Udeze Lauds USC's Carroll

Almost two months ago, we talked with former USC Trojan and current Viking Kenechi Udeze about his college team and college coach, Pete Carroll, who has been amazingly successful at the University of Southern California. Udeze praised Carroll's abilities, but Carroll doesn't appear to be on the NFL coaching radar.

When the Vikings were 3-5 and it looked like a new coach might come sooner than later, Viking Update spotted Kenechi Udeze in the locker room after a rehabilitation session to get his injured knee started on the road to recovery.

With Udeze part of the University of Southern California Trojans' 2003-2004 National Championship team and the Trojans looking like they'd be going for a "Three-Pete" already in November, it seemed like a good time to ask Udeze about the Trojans' success, their future and maybe even find out a little bit about head coach Pete Carroll just in case the Vikings would be looking for another head coach following their 2005 season.

Turns out, the Vikings are looking for a new head coach and Udeze's words about the rest of USC's season would be prophetic.

"Notre Dame was their toughest game," Udeze said. "Their next (toughest) one would probably be Texas. I think if they keep (Longhorns QB Vince) Young under some kind of containment, it would be a game like it was last year against Oklahoma."

The Trojans did cruise through the rest of their schedule and into last night's National Championship game with a 34-game winning streak. But instead of USC containing Young and picking up its third consecutive national championship, Young ran and passed all over USC. He rushed for 200 yards, threw for 267 and scored the winning 8-yard touchdown run with 19 seconds left to give Texas a 41-38 win and the national championship.

One loss in the last 35 games won't damage Carroll's reputation much, but the Vikings assistant coach from 1985-89 appears to be off the NFL coaching radar after a long extension of his contract. Even so, if the Vikings are looking for a disciplinarian type, Carroll might not fit that bill. But what kind of college coach is Carroll?

"A great one, somewhat similar to Coach (Mike) Tice, where he's a players coach," Udeze said. "When you make a mistake, he talks you through it to make sure you don't make the same mistake a second time or even a third time. It's great to have a coach like that.

"I was fortunate to be drafted to a team where the coach is similar to what I had in college."

For Udeze and other Vikings, their days with Tice – at least with the Vikings – are over, but Udeze, the 20th pick in the 2004 draft, will always hold a special place for his USC Trojans and Carroll.

"Players always gravitate to coaches who really coach them, that define the role of a coach," Udeze said. "I thought USC had done a great job in hiring those kind of people and keeping them around. … We're starting to keep a lot of the California boys from going to Miami or wherever."

The Vikings now are the ones hoping they can find a great hire who will instill winning for a long time to come.



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