Pete Carroll already had a good thing going at USC before Matt Leinart became a college superstar, but it’s fair to say the Trojans’ program took its spot on the top of the college football heap during the Leinart years. And it’s obvious he and Carroll — who left the Trojans last week to become the new head coach and grand pooh-bah of the Seattle Seahawks — were close.
So it’s not surprising to hear that Leinart, from his perch in the Cardinals’ locker room, thinks Carroll will be successful in Seattle. And Leinart confirmed what many suspected for a long time, that Carroll had a desire to get back to the NFL and prove he could be successful and not just a near-.500 coach as he had been earlier in his career with the Jets and Patriots.
“Even when I was in college, if the right (NFL) opportunity presented itself, I knew he was going to jump all over it,” Leinart said. “This situation was too good to pass up. He’s such a competitive coach and person, I think it is challenging for him, he wants to be successful (in the NFL). He’s done pretty much all he could do in college, he probably could have been there forever and be one of the greatest coaches ever in college but the NFL has kind of always been what he has loved … it’s hard to say, but his personality, he’s always wanted to go (back) to the NFL and be successful and win.”
Now, the question is, can he win? The Seahawks are in transition, no longer the bullies of the NFC West. They are on their third coach in three seasons. They need or are going to need a new quarterback with Matt Hasselbeck seemingly near the end of his career. Carroll goes from being a college coach for a decade to not only coaching in the NFL but, by most accounts, having control over the roster (although the talk of bringing Floyd Reese in as general manager would probably be a good move).
Most importantly, it’ll be interesting to see how Carroll runs his team. NFL players don’t respond well to rah-rah head coaches; it’s one of the downfalls Carroll had during his first NFL stints. We’ll see if Carroll is different, or if his message is simply better received this time around. Obviously, the Cards will have a close-up view of his results.
Tags: Matt Leinart, Pete Carroll, Seahawks
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