The coaches are still being hard on guys, still keeping the nose to the grindstone. I admire the way Carroll makes the dog days competitive because that helps the players get through. He prepares them, they work hard, no cheap shots, honest competition and then at the end of the week he brings them together for Family Friday and everybody is smiling. That's the way you want to do it.

Monotony doesn't have to be maniacal but not all other coaches seem to get that. Pete Carroll seems to have struck a chord with this team. They are going to have their fun but they also know somewhere in the back of their mind that they are here with a job to do. I also love how he keeps everybody on the team involved, all the walk-ons and reserves, and really makes them feel like part of the team. You notice that in practice. If those guys don't feel part of things they can tend to slack off a little but you don't see that at SC. They have completely bought off on what Carroll is saying, lack of ego, lack of self, service to team. All the players on the team seem to embrace that philosophy and that's one of the reasons why the program is doing so well right now."


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