Pete Carroll Shares his Thoughts, Part 2

In Part 2 of the Pac-10 Media Day luncheon, Coach Carroll speaks about his defense, encouraging athletes to stay for their senior season, Mark Sanchez, multiple running backs and much more.

Pete Carroll Media Day Luncheon

Part 2: Vintage Pete Carroll

Pete Carroll talks about his defense, encouraging athletes to stay for their senior season, Mark Sanchez, multiple running backs and much more.

On changing his defense

"I've coached the same defense since I was taught the defense in 1977. By doing that, staying that consistent with the principles and the approach, we've seen, our ability to adjust and our ability to change – to adapt on the fly when we have to. We've been though almost any thing you can do. There's a lot to be said about that. I'm the last one to follow trends, I just need to know that they're there."

"We want to stay with what we know so that we can be experts at it. To go ahead and adjust and to get into different things takes you away from your expertise. That's the difficult position for coaches."

Encouraging players to return for their senior seasons

"Why you decide to stay is what it's all about. Those guys (last year's returning seniors) absolutely cashed in – they hit the jackpot. If somebody doesn't want to watch and take note of that, then I can't help them. It's so obvious why you should stay. Matt Leinart is a huge example – that's a 35 million dollar guy. I think with Cushing and Rey Maualuga, they figured it out."

"They are the premier players at their positions. All you can do in the NFL draft – to hope for is to be the best player in your position. You don't know which teams are going to want what position. But you can be the best linebacker at your spot or the best running back at your spot, that's as high as you can value yourself. These kids are giving themselves a chance to be the best at their position."

"It also gives them a chance to graduate, you don't have to go out and come back to do that. The kids and the parents all talk about graduating, but when it comes time to do it, they forget about that. There's tremendous value in staying for your education."

"We talked about Brian Cushing and how he was today (in the press conference). He would not have reached that (level of maturity), Sedrick (Ellis) wouldn't have either, Lawrence (Jackson) wouldn't have. (If they did not stay for their senior years). That is what prepares them, to get them rock solid to take that next step. It's hard to go on to the NFL when you're not ready. It's hard as hell to go when you are ready."

"They need all of this nurturing and developing to maximize their once chance in a lifetime. It's great documentation; the money is off the charts how much they made because they stayed one more year. It's so obvious. And they get another year to play ‘SC football. They don't know now how valuable that is, until they go to the NFL and they think, ‘Oh, God, I wish I could be in college again!' There's no way they can know that, we know it as elders, you can't really convince anyone of that."

"Ask Ronnie Lott and ask Dennis Smith and ask all those guys. They'd give anything if they could play another year. Because they know."

Fili Moala's number one rank in the ESPN mock draft

"I heard about that, I did hear that. A real good defensive tackle can go in that spot. There's been a couple, number one in the draft. It's awesome. What would he have been if he'd come out a year early? Think of that illustration. That's what I'm talking about, one more year and you maximize your chance. You only get one chance to get back to this field, ever. I've been saying this for 6-1/2 years. That's a great illustration."

"It doesn't mean anything because it was a mock draft and all that, but it still shows that there's a lot of people that's trying to figure it all out. He's way up there, he would not have been considered that a year ago."

"If that's the case that Cushing and Maualuga returned because of this, then it's a beautiful thing. They get to graduate and they get paid. It's cool. (Or) Don't graduate and get paid less."

Did Mark Sanchez' leadership skills shown in spring camp win the spot?

"Part of the reason of naming him (starter) is to see it come out. Part of the reason (he hadn't shown leadership) is because he hadn't been anointed yet. He wasn't able to yet. He was really savvy and perceptive about how he did it (lead). He respected Mitch Mustain and Aaron Corp. He didn't do anything ‘outlandish' but you could see it start to mount."

"The point is, I thought if he was going to win the job because he had so much more experience than the other guys, that he might help our team better if he was put in that position then. I think he handled it very smoothly."

"There was a time when Norm (Chow) and I were sitting with Matt and Matt, Cassell and Leinart, and we talked to them about it and we kicked them out. We kicked it around and said, if we had to play today, who are we going with? We thought, ‘let's go with Leinart, so when we told Matt Leinart, there was a light in his eye instantly. And he said, ‘you're never going to regret this' or something like that."

"The cool thing about quarterbacks, is that now, he's back to the person that he knows himself to be. He's back to being the leader, the quarterback, the guy. The years that he wasn't that, he wasn't very good. He wasn't."

"Quarterbacks need to be put into the position that they can best express themselves. Few guys are really good back-ups. They have to assume that role and really, you don't want them to assume that role."

On being in the running back rotation with multiple backs

"It's worked, it's worked. As long as we keep giving them opportunities to show what they can do. My job is to keep showing them that they have a chance, until the truth comes out. It's got nothing to do with how many yards they have. It's how they deal with it, how they handle it, it's more of a ‘feel' thing."

"It's not about a ‘big game' necessarily, The Nebraska game was easy for Stafon Johnson, really. He played great in the game but the holes were enormous, if you remember. He showed before that, he showed in practice that he was going to be a great competitor. We knew that early on. It wasn't the game that elevated him. He'd already shown it in practice. We were just curious if what he was doing in practice would show up in a game."

"It did happen. He made it happen right away. He makes guys bounce off and slide off and he makes extra yards."

You get more by having two or three guys than having one running back?

"Yes, and I think we get staying power too. We get a high level of play for a long period of time. Sometimes you lose your ace and you go to the next guy and he hasn't been playing. We see that in so many positions, when we transition from a guy who gets injured or graduates, the guy's been playing all along and he steps right in and away we go. That's why on the offensive line they're going to transition pretty easily."

Are there areas of concern for this team?

"In all of my excitement, I'm excited to go to camp, to see what will happen. The one question I have is Averell Spicer and Christian Tupou and all that. The nose tackle spot, I'm not sure how that's going to pan out. We have to move Fili around and what are we going to do at that spot? We'll figure that out. Is it a concern? Am I losing sleep over it? No, I'm excited to see what happens."

"If I'm concerned about anything, it's that we practice really well, if we practice really well, we got a chance. The first thing we talk about when we come back in August is teaching. The coaches. We need to be really good at what we do. That's really more of my concerns than the other stuff."

Is there a chance that any incoming freshman starts on the line?

"Sure, sure, Tyron (Smith), Khaled (Holmes), (Matt) Kalil. Those guys are big time guys. Matt Meyers is going to be in the mix. Any one of them are big enough already. We need to see how they come out of the conditioning program. Are they ready? They may or may not be."

SCPlaybook will continue to bring you the news from Pete Carroll and the Trojans.


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