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Carroll on D&C: ‘I wasn’t as ready as I am now’

01.27.10 at 11:25 am ET

Pete Carroll (AP)

Pete Carroll (AP)

New Seahawks coach Pete Carroll joined Dennis & Callahan Wednesday morning to discuss his transition from the college ranks to the NFL. The former USC coach touched on his past experience in the league as part of the Patriots and Jets organizations, saying that he was not as prepared to face the challenges of the league then as he is now and that “the way we talk and approach things we are faced with is much different than it was a long time ago.”

Carroll also talked about working with newly named general manager John Schneider. There was much discussion when Carroll was hired that his previous experiences, particularly in New England, had led him to demand that he have full control over any team he coached. However, Carroll insisted that he would work with his GM, although he did say: “If there is some kind of a conflict, I’m going to make the call.”

He also spoke about his former USC player Mark Sanchez, lauding the Jets quarterback and his coach Rex Ryan for what they accomplished in building a team that went to the AFC championship game, saying: “I think you guys got to look out for the Jets right now.”

Here are the highlights from Carroll’s appearance. To listen to the interview, click here.

Does leaving the accomplished, successful, good life at SC for the turmoil of the NFL speak to what? Your competitive nature to try to do something and prove to the world and yourself that you can do it there as well as you did it back in Southern California?

Yeah, I think that’s what it is, John. It’s such a good opportunity that just laid itself out just so right. I’ve never not thought about it, I’ve never had a situation that presented itself that that fit right. And when these guys came around and said they wanted me to come up there and do this thing, and really wanted me to do it the way I thought was the very best and give me the freedom to create the kind of environment and culture that I wanted to do and then go for it football wise and hire the guys I wanted to hire and on and on and on. It was just right. If you’re ever going to go this is the time and that popped up about it. So I really couldn’t even think about anything but going for it. It goes right back to, you know, it is a great challenge. Something that is hard to do but it is going to be fun and exciting, so I went for it.

How much of Pete Carroll the pro coach will be different than Pete Carroll the college coach?

Well, I don’t really talk about myself in the third person like that. But what I plan on doing is coaching with the same kind of intensity and focus that I have in the past. I can’t do it some other way because it’s another team. It’s different because the people that you coach are different and there are different aspects of the NFL that make some of it different. But I’ve only got one way to do it and I think it would be wrong to go to a new job and try to be some other way. That’s the cool thing about this; that’s not what they are asking, and that has happened before. I’ve gone to a couple jobs and they want you to be like what they think you should be like, and that isn’t going to work. So we’re going to go for it with the intent of coming in with a little bit different fashion than what is typically taken in the league. But it is nothing that unique — we are going to coach real hard football, real discipline stuff the way we know, and run the football and play good D and hopefully this will work out.

Pete, we know they didn’t let you shop for the groceries here. They just wanted you to cook the meal, and that didn’t work out. Are you assured that you are going to be shopping for the groceries? Can one guy do everything?

The very first question that I was asked by Tod Leiweke was what is your format? How do you see this thing working out? Do you want to be the general manager, do you want to be the head coach? I said, “I don’t want to be the general manager. I want to have a guy that does that. Those jobs are so distinctly different that I don’t believe a guy can do all of that and I didn’t want to. I want to be the ball coach and make sure I am doing everything I can to make the team play as well they can. But in that, I wanted to have the opportunity to play with the guys I thought were the right guys to fit the scheme and to adjust our issues and concerns when the time comes. And that’s what happened. So John Schneider is a guy who comes to us from the Packers who is well equipped. He’s been doing this since he was, I don’t know, 20 years old. Eighteen-year career here in the NFL. Sharp, bright, great philosophy coming from the Packers; they like young teams, do it with the draft. Energetic guy that I like being around and he is going to do all of the stuff that he knows how to do. And when it comes down to it that we gotta make a decision that we are kind of at a crossroads about, I’m going to call it. And John understands that, but he knows that I’m going to rely on him to do the job that he knows how to do and I’m just going to have the opportunity that if there is some kind of a conflict, I’m going to make the call. But other than that, I expect him to do a heck of a job, and I’m going to do a heck of a job for him.

I know you’ve heard people say this. They say, “Pete has been out of the NFL for nine years, maybe some things in the pro game have passed him by.” What kind of things do you think they are talking about and do you think that is accurate or fair?

I think probably the common thing is everybody thinks I am the same that I was 14 years ago, 13 years ago whenever when I went to New England. There are a lot of things that have happened in these years and the philosophy that has come together, the approach, the language that we use, the outlook has been honed in a way that I think makes my message much more clear. This is a situation that you go in, the team has been struggling, it is a team that doesn’t really have a good identity now. We need a culture shift and that is why they came and got me. And this is something that I’m really challenged by, but really pumped up to bring. I do have a way of doing things and a style that we practice with, and the way we talk and approach things we are faced with is much different than it was a long time ago. And unfortunately for my challenges in my time at New England and back with the Jets, I wasn’t as ready as I am now. So I enter with, I think, a lot different level of confidence and also just kind of an intention of how to do this thing. So I’m pumped up to bring this to the league and see how it goes.

For my money, the funniest postgame line in the NFL this year was when Mark Sanchez said he disagrees with Pete Carroll’s decision to go to the National Football League. Your view from afar of your former quarterback and his rookie year in the NFL, Pete?

I think Mark, he was almost a beacon for taking on a challenge that is going to be tough and you know, set your mind to it and go for it. And he really did that and the attempt to discourage him from going out earlier than he needed to and really try to take advantage of another year, he really threw that all behind him and left it in his wake. He had a fantastic year with some extraordinary accomplishments. One, the first one, winning all those games; winningest guy ever. And I think he got thumped about four times in a row. And I think the job coach Ryan did of staying with him and building the team in the fashion which would help a young quarterback, where you play great D and run the football. Mark didn’t have a great statistical year but he had an incredible year in accomplishing that he could be a championship quarterback. I think you guys gotta look out for the Jets right now, knowing that he’s there, they’ve got a formula. I thought Rex did a great job; you know, he had a style about him, he had the cajones to call it how he wanted to call it, and to put it all together and take it that far, I thought it was amazing. Mark has been a blast all year long; we’ve had fun going back and forth and talking about it and sharing the experience. I just think he accomplished such a tremendous amount that it’s really been fun to watch and it will be great to see him in the future.

Preview what the one or two talking points will be when you stand in front of your team for the first time and say, “Guys, here is what I want you to know.”

Well, I really have thought long and hard about that. I’ve kind of got 10 first things I’d like to say. The first thing is that we are real proud of the time we’ve had at the previous job and most people think why would you ever leave something like that? We are coming in for one reason, and that is to win. And to win in a big fashion, and we don’t want to wait and we will start working at it right now. The sooner that everybody buys in, the faster we’ll move. And so basically, we’re here to win. That’s the only thing I care about, and I know that these guys care about, and so we’ll get out to it as soon as we can.

Read More: Mark Sanchez, Pete Carroll, Seahawks, USC Print  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
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