Pac-12: Pete Carroll interview

Catching up with Pete Carroll, Part II

August, 20, 2008
8/20/08
3:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

 
 AP Photo/Michael Conroy
 Pete Carroll says he doesn't think about his legacy at USC.

Part two of our chat with USC coach Pete Carroll. At one point during the interview, Carroll notes that a Brazilian gymnast Diego Hypolito looks like California coach Jeff Tedford, "How's the team, Jeff?," he quipped.

The new coach at UCLA, Rick Neuheisel, has talked about you guys a lot. Obviously, that's part of firing up his fans. Do you feel challenged by that?

Pete Carroll: Nah. He can say whatever he wants. He's a great candidate for them. A great guy to get, a great coach to get. It's really cool they got him. He's been a winner. I think he's going to do really well. But stuff that he says, he's said stuff focused on his players, his program and his people. So he can say whatever he wants.

You seem so invested in this community in around LA with your charitable foundation -- A Better LA -- and success with USC: Do you feel like you could retire here? Is this your lifetime gig?

PC: I am prepared to do that. That's the way I look at it, like this is the last job I'm ever going to have. I approach it that way. Now, whether it is or not, I don't know. Someone asked me the other day, 'Does that mean you're never going to leave?' Why do people want to make you say that? I have no idea, but I can't imagine doing anything else. It's a great place to be. I've been so lucky and fortunate. I owe so much to the school and the people who follow it. And the guys who played for us. I love being here.

I guess people wonder that if you coached 10 more years, and things stayed the same in terms of winning, it's going to be a historically amazing run.

PC: I haven't coached 10 years yet. I'm just trying to coach 10 more games.

I'm saying if you did. There's never been a moment when you've paused over the historical significance of this?

PC: No. When you're goal is to win forever, you don't think that way. Somewhere down the road, when I'm an old guy walking out here for the last time, you might look back and see what you did. But I'm too immersed in what's going on now. And it wouldn't matter anyway. Why would I want to do that? I don't even see the reason for it. I'm in the midst of the battle right now.

Catching up with Pete Carroll, Part I

August, 20, 2008
8/20/08
2:11
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

 
 AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian
 Pete Carroll and the Trojans have their sights set on a Pac-10 title.

LOS ANGELES -- Sat down with USC coach Pete Carroll on Sunday night. He ate ice cream and answered questions.

What's your feeling on this scenario: Let's say Mitch Mustain starts at quarterback against Virginia and has a lights out game. Do you have a philosophical opinion on whether an injured starter [Mark Sanchez] always retains his job or do you go with the hot hand against Ohio State?

Pete Carroll: I would never... I can't even answer a question about that. To surmise what's going to happen with one guy and then what we're going to do with the next guy? I wouldn't even tell you what the first stage of it is let alone the second or third. So I'm not going to answer that. Too much conjecture there.

You talk about getting better and growing every year. What have you changed in the past couple of years about how you do things?

PC: Not very much. We do mostly the same stuff with just small changes. It depends on our staff continuity. This year, we've got 99 percent staff continuity so it's really easy [only staff change was the GA who works with the secondary]. We're able to do more things with that. When we're bringing new people along, we can't do that. We can't afford to go off and experiment. This year, we've done more things but it's kind of like if you have a philosophy then why would you change? The consistency is part of the philosophy -- how you recruit, where you recruit, who you recruit. The consistency of what the expectations are, the consistency of the standards for practice, the offseason programs. All of those things are the same. We get better at them. We get better versed on knowing what we want and getting more astute as we go along but we don't change much.

I know this is going to sound pretty stupid, but you're the only coach who can be asked this: Is winning the Rose Bowl ever not enough?

PC: No. You've got to understand that our mindset is to focus only on what we can control. We can only control getting to the Rose Bowl. Winning our conference and going to the Rose Bowl is what our goal is every year. Our goal isn't about national championships, because we don't have control of that -- that's in somebody else's hands. We found that out years ago [2003], when we were No. 1 but then we were No. 3. We already knew that but that just proved it. If we win our games and we're out there and they want us to go somewhere else, then we'll go. We love the Rose Bowl.

Does it ever register with you that there's such a small margin for error for USC that if you don't win the national championship then some believe it hasn't had a successful season?

PC: I know people say that but I don't care. They can say whatever they want.

Could you give me a couple of names of younger guys who have stepped up in preseason practices?

PC: A guy who's had a really good camp is Travon Patterson, a wide receiver. He's caught touchdowns on every big day, every big scrimmage we've had. He's playing fast and has made a lot of plays for us. The guys who have done a lot of good stuff are the freshmen -- [TE] Blake Ayles is a guy you might not have expected to but he's looked great. The other guy is [RB] Allen Bradford. He's had a great camp again. I really like [WR] Jordan Cameron. All four of the freshmen defensive linemen [Armond Armstead, Jurrell Casey, Wes Horton and Malik Jackson] -- they look great. These guys have a chance to play early. Uona Kaveinga has been playing second-team "Mike" linebacker. [Safety] Drew McAllister has looked really good -- he's had three or four picks in big, scrimmage-type situations and hit well. It's been a really solid freshmen class. The offensive linemen have looked good but it's going to take them some time.

Things get a little juicer in Part II, when Carroll talks about new UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel, his future and what he thinks of his legacy.

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