Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Did Carroll leave USC because he was scared of Oregon?
By ESPN.com staff
UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel told Dan Patrick that Pete Carroll bolted USC for the Seattle Seahawks because, in part, Carroll's defensive schemes weren't working against running quarterbacks.
"In my heart of hearts, I think he got tired of trying to defend these different kind of offenses," Neuheisel told Patrick. "Oregon had their way with Pete's defense. ... I think he got tired of having the quarterback be a factor in the running game."
The Ducks gained 613 yards against the Trojans in a 47-20 whipping. It was the most Oregon has ever scored against USC in 56 meetings and it was the most points Carroll's USC defense had ever surrendered.
At least until two weeks later, when Stanford bludgeoned the Trojans 55-21, rushing for 325 yards with a fairly standard power running attack.
Still, when I asked USC linebacker Malcolm Smith last week about the Oregon and Stanford meltdowns and he said that the Trojans' "run fits" weren't working, which would seem to support Neuheisel's point.
UPDATE: On Friday, Neuheisel and I were talking about the Bruins trying out a "pistol" offense, Nevada's version of the spread-0ption, which requires a defense to account for the QB as a runner. Here's what he said.
"To me, you get rid of the plus-one [advantage for a defense], which is, to me, is why Pete Carroll left college football. He didn't want to play against that offense any more. He wanted to get back to pro football where his pressures work again.... We can pull up the Oregon-USC game and look at all the different stuff he tried. He didn't have an answer. He just didn't have an answer."
Neuheisel also shared some interesting thoughts with Patrick on a couple of NFL draft prospect from the Pac-10, most notably Toby Gerhart: "Toby Gerhart is not getting enough recognition. I think he is an unbelievable back," he said.